Biodiversity: June 2011 Archives
Worldwide, scientists have identified ecological "hotspots," or regions with significant biodiversity that are facing dire threats from humans. With their abundance of unique plants and animals, islands are often numbered about the planet's hotspots, but now one set of islands is calling itself "the hottest of the hotspots." The Philippines, an archipelago in Southeast Asia containing over 7,000 islands, is one of the world's most diverse places, but because of human activity, the rate of species is extinction is about 1,000 times the natural rate, said Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
In the Philippines, as in many islands, the primary threat is from habitat loss due to deforestation and coral reef destruction. It is estimated that less than six percent of the Philippines' original forests remain intact, along with only five percent of its marine habitats, and these practices continue to destroy the remaining environments. At least on land, the country is seeking to stem this tide of biodiversity loss, with reforestation programs. But the country lacks cannot afford to adequately protect all its marine and coastal areas from destruction, and threats to both forest and coral reefs continue to multiply.