PH031
Mount Isarog National Park


Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Mt Isarog is a large, isolated peak in Camarines Sur Province, on the Camarines Peninsula in southeastern Luzon. The mountain is a dormant volcano that rises to 1,976 m. The vegetation there includes parang grasslands mixed with patches of secondary forest from the lowlands to 900m, lowland forest below about 1,000m, and montane forest above about 900 m,including mossy forest above 1,500 m. However, most of the remaining forest is montane, with closed canopy lowland forests restricted to very steep slopes within a narrow band around 890-1,000 m. There is limited tourism in the area mainly to Malabsay Falls of Naga City and the sulfur hot spring of Hiwacloy. Poor roads and security problems related to insurgency are major factors in limiting tourist numbers.

Key biodiversity
Many of the threatened and restricted-range birds of the Luzon Endemic Bird Area have been recorded on Mt Isarog, mainly during expeditions in 1961 and 1988. The substantial area of montane forest which remains there is likely to support important populations of montane species, such as the threatened Whiskered Pitta. The area of lowland forest there is now very small, and Mt Isarog has probably lost much of its value for the conservation of lowland forest birds. The sightings of Philippine Cockatoo in 1988 are particularly interesting, as they represent one of the very few recent records of this rapidly declining species on Luzon.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mt Isarog supports the only known population of the Isarog Shrew-Mouse Archboldomys luzonensis, Isarog Striped Shrew-rat Chrotomys gonzalesi, and Isarog Shrew-rat Rhynchomys isarogensis, as well as many other threatened Luzon endemics, including the Southern Luzon Giant Cloud Rat Phloeomys cumingi.



Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The montane forests on Mt Isarog and the narrow strip of lowland forest above c.900 m have remained relatively safe from forest clearing because of the steep topography and the scarcity of large dipterocarp trees there. Rattan is regularly gathered from this zone, but this activity has a negligible effect on the forest. However, below 900 m, illegal commercial logging operations and kaingin have cleared or degraded almost all of the forest, including within the national park boundaries. There are several settlements just outside the park boundaries, and the numbers of settlers inside the park has recently increased, so it is likely that the remaining undisturbed forests in the park will come under increasing pressure. However, residents around the mountain are now very committed to trying to return the mountain to ‘its natural state’, largely driven by concerns about water quality.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
There are several settlements just outside the park boundaries, and the numbers of settlers inside the park has recently increased, so it is likely that the remaining undisturbed forests in the park will come under increasing pressure. However, residents around the mountain are now very committed to trying to return the mountain to ‘its natural state’, largely driven by concerns about water quality. Many of the current problems in Mt Isarog need to be addressed at the municipal level. However, although many relevant ordinances exist, there is no capacity to implement these environmental measures within the municipalities. There is therefore a need to institutionalize environment issues at the municipal level. The Protected Area Management Board is currently not functioning well, and there is also a need to help to build its capacity. The Haribon Foundation has been active at Mt Isarog since 1989, when it carried out a project to gather biological, physical and socio-politico-economic baseline information. In 1991, it launched a pilot community based protected area management project in Barangay Del Rosario. This has subsequently been expanded to three more barangays. In 1991-1993, activities were focused on fostering environmental awareness among local communities and developing or enhancing organizational and resource management skills. The project has helped to put in place tenure systems that assist conservation. The project has played an important role in establishing active people’s organizations in four barangays, which have had some success in preventing illegally-logged timber being transported through the barangay. Haribon’s proven track record in Mt Isarog was recently acknowledged by the NIPAP when it selected Haribon as a partner to carry out the Rapid Rural Appraisal of Mt Isarog.

Protected areas
Mt Isarog National Park was declared by Proc. No. 293 on 20 July 1938. It is currently proposed as a natural park under the NIPAS. This park is one of the priority sites under the EU-DENR NIPAP.

Habitat and land use
Mt Isarog is a large, isolated peak in Camarines Sur Province, on the Camarines Peninsula in southeastern Luzon. The mountain is a dormant volcano that rises to 1,976 m. The vegetation there includes parang grasslands mixed with patches of secondary forest from the lowlands to 900m, lowland forest below about 1,000m, and montane forest above about 900 m,including mossy forest above 1,500 m. However, most of the remaining forest is montane, with closed canopy lowland forests restricted to very steep slopes within a narrow band around 890-1,000 m. There is limited tourism in the area mainly to Malabsay Falls of Naga City and the sulfur hot spring of Hiwacloy. Poor roads and security problems related to insurgency are major factors in limiting tourist numbers.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mount Isarog National Park. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2020.