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5 April 2006 Mammal and Land Bird Studies on Camiguin Island, Philippines: Background and Conservation Priorities
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Camiguin Island, with an area of ca. 265 km2 and maximum elevation of ca. 1620 m, lies about 10 km north of Mindanao but is isolated from Mindanao by a deep (385 m) channel. It originated from volcanic activity as a dryland island not earlier than 1 million years ago, but most growth of the island has occurred within the past 340,000 years. Current landforms are dominated by large, scenic volcanic peaks, several of which are active. Lowland rain forest originally occurred up to about 1100 m elevation, with montane rain forest from 1100 m to about 1350 m and mossy forest from 1350 m to the peaks. By the mid-1990s, deforestation had removed most natural vegetation below about 600 m, with degree of disturbance to forest decreasing with elevation and ending at about 1250 m. The climate is tropical, with rainfall of 2–3 m per year in the lowlands and probably about 7.5 m near the peaks. Mammal and/or bird specimens are available from 18 sites from the 1960s and 1990s; these sites are here located and described to the extent possible. Given the presence of two endemic species of mammals (one described in this volume), one endemic bird (described in this volume), and previously described endemic plants and a frog, Camiguin is one of the smallest but most distinctive centers of biodiversity in the Philippines and should be a priority site for conservation. The remaining forest on Camiguin is essential habitat for these unique species, but it is also essential for watershed protection and control of floods and landslides, and it contributes significantly to the tourism trade that provides substantial income on the island. Deforestation for logging and agriculture and overhunting are current threats. A protected area on the island should include the full range of original habitat diversity, which would encompass both the existing high-quality forest at upper elevations and also significant tracts of disturbed but natural lowland forest, especially along rivers and streams, that should be allowed to regenerate in the future.

Lawrence R. Heaney and Blas R. Tabaranza "Mammal and Land Bird Studies on Camiguin Island, Philippines: Background and Conservation Priorities," Fieldiana Zoology 2006(106), 1-13, (5 April 2006).[1:MALBSO]2.0.CO;2
Published: 5 April 2006

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