PH053
Victoria and Anepahan Ranges


Year of compilation: 2001

Site description
This IBA includes the Victoria and Anapalan mountain ranges and the adjacent foothills and lowlands in central Palawan, to the south-west of Puerto Princesa. There are montane forests on the higher peaks and large tracts of little disturbed lowland forest in the valleys and foothills south-west of Iwahig Penal Colony, in the foothills on the Sulu Sea side of the mountains and to the shoreline on the South China Sea coast in some places. Victoria Peak is reported to support the largest area of ultramafic forest on Palawan, and other habitats there include lowland dipterocarp forest and lower and upper montane forest.

Key biodiversity
Iwahig Penal Colony is currently a popular destination for visiting bird-watchers, and most of the threatened and restricted-range birds of the Palawan Endemic Bird Area have been recorded in this area, including Palawan Striped-babbler, which is known only from montane forests in this IBA and Mt Mantalingajan (PH054). The forests of the Victoria and Anapalan ranges appear to support important populations of the threatened Philippine Cockatoo, Blue-headed Racquet-tail, Palawan Hornbill, Falcated Wren-babbler and Palawan Flycatcher, and possibly also of Palawan Peacock-pheasant.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals recorded in this IBA include Palawan tree shrew Tupaia palawensis, Palawan flying fox Acerodon leucotis, northern Palawan tree squirrel Sundasciurus juvencus, Palawan stink-badger Mydaus marchei, binturong Arctictis binturong, and Oriental short-clawed otter Amblonyx cinereus (found in fishponds and mangroves at Iwahig Penal Colony). The endemic Palawan montane tree squirrel Sundasciurus rabori occurs at high elevations there. The Victoria and Anapalan range is the type locality for the Palawan earless sphenomorphus Sphenomorphus palawanensis.



Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The most serious threats to the forests here are illegal logging and kaingin. Emigration from other parts of the Philippines to Palawan is high and squatting is commonplace. There are existing concessions for Almaciga resin and rattan gathering, which are often not exploited in a sustainable way. It was reported in early 1999 that a typhoon has caused extensive damage to the forests at Iwahig, destroying the crowns of many trees and hence opening up the canopy, and presumably elsewhere on Palawan. The logging in this IBA in the past also contributed to the extensive forest damage. The exploitation of birds is a threat in this area, which affects Palawan Peacock-pheasant and parrots.

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Ancestral domains have been claimed by Tagbanua and Palawan peoples here, but have not been approved yet. If approved, they could provide some protection to the remaining forests. A project on community-based ecosystem management is planned for the municipalities of Aborlan and Narra, funded by the German government. All of Palawan and associated islands are included in a Biosphere reserve, declared in 1990. An integrated management plan has been prepared for the whole Palawan Biosphere Reserve (ECAN), to zone the island. This IBA includes terrestrial core zone (primitive wilderness area strictly protected) and buffer zone (regulated use allowed) areas.

Protected areas
Not officially protected, although it is included in the Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN) as a buffer zone.

Habitat and land use
This IBA includes the Victoria and Anapalan mountain ranges and the adjacent foothills and lowlands in central Palawan, to the south-west of Puerto Princesa. There are montane forests on the higher peaks and large tracts of little disturbed lowland forest in the valleys and foothills south-west of Iwahig Penal Colony, in the foothills on the Sulu Sea side of the mountains and to the shoreline on the South China Sea coast in some places. Victoria Peak is reported to support the largest area of ultramafic forest on Palawan, and other habitats there include lowland dipterocarp forest and lower and upper montane forest.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Victoria and Anepahan Ranges. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/09/2020.