Ecological Research

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 63–72 | Cite as

Plant diversity patterns in remnant forests and exotic tree species-based reforestation in active limestones quarries in the Luzon and Mindanao biogeographic sub-regions in the Philippines

  • John Michael Galindon
  • Bonifacio Pasion
  • Ma. Dolores Tongco
  • Jay Fidelino
  • Mariano Roy Duya
  • Perry OngEmail author
Special Feature: Original Article Biodiversity and Its Ecological Functions in East-Asia and Pacific Region: Status and Challenges


The Philippines is both a megadiversity country and a global biodiversity hotspot. The diversity patterns of three major plant groups were assessed: (1) trees (trees and palms), (2) herbs (grasses, shrubs, forbs, ferns), and (3) epiphytes (climbers and epiphytes), by determining the changes in compositional and species richness patterns in two forest conditions, i.e., remnant forests and exotic tree species-based reforested areas, in active forest over limestone quarries in the Luzon and Mindanao biogeographic sub-regions of the Philippines. We identified 458 species comprising 266 tree species, 95 herbaceous species and 97 epiphyte species. Of these, 21 species were categorized as threatened species. Species composition differed between remnant forests and exotic tree species-based reforested areas for tree species and epiphyte species, while composition differences between the Luzon and Mindanao biogeographic sub-regions were limited to tree species only. Differences in species diversity (in terms of richness) were observed between biogeographic sub-regions for all plant groups, while differences between forest conditions were found for tree and epiphyte species only. Interestingly, there were significantly fewer numbers of exotic species in bigger remnant forest sites and in older exotic tree species-based reforested sites, while larger numbers of native species occurred in older than in younger exotic tree species-based reforested sites. The results emphasize the importance of understanding forest recovery in disturbed ecosystems. Conservation attention should focus on protecting remaining forests and planting native species as part of a forest restoration strategy to enhance faster forest recovery and re-connecting remnant forest patches.


Exotic-species-based reforestation Forest restoration Forest over limestone Remnant forest Threatened tree species 



The support of Holcim Philippines, Inc. (HPI) and Holcim Mining and Development Corporation (HMDC), member and associate member respectively of the LafargeHolcim Group, to conduct the study in their areas of operations are gratefully acknowledged. We are thankful to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, including the regional and provincial offices, for the issuance of permits to conduct the study including the necessary local transport permits, and the respective Local Government Units in each study site for their assistance during fieldwork. The permits are as follows: Bulacan: III–2013–06; La Union/Agno: 2013–004; Lugait: R10–2013–23; Bunawan: RXI–2013–07; Mati: RXI–2013–08. The assistance provided by the local communities in this study are gratefully acknowledged. Special recognition is given to Claire Ann Elmido, Jaime Mangalindan, Bobby Cabalic and Liza Duya for their logistical assistance. The Institute of Biology, College of Science, University of the Philippines Diliman provided logistics and institutional support while the Diliman Science Research Foundation managed the grant.


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Copyright information

© The Ecological Society of Japan 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Michael Galindon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bonifacio Pasion
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ma. Dolores Tongco
    • 1
  • Jay Fidelino
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mariano Roy Duya
    • 1
    • 2
  • Perry Ong
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Biology, College of ScienceUniversity of the Philippines DilimanQuezon CityPhilippines
  2. 2.Diliman Science Research FoundationDiliman, Quezon CityPhilippines
  3. 3.Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesMenglun, MenglaChina
  4. 4.University of the Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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