PH083
Mount Hilong-hilong This is an IBA in Danger! 


Site description (2001 baseline):

Site location and context
Mt Hilong hilong lies on the boundaries of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur Provinces, in the northern portion of the Diwata range of north-east Mindanao. It is the highest mountain in the range, but several of the other peaks included in the IBA also reach well over 1,000 m. The IBA comprises a large block of forest that is shown on recent forest cover maps. Much of this forest is montane, but there are also likely to be some substantial areas of lowland forest. The Cabadbaran-Santiago Natural Park is located on flat to rolling land from 200-1,700 m. It includes c. 3,002 ha (58%) of residual forest, including a 120 ha rattan plantation established by the DENR, c. 1,682 ha (33%) of brushland with medium-sized trees and c.318 ha (6%) of grassland. Cultivated land covers c.163 ha (3%), and is planted with corn, root crops and fast-growing exotic tree species, such as yemane or gmelina Gmelina arborea. Cabadbaran-Santiago Natural Park was declared as a forest watershed reservation because it is the main source of water for the municipalities of Cabadbaran and Santiago. A 500 ha area has been set aside as ancestral domain.

Key biodiversity
Many of the threatened and restricted-range species of the Mindanao and Eastern Visayas Endemic Bird Area have been recorded on Mt Hilong-hilong, most during collecting expeditions in the 1950s and 1960s. These birds include both lowland and montane forest specialists, and, given the relatively large areas of low altitude forest that are reported to remain in this IBA, it could prove to be one of the most important sites for lowland forest birds in the EBA. Some of these birds obviously occur at high densities there, notably Wattled Broadbill. Three of the restricted-range birds have subspecies that are only known from Mt Hilong-hilong (although they presumably occur elsewhere in the Diwata range), Grey-hooded Sunbird A. p. diuatae, Olive-capped Flowerpecker D. n. diuatae and Black-masked White-eye L. g. gracilis. The Pangulangan Caves harbor large populations of cave bats and swiftlets.

Non-bird biodiversity: The Pangulangan Caves harbour large populations of cave bats and swiftlets.



Habitat and land use
Mt Hilong hilong lies on the boundaries of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur Provinces, in the northern portion of the Diwata range of north-east Mindanao. It is the highest mountain in the range, but several of the other peaks included in the IBA also reach well over 1,000 m. The IBA comprises a large block of forest that is shown on recent forest cover maps. Much of this forest is montane, but there are also likely to be some substantial areas of lowland forest. The Cabadbaran-Santiago Natural Park is located on flat to rolling land from 200-1,700 m. It includes c. 3,002 ha (58%) of residual forest, including a 120 ha rattan plantation established by the DENR, c. 1,682 ha (33%) of brushland with medium-sized trees and c.318 ha (6%) of grassland. Cultivated land covers c.163 ha (3%), and is planted with corn, root crops and fast-growing exotic tree species, such as yemane or gmelina Gmelina arborea. Cabadbaran-Santiago Natural Park was declared as a forest watershed reservation because it is the main source of water for the municipalities of Cabadbaran and Santiago. A 500 ha area has been set aside as ancestral domain.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
People living within and adjacent to the proposed Cabadbaran-Santiago Natural Park are reported to be engaged in timber extraction and kaingin, which are also likely to be the main pressures elsewhere in the IBA. Other problems include an influx of migrants, who are illegally occupying land, and road construction. There is hunting pressure in the proposed Cabadbaran-Santiago Natural Park and at Pangulangan Caves, where guano gathering/mining and the collection of swiftlet nests are additional threats.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The DENR-Caraga and local NGOs have introduced several environmental projects to rehabilitate degraded sites, including community-based forest management, Integrated Social Forestry (ISF), Community Forestry Program (CFP, covers 1,429 ha) and Forest Land Management Program (FLMPs). Surveys are required in this IBA, to investigate both the extent and quality of the remaining habitats and the current status of the threatened and restricted-range birds and other biodiversity.

Protected areas
The proposed Cabadbaran-Santiago Natural Park lies within the Mt Hilong-hilong IBA. The area was declared as a forest watershed reservation by Presidential Proclamation No. 834, series of 1991.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Important Bird Area factsheet: Mount Hilong-hilong. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/site/factsheet/mount-hilong-hilong-iba-philippines on 28/02/2024.