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    Posted June 23, 2014 by

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    Mt. Hamiguitan declared as World Heritage Site

    After days of waiting, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco)’s World Heritage Committee finally declared Davao Oriental’s Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary as a World Heritage List during their deliberation in Doha, Qatar Monday, June 23.

    Department of Tourism Asec. Art Boncato said Mt. Hamiguitan is now the sixth World Heritage Site in the Philippines along with Tubbataha Reef, the Cordillera Rice Terraces, the Puerto Princesa Underground River, the town of Vigan and local baroque churches.

    The declaration was made during the 38th session of the Unesco World Heritage Committee that started June 15 until June 25.

    The Philippine delegation is led by Davao Oriental Governor Corazon Malanyaon.

    Mt. Hamiguitan, one of the country’s richest biodiversity sites located in Davao Oriental, failed to make it to the Unesco list last year but is again nominated, along with 39 other sites, this year.

    Mt. Hamiguitan was declared a Protected Area and Wildlife Sanctuary under Republic Act 9303. It is managed by the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) and the Protected Area Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

    Unesco cites Mount Hamiguitan as it presents the highest and richest biodiversity in terms of flora and fauna per unit area, having unique, rare and threatened endemic species.

    Inventory of flora species in Mt. Hamiguitan and its vicinity showed that its montane forest has 462 plant varieties, its dipterocarp forest with 338 species, mossy forest with 246 species and agro-system with 246 species.

    Unesco also pointed out that Mt. Hamiguitan is one of the habitats of the endangered Philippine eagle, which is “of outstanding universal value for science and conservation” as the world’s second largest eagle.
    Unesco also cited the mountain as the only protected forest noted for its unique bonsai field or “pygmy forest” in an ultramafic soil – a result of the development of rock weathers that has left the soil with an unusually high concentration of iron and magnesium, causing it to be unproductive.
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