Palawan Biosphere Reserve

The Palawan Biosphere Reserve is a cluster of islands composed of one long main island and smaller groups of islands around it. The 1,150,800 hectares of the biosphere reserve include the entire Province of Palawan Island, which is the westernmost province of the Philippines.

Declaration Date: 1990
Surface Area: 1,489,600 ha
Administrative Division: Palawan Province

Human activities

The total population in 2000 is 755,412 with an annual population growth rate of 3.6%. The Palawan BR is also home to approximately 57 ethnolinguistic groups with 3 indigenous peoples: the Tagbanua, Palaw’an, and the Bataks. The major economic activities are agriculture and fisheries. Other important industries are tourism, on-shore and off-shore mining, gathering of minor forest products, and pearl farming. The province of Palawan is known as the Philippine’s “last ecological frontier”. The Palawan BR is an archipelago composed of main island and more than 1,700 islands. It is endowed with rich natural resources and highly diverse flora and fauna found in both land and sea.

Based on the IUCN classification, it has 105 out of the 475 threatened species in the Philippines. Of the 105 threatened species, 67 are endemic to the Philippines, while 42 of the 67 Philippine endemics are Palawan endemics.

Its coastal and marine ecosystems include coral reef (379 species of corals), seagrass meadow (13 species), and mangrove (31 species, distributed in 44,500 hectares of mangrove forests, the highest remaining mangrove cover in the Philippines). It also harbors several marine mammals such as marine turtles, dugong, and whale shark. The characteristics of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems are also diverse. It is composed of oldgrowth and secondgrowth tropical rainforest, karstic limestone, forest over ultramafic rocks, casuarinas and beach forest.

They serve as habitats to freshwater fish (total of 18 Philippines endemics), amphibians (26 Philippines endemics), reptiles (69 species), birds (279 species), migratory birds, terrestrial mammals (58 species, 16 are Palawan endemics).

Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan

  • Created in 1992
  • Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) as the administrative machinery
  • A comprehensive framework for sustainable development of Palawan compatible with protecting and enhancing the natural resources and endangered environment of the province

Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN)

  • Main strategy of SEP
  • Graded system of protection and development control over the whole of Palawan
  • Ridge-to-reef approach

Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN)

  • Forest conservation and protection through the imposition of a total commercial logging ban in all areas of maximum protection and in such other restricted use zones as the PCSD may provide
  • Protection of Watersheds
  • Protection of tribal people and the preservation of their culture
  • Maintenance of maximum sustainable yield
  • Provision of areas for environmental and ecological research, education and training
  • Provision of areas for tourist recreation