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Palawan Biosphere Reserve, Philippines

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.

Designation date: 1990


Regional network:  SeaBRnet

Ecosystem-based network: Tropical Humid Forests and Coastal Marine




    Surface : 1,489,600 ha


    • Core area(s): N/A
    • Buffer zone(s): N/A
    • Transition zone(s): N/A 

    Location: N/A

    Administrative Authorities

    Office of the President

    Palawan Council for Sustainable Development
    PCSD Building, Sta. Monica Heights
    Puerto Princesa City, 5300 Palawan

    Tel.: (63)-048-434-4235

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    Ecological Characteristics

    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).


    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    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.







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    Last updated: October 2018