ad info

 
CNN.com  nature
myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Free E-mail | Feedback  

 

  Search
 
 

 
NATURE
TOP STORIES

New hurdles hamper Galapagos oil spill cleanup

Insight, Prius lead the hybrid-powered fleet

Picture: Indonesia's Merapi volcano erupts

(MORE)

TOP STORIES

Up to 2,000 killed in India quake; fear of aftershocks spreads

Clinton aide denies reports of White House vandalism

New hurdles hamper Galapagos oil-spill cleanup

Two more Texas fugitives will contest extradition

(MORE)

MARKETS
4:30pm ET, 4/16
144.70
8257.60
3.71
1394.72
10.90
879.91
 


WORLD

U.S.

POLITICS

LAW

TECHNOLOGY

ENTERTAINMENT

HEALTH

TRAVEL

FOOD

ARTS & STYLE



(MORE HEADLINES)
*
  E-MAIL:
Subscribe to one of our news e-mail lists.
Enter your address:
Or:
Get a free e-mail account

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 AsiaNow
 En Español
 Em Português
 Svenska
 Norge
 Danmark
 Italian

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 TIME INC. SITES:
 CNN NETWORKS:
Networks image
 more networks
 transcripts

 SITE INFO:
 help
 contents
 search
 ad info
 jobs

 WEB SERVICES:
CNN e-store


Loggers threaten last stronghold of Philippine biodiversity

mountain
The Sierra Madre is the largest remaining area of forest habitat in the Philippines  

May 31, 2000
Web posted at: 4:08 p.m. EDT (2008 GMT)

PALANAN, Philippines (CNN) -- In the Philippines, no wilderness equals the Sierra Madre, a vast and rare swath that stretches from the mountains to the ocean. But the wilderness, like the biological riches it contains, faces the risk of extinction, according to environmentalists.

"If we lose the Sierra Madre, then there's no way Philippine biodiversity can survive the next 10 years," said Perry Ong of Conservation International, a non-profit organization based in Washington that seeks to protect biologically rich areas of the world.

 VIDEO
VideoCNN's Gary Strieker explores the forest.
Real 28K 80K
Windows Media 28K 80K
 
  GALLERY
 
  MESSAGE BOARD
 

The Sierra Madre forest shelters much of the biological diversity of the Philippines, where most species of plants and animals are unique to the islands. Scientists say it must be protected.

Forests in the Philippines were once the richest and most diverse in all of Southeast Asia, before commercial logging and clearing for agriculture obliterated them.

In the last century, nearly 90 percent of Philippine forests disappeared. The largest remaining block stands in northern Luzon, the Sierra Madre.

Authorities are closing down sawmills, but the forest still faces serious threats. Forest rangers keep constant watch for illegal loggers smuggling timber downriver.

"It is really dangerous, especially when we're confiscating, because those loggers have some hidden weapons," said ranger Mario Balagan.

sawmill
Authorities are cracking down on illegal logging and sawmills in the Sierra Madre  

More than 30,000 people live in a few coastal towns in the Sierra Madre. Some of them want more development.

But new roads and mining projects could endanger the forests and rivers. Conservationists are working with local leaders to avoid environmental damage.

Meanwhile, the national government has proclaimed the core of the forest a natural park, although it still requires congressional approval.

Across more than 7,000 Philippine islands, most remaining fragments of ancient forests are expected to disappear during the next 20 years. But this one, the largest of them all, now has a reasonable chance to survive.

The alternative is mass extinction for the Philippines, losing most living things that made these islands like no others on the planet.

"Once this is gone, we have already reached a point of no return," said Leonardo Co of Conservation International.



RELATED STORIES:
Governments sound biodiversity alarm in Nairobi
May 22, 2000
Artificial reefs 'planted' to benefit Hong Kong dolphins
May 16, 2000
Summit laws unable to protect most endangered species
May 11, 2000
Forest Service roadless plan is a detour, say critics
May 10, 2000
Earth Matters: Whales win, sharks lose at endangered species summit
April 28, 2000
CITES assembly seals deal to ban ivory trade
April 25, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Conservation International


Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.
 Search   


Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.