Land and Resources, Plant and Animal Life
Sulu Archipelago, Manila hemp, coastal swamps, Pearl oysters, colorful parrots
Forests in the Philippines include the banyan, many varieties of palm, trees yielding rubber, and many indigenous trees with extremely hard wood such as apitong, yacal, lauan, camagon, ipil, white and red narra, and mayapis. Bamboo and cinnamon, clove, and pepper plants grow wild, as do hundreds of species of orchid. Abaca, or Manila hemp, is a commercially valuable indigenous plant; its fiber is used in making cordage, textiles, and hats. Mangrove trees and nipa palms grow in coastal swamps. Coarse, hardy tropical grasses have taken over many upland areas that were cleared of their original tropical rain forest.
The Philippines has few species of large mammals. The domesticated water buffalo, or carabao, is common throughout the islands, while a small species of carabao, the tamarau, is found only in interior Mindoro. Small mammals are more numerous, including monkeys, rodents, bats, and shrews; several species of deer, including a dwarf deer; mongooses; and porcupines, found only on Palawan. Reptiles and birds abound in greater variety and number than mammals. The islands have 556 species of birds, including colorful parrots and the endangered monkey-eating eagle. Palawan has many species of birds found nowhere else in the world. Leeches and insects such as mosquitoes and grasshoppers are serious pests in some areas.
Coastal and inland waters teem with marine life, including thousands of species of fish as well as mollusks such as clams. Pearl oysters are abundant around the Sulu Archipelago, and Sulu pearls are renowned for their quality. Coral reefs and sponges are also found in many offshore areas.
Article key phrases: