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Philippines Natural Resources

Natural resources of the philippinesNatural resources of the philippines

Natural resources of the philippines

Natural resources of the philippines

 

Land

Around 15 million hectares, or almost half of the Philippines' total land area, are classified as timberland. Most of the land here was densely forested before the 1900s. However, the following century saw the loss of half of Philippine forests. Statistics show that deforestation claimed 204,000 hectares per year from 1950 to 1978. From 1989 to 1995, only 116,332 hectares were vanishing annually. Environmentalist groups are trying to protect Philippine forests, but a lot needs to be done in the campaign for reforestation as well as the fight against illegal logging.

Philippine forests produce timber for local consumption and for export. Hardwood products coming from these timbers are globally known for their distinct appearance and high quality, which makes them appropriate as home furnishings. Wooden furniture, such as tables and chairs, are usually made of hardwood, popularly known as narra.

Most Philippine forests are of the tropical rainforest type. Besides extensive reserves of tropical evergreen hardwoods, the country also has considerable areas of pine in the mountainous regions of Northern Luzon.

Sea

With a coastal ecosystem stretching almost 20,000 km, the Philippines is likely to become one of the earliest victims of rising ocean temperatures and levels. Centuries-old coral reefs are dying almost overnight, and the destruction is being witnessed not only by divers in remote spots. Regional marine science studies estimated in the middle of 1999 that the Philippines' magnificent underwater world would be gone by around 2100. Reports say that increased sea temperatures were causing "mass coral bleaching events" in the world's best coral reefs. Something has to be done to reduce global warming caused by the burning of oil, coal, and gas.

For smaller bodies of water, the Philippines has extensive but small river systems and streams, which are mostly depicted by the mountain ranges. The fluvial system of Luzon is made up of (1) Rio Grande de Cagayan and its tributaries (a stream that flows into a larger body of water), which drain the Cagayan Valley; (2) the Agno Grande which drains Benguet and the valleys of Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan and Tarlac; (3) the Abra River system, which receives its tributaries from the Cordillera and drains Lepanto, Bontoc, and the Abra; and (4) the Rio Grande de Pampanga and its tributaries, which drain the fertile valfeys of Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, and Bulacan.

Flora & Fauna

The Philippines is rich in flora and fauna. There is an estimated two million species of plants and animals, many of which are unique to the islands. For various reasons, some kinds have been lost or endangered while others were exploited for commercial purposes. By the turn of the century, many species of plants and animals decreased dramatically in number but some survived through a natural process.

There is so much that the Philippines can offer to the nature lover. Its tropical rainforests are among the most species-rich ecosystems on earth. In fact, substantial parts of the archipelago, both land and underwater, remain unexplored. There are also many virgin forests. The country is known for its dwarf and pygmy species of many ecological families. Unfortunately, a lot of these natural resources are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Logging and mining, illegal fishing (the use of dynamites), and the growing population have a negative effect on ecology because of increasing demand for diminishing food and livelihood sources.

FLORA-PLANT LIFE

Due to its volcanic nature, Philippine soil is very fertile. Abundant rain and sunshine, as well as the wide range of habitats and elevations account for an incredible variety of plant life in every category, from mosses and lichens (including 1,000 species of fern) to giant trees (about 3,000 species). Since neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia have a similar climate, plants found here are mainly of the type found in those countries. However, Australian (e.g., eucalyptus) and Sino-Himalayan types are also present in the Philippines. About 60% of the 10,000 plant species grow only in the archipelago. There are 54 species of bamboo throughout the islands. Bamboo is a fast-growing woody grass used for multiple purposes, mainly as furniture. It can also be used to build houses, bridges, fences, fish traps, wall matting, baskets, hats, and