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Photographer's Note

Rainforest, Malinao, Aklan, Philippines

It is said that the Philippines was one of the more thorougly covered countries in the world by rain forest - a few hundred years ago, at least 95% of the islands was covered by forest.

In the 1900, rain forest covered at least 70% of the country but due to increasing population and cultivation, some islands have been heavily deforested; some islands were devoid of their old growth cover.

Forward to 1992, the date of the most recent forest survey: old-growth rain forest cover has declined to a shocking 8.6 percent. In the late 1997, that percentage has probably dropped further to about 7 percent. 70% to 7% in a hundred years - it is the most severe and most rapid decline in old-growth forest in the world.

The Philippines has one of the highest density of both unique and endangered species in the world and the forest destruction is the primary reason the Philippines is ranked as having the most severely endangered mammal and bird faunas in the world - as well as the increasing frequency of floods, drought, erosion, mudslides, coral reef siltation and groundwater depletion.

The situation is bleak.

Pictured is one of the few remaining old growth forest patches on the island of Panay ... up in the central highlands. This may be the last you'll see of it.

Source: Vanishing Treasures of the Philippine Rainforest by Lawrence Heaney and Jacinto Regalado Jr, Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL, 1998

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Additional Photos by Ken Ilio (flip89) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 538 W: 173 N: 576] (3418)
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