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Pinanga sibuyanensis (Pinanga sibuyanensis)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 182518774

Distribution, ecological, and natural history studies of three critically endangered Sibuyan Island-endemic palms (Arecaceae)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 182518774) - Pinanga sibuyanensis - Awarded $3,750 on November 01, 2018

Sibuyan Island, aptly termed as the ‘Galapagos of Asia’, is an evolutionarily and biogeographically significant area in the Philippines with a very distinctive ultramafic flora. It is home to three unique yet critically endangered island-endemic palm species, viz. Pinanga sibuyanensis, Heterospathe sibuyanensis, and Orania sibuyanensis. It is noteworthy, that no further studies have been made before of these palms aside from their incomplete taxonomic descriptions. As for these island-endemic palms, P. sibuyanensis and H. sibuyanensis hitherto remain to be known from the type collections; while O. sibuyanensis is just known from atleast three collections. Our poor knowledge on its taxonomy, distribution, ecology, and natural history to these island-endemic palms incapacitates scientists and conservationists towards their effective conservation.

Thus, distribution, ecological and natural history studies (population structure, phenology, and dispersal agents) of these threatened palms species should be carried out in order to ultimately advance their effective conservation. Information dissemination campaigns about the importance of conserving such resources are opted to be the final result of this study. The remaining forests of the island, information gaps on critically endangered palms distribution and ecology, continuing anthropogenic disturbances, and thriving conservation efforts altogether surmise the timeliness of this project.  

Generally, this project aims to conduct baseline information of the three Sibuyan Island-endemic critically endangered palms ultimately geared towards their effective conservation. Specifically, it aims to:

1. Conduct field studies regarding their distribution, ecology, and natural history (population structure, phenology and dispersal) using modified belt transects and nested quadrat techniques.– Understanding palm species necessitates knowing beyond their names, thus in-situ observations will fill biological and ecological information gaps. This will help us understand the natural processes that maintain palm communities and will aid in crafting effective conservation actions.

2. Ecological analysis and species distribution modelling using Remote Sensing, Arc GIS v2.0, and MAXENT - Baseline information regarding actual or predicted geographical extent of these palms will update their existing conservation status.

3. Prepare and publish communication, education, participation, and awareness (CEPA) campaign materials regarding the threatened palms of Samar Island – This information dissemination strategy will reach wider audience/stakeholders so that they will have elevated awareness regarding the importance of conserving such plants.

Project 182518774 location - Philippines, Asia