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Camiguin Island


Category: Critical Plant Sites
Date Posted: 2005-12-27


Camiguin is a pear-shaped island province with a total land are of 290 sq. km. situated in the Bohol Sea. The island is surrounded by Bohol on the northwest, mainland Mindanao in the south and east, and Siquijor Island in the far west.

A chain of seven volcanoes dominate the landscape of this small island. This is probably the smallest island-volcano in the Philippines, next to the famous Taal Volcano. Mt. Hibok-hibok which rises to 1,250 m.a.s.l. is one of the active volcanoes in the island. It has a crater lake and numerous steam vents along its slopes. The other volcanoes are Mt. Mambajao, Guinsiliban Peak, Mt. Timpong, and Tres Marias.

Camiguin is an island paradise abounding with natural wonders like hot and cold springs, water falls, and volcanic landscapes. Aside from its geological wonders, Camiguin is habitat to numerous Philippine flora and fauna. However, the isolation of Camiguin island from other islands since the Pleistocene accounts for its high endemism. The following are some of its endemic plants:

* Miquelia reticulata (Icacinaceae)
* Medinilla multiflora
* Memecylon subcaudatum (Melastomataceae)
* Syzygium camiguenense (Myrtaceae)
* Coelogyne confusa
* Goodyera ramosii (Orchidaceae)

The original vegetation of Mt. Hibok-hibok was apparently a combination of lowland evergreen rainforest from the base to mid-elevation and submontane forest towards its summit. At present the landscape is drastically altered. The one lush forest at the lower part of the mountain is now mostly transformed to coconut plantations and corn fields. Remnants of lowland evergreen forest can still be found at 300m., but this is interspersed by vast tracts of cogonal and talahib land. The picture at the right shows the summit of Mt. Hibok-hibok.

Towards the summit, the vegetation is transformed to a submontane type diminated by shrubby plants of Radermachera, Rhododendron, Medinilla, and Vaccinium. The vegetation at the sub-summit area is also patchy and the trees are usually stunted of tall trees and shrubs. It is compose mostly of turfs of grasses. Recent satellite imageries of the island shows that it is dominated by croplands mixed coconut plantations, pure coconut plantations, grasslands, and open canopy forests with mature trees covering less than 50%.

The main threats to the flora and vegetation of Camiguin Island are volcanic eruptions, landslides, soil erosion, and conversion of forests to agricultural land. At present, there are no protected areas within the island.


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