Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
Deforestation poses the most direct threat to the remarkable biodiversity of the Philippines. Largely due to loss of habitat, more than 380 animal species are threatened or endangered. Water pollution has damaged the fragile marine ecosystems of the country's coastal wetlands, mangrove swamps, and coral reefs. Serious air pollution is another environmental concern, primarily in Manila.
The Philippines has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. At the current rate of deforestation, about 1.4 percent annually, the country's virgin forests are in danger of disappearing by 2010. The clearing of forests has contributed to soil erosion, a serious problem in the Philippines due to heavy monsoon rains. The Philippine government imposed restrictions on logging in the late 1970s and banned logging in virgin forests in 1991, but illegal and often corrupt activities undermine these efforts. Reforestation programs have met with limited success. About 5 percent of the land in the Philippines is designated for preservation in parks and other reserves.