This IBA is within Central Cebu National Park (CCNP), which was established under Proclamation No. 202 on 15 September 1937 (originally 15,393.58 ha), amended by Proclamation No. 835-A on 27 March 1971 (to 11,894 ha). The CCNP also lies adjacent to the older Sudlon National Park (SNP) in Cebu City, which was established on 11 April 1936 with Proclamation No. 56 (696 ha). Both parks overlap with the Kotkot and Lusaran River Watershed Forest Reserve (14,534 ha) that was established through Proclamation No. 932 on 29 June 1992.
Tabunan is of critical importance for the conservation of the birds and other biodiversity characteristic of the Cebu Endemic Bird Area. Cebu Flowerpecker, considered extinct since 1906, was rediscovered there in 1992, and it is currently known to survive only in this IBA and at Nug-as and Mt Lantoy (PH071). This is also one of the few IBAs selected for the Black Shama (which survives in a considerable number of localities on Cebu but in small numbers at most of them), and Tabunan almost certainly supports one of the largest remaining populations of this species. Two other threatened species which were thought to be extinct on Cebu were rediscovered at Tabunan during recent fieldwork, Streak breasted Bulbul (represented on Cebu by an endemic subspecies) and Philippine Leafbird. There were also possible sightings of the Cebu endemic subspecies of the restricted-range Blackish Cuckoo-shrike. Twelve subspecies of bird are endemic to Cebu, of which at least five have recently been recorded at Tabunan, Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala cebuensis, Streak breasted Bulbul (see above), Elegant Tit Parus elegans visayanus, White-vented Whistler Pachycephala homeyeri major and Everett’s White-eye Zosterops everetti everetti. There have also been possible sightings there of the Cebu subspecies of White-bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis cebuensis and Blackish Cuckoo-shrike (see above). Recent records of Colasisi Loriculus philippensis at Tabunan may refer to the Cebu endemic L. p. chrysonotus or to escaped birds brought to Cebu from other islands.
Non-bird biodiversity: The critically endangered Philippine Tube-nosed Fruit Bat Nyctimene rabori occurs at Tabunan. The forest patches in this IBA support a wide variety of trees and other plants, including the last known stands of Caningag or Cebu cinnamon tree Cinnamonum cebuensis, and at least 200 other native and endemic plant species, many of them threatened. Among the most important of these native plants are the leguminous vines called “Sampinit” which produces greenish-white flowers that are frequently visited by nectar-feeding birds such as sunbirds, white-eyes, bulbuls, starlings and flowerpeckers, notably the Cebu Flowerpecker.
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Central Cebu Protected Landscape including Tabunan. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/11/2019.