The Philippines as one of the 17 mega-diverse countries and home to number of endemic wildlife species is faced with the challenge to implement strategies to prevent habitat degradation and species extinction. As one of the global biodiversity hotspots, the nation’s biodiversity and endemism is under a high level of threat. Over the past years, the percentage of original forest in the Philippines has significantly decline and there had been increase in the number of globally threatened species in the IUCN Red List.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) enjoins Parties to establish a “system of protected areas” and recommends “Site conservation” as one of the most important and successful strategies for reducing global biodiversity loss.
The “Key Biodiversity Area” (KBA) approach presents an appropriate framework for identifying fine-scale conservation priorities in the Philippines. These globally significant and conservation priorities sites provide the building blocks for landscape-level conservation planning and maintaining effective ecological networks aimed at preventing biodiversity loss. The goal of KBA approach is to identify, document, and protect network of sites for the conservation of globally important biodiversity (those assessed as critically endangered according to IUCN Red List).
KBAs are identified using simple, standard criteria based on the conservation planning principles of vulnerability and irreplaceability .
Criteria: 1.Vulnerability is measured by the confirmed presence of one or more globally threatened species categorized as:
1. Endemic species – species being unique to a defined geographic location, such as an island, nation, country or other defined zone, or habitat type
2. Congregatory species – species that gathers in large numbers at specific sites at some stage in their life cycle for feeding, breeding or resting during migration (e.g. boobies, spoon bill, heron, great egret, Philippine duck)
Criteria: 2. Irreplaceability is determined through the presence of geographically concentrated species: the extent to which the loss of an area will compromise conservation targets.
Identifying KBAs in the Philippines is based on the 117 Important Bird Areas (IBA’s) identified for the country by the Haribon Foundation and Birdlife International and the 206 Conservation Priority Areas (CPAs) identified through the Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Priority-setting Program.
Total KBA=10.6 M hectares (terrestrial and marine)