Figure 1. The Representative Flora and Fauna of Del Carmen, Siargao Island.
The Philippines surely has a rich diversified ecosystem.
Siargao Island, the Surfing Capital of the Philippines, is recorded to be a home to hundreds of species of flora and fauna. The municipality of Del Carmen alone has recorded a total of 110 species of plants and 403 species of animals from the aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
A study conducted by National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP) members of Division V (Biological Sciences) led by Dr. Cecilia Banag-Moran, has found remarkable plant and beach forest species and possible new species of frog, rat, tarsier, insects, marine fish and decapod crustaceans in Del Carmen, Siargao. With this rich diversity, a move for the global importance of Del Carmen, Siargao should be considered for its conservation and sustainability.
The identified species of animals are the 11 amphibians, 14 mammals, 23 reptiles, 52 birds, and 81 marine fish. It was found that nine species of plants and 34 species of terrestrial vertebrates are endemic to the Philippines. In addition to this, 45 species of plants and 17 species of terrestrial vertebrates are not yet assessed for their conservation status.
Also, according to the NRCP study, the amphibians and reptiles in mangroves and surrounding habitats are in excellent condition that is why the project researchers recommend the need to place protection measures in the area.
Figure 2. The highly diversified mangrove flora in Del Carmen, Siargao.
On the other hand, the highly diverse Del Carmen mangrove forest is home of interesting species, host to unique floral assemblages, and haven of high floral diversity. According to the study, out of the 54 mangrove species in the world, Del Carmen is composed of 19 or 35.19% of the world species.
There is also a remarkable record of new 90 species of marine flora, thus, the need for continuance of correct and diversified mangrove planting.
Overall, this data will support the request for Del Carmen, Siargao to be listed as new RAMSAR site in the Philippines. Ramsar is a global treaty whose primary aim is to conserve and sustain the utilization of wetlands. It also seeks to recognize the significant ecological roles played by the wetlands and their scientific, recreational, cultural, and economic significance. To date, there are six (6) wetland habitats in the Philippines that have been designated as Ramsar wetlands of international importance.
The presence of a threatened and endemic flora and fauna and possible new species, aside from the high diversity in the area is sufficient support for the Del Carmen Mangrove Forest to be listed under Ramsar for its long term conservation and sustainable utilization. Aside from the move to consider Del Carmen as a new Ramsar site, the project recommends for policy conservation and protection of Siargao ecosystems and its biodiversity resources.
This study was under the SAKLAW (Saklolo sa Lawa – Sustainable Communities) of the National Integrated Basic Research Agenda (NIBRA) spearheaded by the NRCP. It was conducted, in response to Siargao LGU’s request for scientific evidence to support their bid for Ramsar. The study assessed the biodiversity of the mangrove forests in Del Carmen, Siargao Island through biological field surveys
A three-pager Photoguide of the Birds of Del Carmen Siargao has been produced under the study. The comprehensive results of the project were presented by the researchers during the stakeholders meeting which was attended by the heads of the Municipality of Del Carmen, Mayor Proserfina M. Coro and Vice Mayor Alfredo M. Coro II, on January 6, 2021 via online.