Linkages at International, National and Local Levels
Edited by Frank Maes, An Cliquet, Willemien du Plessis and Heather McLeod-Kilmurray
Chapter 2: Combating climate change and biodiversity loss in a ‘hot spot’ mega-diversity country
This chapter examines the legal framework for a ‘healthful and balanced ecology’, the gap between law and reality in a culture of non-compliance and other challenges in addressing climate change and its effects on biodiversity and inhabitants in ‘one of the “hottest of the hot” and in the opinion of many, the highest priority hotspot on Earth’. In the hope of reversing the worrisome trend of unprecedented species and habitat loss and destruction and inevitable repercussions of climate change in this vastly threatened and unique biodiversity, the chapter strongly suggests steps for instilling ground-breaking initiatives that positively respond to the shuddering climate and biodiversity crisis. The Philippines is one of the 17 mega-diversity ‘superstars’ hosting two-thirds of the planet’s biological wealth. Russell A. Mittermeier, Conservation International (CI) President, regards the country as ‘a very special place in terms of global biodiversity … harboring an enormous concentration of life forms per unit area’. He adds that ‘(t)he country ranks 8th on the world list of endemic plants, 5th in endemic birds, 5th in endemic mammals, 8th in endemic reptiles, and 9th in over-all non-fish vertebrate endemism. It has nearly half of all vertebrate species and three-quarters of all endemic plants.’ CI, an international non-profit organization, advances the factors for the country’s unique biodiversity: ‘The patchwork of isolated islands, the tropical location of the country, and the once extensive areas of rainforest have resulted in high species diversity in some groups of organisms and a very high level of endemism …
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