PH094
Mount Kitanglad


Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
Mt Kitanglad National Park includes an extensive mountain range with about a dozen peaks, the main ones being Mt Imbayao, Mt Kaatoan, Mt Nangkabulos, Mt Dulangdulang and Mt. Kitanglad itself. The park contains large areas of montane and mossy forest. However, there is little forest there below 1,000 m and many areas have no forest below 1,400 m, and most of what remains is secondary growth lowland forest. Mt. Imbayao has the most extensive remaining lowland forests at 800 to 1,200 m. The peak of Mt. Kitanglad is practically denuded of vegetation because of a fire in 1983. The park is the most important source of water for the adjacent portions of the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, and is the source of numerous rivers. There are several installations around the peak of Mt Kitanglad, e.g. Bukidnon Telephone (BUTEL), Philippine Telephone and Telegraph (PT&T), Philippine Army, Radio Mindanao Network and the Department of Local Government Building, which is used by climbers as a temporary resting place.

Key biodiversity
The Mt Kitanglad range is a popular birdwatching site, and there were biodiversity survey expeditions to the mountains as recently as the 1990s. There are recent records from there of many of the threatened and restricted-range species of the Mindanao and Eastern Visayas Endemic Bird Area. Mt. Kitanglad supports substantial populations of many montane forest specialists, including several which are only known from the higher mountains on Mindanao, such as Mindanao Lorikeet, Mindanao Racquet-tail, Mindanao Scops-owl, Slaty-backed Jungle-flycatcher, Red-eared Parrotfinch and Apo Myna. It is one of only three sites where the poorly known Whitehead's Swiftlet has been recorded. There is also an important population of Philippine Eagle in this IBA. Two subspecies of birds are only recorded from these mountains, Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus katanglad and Mountain Leaf-warbler Phylloscopus trivirgatus flavostriatus. Many lowland forest species were recorded in the Mt Kitanglad range in the past, but the lowland forests around the base of the mountains have now been almost entirely cleared. This IBA is unlikely to support significant populations of many of these birds, and the paucity of recent record of several of them suggests that they have declined substantially or already become locally extinct, including Spotted Imperial-pigeon, Silvery Kingfisher, Wattled Broadbill and Philippine Leafbird. Some mid-altitude forest birds appear to survive on Kitanglad in significant numbers, notably Mindanao Brown-dove and Lesser Eagle-owl, but they must be vulnerable to any further habitat loss.

Non-bird biodiversity: The known mammal fauna consists of 58 species, including two new species of small non-volant mammals, a shrew-mouse Crunomys suncoides and a moss-mouse Tarsomys sp., discovered in the park in 1993. Other important mammals in the park include Binau or Philippine Brown Deer Cervus mariannus, Baboy Kalasanon or Bearded Pig Sus barbatus, Talibungkok or Mindanao gymnure Podogymnura truei, Unggoy or Long-tailed Macaque Macaca fascicularis, Salumbakutin or Mindanao Tree Shrew Urogale everetti, Kagwang or Philippine Lemur Cynocephalus volans, Tambalingan or Philippine Pygmy Squirrel Exilisciurus concinnus, Kalukag / Kalugit or Mindanao Flying Squirrel Petinomys crinitus and rare bats such as the endemic Mindanao Pygmy Fruit Bat Alionycteris paucidentata, which is known only from Mt Kitanglad. The area is rich in gymnosperms and tree ferns, and more than 300 species of flora used by the indigenous people for herbal medicine, including “ali” Drimys piperita, “kappa-kapa tree” Medinilla magnifica, and the pitcher plant Nepenthes truncata in the montane forest.



Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The human activities most severely impacting the protected area are high value crop plantations, kaingin, small-scale logging and establishment of buildings and roads for telecommunications and military camps. There are lower intensity impacts from gathering of non-yimber forest products, tourism, hunting, fishing and grazing. Unfortunately, government programmes promoting plantation agriculture and forestry are providing encouragement to communities to encroach into the protected area and its buffer zone. Further, the lack of security of tenure over the land by local communities has created an open access situation; it is a disincentive to investing in more sustainable agricultural practices and leaves local communities powerless when trying to keep people from expanding agriculture into the forest areas. On the southern slope of Mt Kitanglad, especially in the Lantapan and Basak areas, vegetable farming techniques (the “gardening technology”) have been brought in by migrant Igorots from Luzon’s Mountain Province. Large tracts of montane forest have been cleared for this by burning and then planted to cultivars that do not thrive in the lowlands, including cabbage, potato, radish and carrots. Fires that spread into the forests from adjacent grasslands are also a problem. Overhunting and commercial collecting of wildlife are widespread. Vast agricultural plantations have been established, such as a Dole pineapple plantation. These have displaced local farmers, who have destroyed secondary forests for farming, and fires started to burn areas of forest have gone out of control.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Mt Kitanglad National Park is now under the management of the DENR-Conservation of Priority Protected Areas Project (CPPAP), in association, collaboration and partnership with the NGOs for the Integrated Protected Areas, Inc. (NIPA) with funding support from the World Bank-GEF. A Vertebrate Biodiversity Inventory and Capability Training project was completed in 1992-1993 by the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History and the MacArthur Foundation. A Vertebrate Biodiversity Inventory and Monitoring Training was completed in 1996-1997 by NORDECO (Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology), funded by the World Bank-DANIDA. The DENR Biodiversity Monitoring System has been in operation in this IBA since 1998. Every quarter of the year protected area staff meet with four volunteer groups of local hunters and forest users and discuss changes in resource use and biodiversity. In addition, PA staff regularly survey four transect routes and take photgraphs at selected viewpoints to document habitat changes. They also record routine observations of resource use, threats and wildlife during regular patrols. In the late 1980s a fasting and demonstration by the local people of Bukidnon resulted in a logging moratorium for the province in 1989. Since then, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Malaybalay has been involved in forest protection in the area. For instance, they are making radio programmes, holding seminars in high schools, organising forest protectors and developing tree nursery technology. In addition, a number of research activities within agriculture and natural resource management have been undertaken by Xavier University and other institutions within the Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resources Management Collaborative Research Support Programme(SANREM) with funds from USAID (since 1993).

Protected areas
Mt Kitanglad National Park was declared by Proclamation No. 667 on 14 December 1990. As a priority area of NIPAP, it was declared as Mt Kitanglad Natural Park by Presidential Proclamation No. 896 on 24 September 1996 with an area of 29,716 ha. The area proposed under the GEF CPPAP includes a buffer zone of 74,100 ha. It is covered by the DENR-NORDECO Technical Assistance for Improving Biodiversity Conservation Project funded by Denmark through the World Bank.

Habitat and land use
Mt Kitanglad National Park includes an extensive mountain range with about a dozen peaks, the main ones being Mt Imbayao, Mt Kaatoan, Mt Nangkabulos, Mt Dulangdulang and Mt. Kitanglad itself. The park contains large areas of montane and mossy forest. However, there is little forest there below 1,000 m and many areas have no forest below 1,400 m, and most of what remains is secondary growth lowland forest. Mt. Imbayao has the most extensive remaining lowland forests at 800 to 1,200 m. The peak of Mt. Kitanglad is practically denuded of vegetation because of a fire in 1983. The park is the most important source of water for the adjacent portions of the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, and is the source of numerous rivers. There are several installations around the peak of Mt Kitanglad, e.g. Bukidnon Telephone (BUTEL), Philippine Telephone and Telegraph (PT&T), Philippine Army, Radio Mindanao Network and the Department of Local Government Building, which is used by climbers as a temporary resting place.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mount Kitanglad. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/09/2021.