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Catanduanes Watershed Forest Reserve

Site description:

Catanduanes is an island of 182,300 ha which lies about 10 km off the tip of the Caramoan Peninsula in southern Luzon. The terrain on the island is hilly, particularly in the central portion, but the highest point only reaches just over 800 m. The substantial forests which remain in central Catanduanes are therefore all lowland dipterocarp in type, and are the largest remaining forest block in the whole of the Bicol Region.

Catanduanes Forest is found above 490 m, and is estimated to cover a total of about 69,770 ha. It includes considerable areas of old growth dipterocarp forest (reported in 1997 to cover 5,876 ha), and closed-canopy forest in areas that show evidence of having been logged. These forest areas are the source of water for Catanduanes Province. One hydropower project is currently operational, that supplies power to urban areas of the island. The forest areas was proclaimed as a Watershed Reserve in 1987 because of these important function, the whole area is state-owned.

Protection status

Catanduanes

The Catanduanes Watershed Forest Reserve was declared through Proclamation No. 123 in 1987, and covers 26,010 ha. It is proposed as a Natural Park (see Conservation issues below) with an expanded protected area of 49,000 ha.

Conservation issues

Catanduanes

In the past, there was little evidence of timber extraction and kaingin in the forested areas of this IBA, probably a result of the local forest protection program and the low population density in the province. However, the human population of Catanduanes is increasing, which is putting pressure on natural habitats. There is evidence that people are moving into forested areas, leading to uncontrolled kaingin, land conversion, illegal cutting of trees and forest fires. As a result there has been an increased occurrence of soil erosion, landslides and siltation in some major river systems. There is also large-scale collection of forest products, hunting and pollution from household waste. Typhoon Rosing is reported to have damaged (at least temporarily) areas of natural habitat on Catanduanes in 1995.

Citation

BirdLife International 2008 BirdLife's online World Bird Database: the site for bird conservation. Version 2.1. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International. Available: http://www.birdlife.org (accessed 16/3/2009)

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