Tablas is the largest of the three main islands of Romblon Province, the other two being Romblon and Sibuyan (PH058). It covers 828 km2 and lies east of Mindoro and just north of Panay. While Sibuyan is very steep and difficult to cultivate, Tablas is relatively gentle in aspect with fertile plains and rolling hills which are under rice cultivation and coconuts, and the forest cover is now almost completely gone. The largest area of remnant forest on the island is the reserve forest in the Balogo watershed and the nearby Burburanan forest. The Balogo watershed is in the north of Tablas and appears to be on very infertile soil, which is probably why it has also not been cleared for agriculture or coconuts, but also means that the biological productivity is relatively low. Most of the remaining forest in the Balogo watershed forest was found in 1998 to be very low, about 3-5 m high, but on the summits of the hills and on the steep, southeast slope some original forest was still present.
Several restricted-range and threatened species have been recorded on Tablas, which lies within the Tablas, Romblon and Sibuyan Secondary Area. It is likely that the Balogo watershed forests supports some of the largest surviving populations of these birds, although birds were rather few in number and diversity was low there in 1998, but some of the other forest patches may also prove to be important. This IBA is of particular importance for the threatened Streak-breasted Bulbul, which is represented on Tablas by the subspecies I. s. cinereiceps, which is only known from Tablas and Romblon. This form differs substantially from the other subspecies of Streak-breasted Bulbul, and it has been proposed that it may be distinct enough to be treated as a full species. Three subspecies of birds are endemic to Tablas, Spangled Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus menagei, which was feared extinct but was rediscovered at Dobdoban in 1999, and Blue-headed Fantail Rhipidura cyaniceps sauli and Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma cnecolaemum, which were both apparently fairly common in secondary habitat in 1998.
Non-bird biodiversity: The mammals of Tablas are virtually unknown, and thus more surveys are needed.
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Balogo Watershed. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/06/2022.