Errol Abada Gatumbato

2010: International Year of Biodiversity

BY:  ERROL A. GATUMBATO

The critically endangered Negros bleeding heart pigeon*

The United Nations has declared 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, primarily because this is, the target year when parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will supposedly be able to comply with their commitment in significantly reducing the rate of biodiversity loss throughout the world. The CBD was agreed during the Rio Earth Summit of 1992 where a wakeup call on the rapid loss of the world’s biological resources has been highlighted. But it was only in the Johannesburg Summit of 2002 when world leaders pledged to achieve significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. However, eight years after the CBD came into force the world’s target in reducing biodiversity loss seems a failure because in fact, “We are facing an extinction crisis”, according to Jane Smart, Director of the Biodiversity Conservation Group of the IUCN-World Conservation Union, as reported by the BBC. The species extinction is estimated at about 1,000 times the natural rate and some experts said that we are in the “middle of the Earth’s sixth great extinction”, the BBC report added.

According to Birdlife International, a global partnership organization, the International Year of Biodiversity or coined as the IYB

Another critically endangered species of Negros: The Negros Fruit Dove*

shall focus in assessing the “failure of nations to meet their 2010 targets of halting rates of biodiversity loss while spotlighting the need for real and binding targets”. It is expected that world leaders shall convene in Nagoya, Japan come October 2010 for the next conference on CBD. The Philippines as a signatory to the CBD has adopted several measures to abate biodiversity loss, but more efforts are needed since the list of species threatened with extinction in the wild in the country is getting longer every year. Biological diversity is a key issue in the Philippines because it is known as one of the 17 mega-biodiversity countries of the world with more than 52,177 described species, of which more than half are found only in this country and nowhere else, according to the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Conservation International. Sad to say, while the Philippines is a mega-biodiversity country it is also known as a biodiversity hotspot of the world because threats to biodiversity are so alarming and intense and many species are already included in the Red List of Threatened Species of the IUCN. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has listed at least 24 species of mammals, birds and reptiles as critically endangered. Unfortunately, five of these species are known as Negros endemics and these include the Visayan spotted deer (Cervus alfredi), Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons), Philippine bare-backed fruit bat (Dobsonia chapmani), Negros bleeding heart (Gallicolumba keayi) and Negros fruit dove (Ptilinopus arcanus).

The endemic Palawan bearded pig*

Another 28 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are classified as endangered and 85 more faunal species are known as vulnerable to extinction. Similarly, numerous floral species in the Philippines are listed as threatened to extinction in the wild. It should be noted that many threatened species are Philippines endemics with restricted distribution on certain islands only of the country. Habitat destruction and over-exploitation are primary factors considered for the endangerment of the Philippines’ endemic species.Biodiversity is essential to our environment because each species has a distinct role in maintaining the different cycles of natural processes. It is a foundation of the healthy and functioning ecosystems and a base to our food, shelter, clothing and medicine, to name a few. Biodiversity is crucial to our survival because of its life-support regulatory functions.

It is sad to note that many species are already at the brink of extinction before the younger and even future generations would be able to appreciate them. Many of these species are already confined in fragmented and far-flung habitats, and are not yet secured from anthropogenic pressures. Habitat destruction is still widespread in many parts of the Philippines and wildlife hunting remains a conservation issue. On this International Year of Biodiversity, let us all do our share in protecting and conserving our precious biodiversity before we witness a day of extinction.  (This article also appeared at the Visayan Daily Star, 18 January 2010 issue, Bacolod City, Philippines)

January 18, 2010 - Posted by | Biodiversity Conservation, Conservation Initiatives, Species Conservation

2 Comments »

  1. Good day!

    Congratulations on your efforts to enhance the awareness of the people regarding biodiversity conservation, you have done a great part in protecting the natural resources that we had…

    I am into your goals…please count me in!

    Comment by FORESTER RONNIE T. ELLANIC | May 19, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi…kamusta ang bagong buhay?

    I have seen and read some of your blogs…and i find it interesting, in line with this I am asking you if you could send me some copies of your environmental articles so that I could use it in my science (biology) and agriculture classes.

    Thanks and have a blessed conservation endeavor.

    Daday

    Comment by MA. GINA C. GACHO | May 19, 2010 | Reply


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