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Project information

[Project name/title]
Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition

[Project description/overview]
This expedition was a ground-breaking first biological exploration of the interior of the North Negros Natural Park.

Negros Island, Philippines, Southeast Asia

Project type:

Relevant EDGE species:
Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons)
Hazel's forest frog (Platymantis hazelae)
Fischer's Pygmy Fruit Bat (Haplonycteris fischeri)

Project members:
Craig Turner

Relevant species
104. Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons) CR

[Relevance description]
426. Hazel's forest frog (Platymantis hazelae) EN

[Relevance description]
2535. Fischer's Pygmy Fruit Bat (Haplonycteris fischeri) LC

[Relevance description]
The Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition (NIBE) aimed to undertake the first biological exploration of the interior of the North Negros Natural Park, a unique area not previously scientifically explored.
The moist forests of the Philippines, including the NNNP, are the eighth most vulnerable forest ecoregion in the world. The NNNP is the largest remaining area of wet evergreen rainforest on Negros and in the central Philippines. It is of clear importance to the survival of many critically endangered and endemic bird species found only within the Negros-Panay Faunal region, the most threatened of the Philippines’ 5 faunal regions.

The Philippines currently has the highest proportion of restricted range and threatened bird species worldwide. Some 80% of bird species are forest dependent and nearly half of the endemic bird species are threatened by deforestation. Negros supports more than 190 species of avifauna of which approximately 100 are thought to be forest dependent. Many species are endangered and endemic with a staggering 59 species found on Negros endemic to the Philippines and 9 are further restricted to the Negros-Panay faunal region.

Whilst biodiversity assessment work has been completed on the edges of the NNNP by Coral Cay Conservation (including project team members), and others, no work has yet been completed in the interior of the park.
Project summary
The Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition (NIBE) undertook the first biological exploration of the interior of the North Negros Natural Park (NNNP), a unique area not previously scientifically explored.

The NNNP is a biodiversity hotspot of great importance, with it's rare and endemic species under threat from illegal logging, hunting, pet trade collection and unauthorised land use.

Rated by some as part of the top ten most vulnerable forest ecosystems globally, it is home to a multitude of rare and endemic species, whilst also playing a vital role in watershed protection for surrounding communities.

The heart of the park, known as the 'Interior' has never been scientifically explored due to the difficulty of the terrain. In April 2009, a joint team of Filipino and British specialists attempted and completed a 'world first', spending three weeks gaining access to the interior to conduct the first rapid biodiversity assessment.

Wider Context
The NIBE project aims to build on the work completed by other groups, such as the Philippine Endemic Species Conservation Project and the Negros Rainforest Conservation Project, by extending biodiversity research work to the interior of the NNNP.

It is thus aiming to contribute to ongoing conservation work of the Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation (Inc), and other stakeholders in supporting the Northern Negros Forest Reserve Management Council.
The expedition objectives were:

1. To undertake the first biological exploration of the interior of the NNNP, an area not surveyed to date.

2. To provide vital data and information to further aid the management and conservation of the unique area.

3. To raise the profile of the NNNP, it's threats and grass roots environmental initiatives to protect it.

4. To undertake an innovative approach to education and awareness of tropical forests and their threats.

NIBE has provided new information on the presence and range of the Visayan Warty Pig (Sus cebifrons) and the Visayan Spotted Deer (Cervus Alfredi). All data and information are being provided to NFEFI, and the NNNP Management Council.

NIBE has been working hard to raise the profile of the NNNP and the conservation challenges, with multiple press articles in national papers in the Philippines and website coverage globally, e.g. http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8061000/8061899.stm The NIBE team are currently producing a documentary film on the project and are developing education resources.

Fischers Pygmy Fruit bat
This species was recorded at all survey points by both NIBE and Tamblyn et al. (2003). It has thus been recorded in all forest habitat types (from secondary to mossy forest) within the North Negros Natural Park, and is thus locally common and widespread.

Hazel's forest frog
Hazel’s forest frog (Platymantis hazelae) is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List (IUCN 2009), because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 5,000 km2, and it endemic to a restricted area of the Philippines. Its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat on Negros. This species occurs at high elevations (600-1,700m) on the mountains of Negros and possibly Masbate Islands, in the Philippines. It is common at high elevations in moist upper elevation rainforests, but it is rare or absent in disturbed habitats (IUCN 2009), and this is corroborated by the findings of NIBE.

It is known from Mount Kanlaon National Park (IUCN 2009), and other locations in Negros (Brown et al., 1997, Alcala & Brown 1999), but there appears to be no published account for its occurrence in the NNNP. The IUCN (2009) stressed there is a need for the designation of remaining rainforests of southern Negros and Masbate as protected areas, and we would argue this should also be applied to the NNNP.

IUCN (2009) 2009 Red List of Threatened Species. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.

Brown, W.C., Brown, R.M. & Alcala, A.C. (1997) Species of the Hazelae groups of Platymantis (Amphibia: Ranidae) from the Philippines, with descriptions of two new species. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 49(11), 405-421.

Alcala, A.C. & Brown, W.C. (1999) Philippine frogs of the genus Platymantis (Amphibia: Ranidae). Philippines Journal of Science, 128, 281-287.

Tamblyn, A., Turner, C.S., Dray, R. & Raines, P.S. (2003) The bats (Mammalia, Chiroptera) of the Upper Imbang-Caliban Watershed, North Negros Forest Reserve, Negros Occidental, Philippines. Silliman Journal, 44(2), 100-116.
Start date: April 4th 2009
Duration: 3 weeks (in the field)
Project members
Dr Craig Turner : Research Leader

Craig recently co-led the Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition in the Philippines

[Member role description]
Other key species
Visayan Spotted Deer (Cervus alfredi)
Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat (Nyctimene rabori)

Negros Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba keayi) - Critically Endangered
Negros Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus arcanus) - Critically Endangered
Visayan Hornbill (Penelopides panini) – Endangered
Negros Striped-babbler (Stachyris nigrorum) - Endangered
Flame-templed Babbler (Dasycrotapha speciosa) - Endangered
White-throated Jungle-flycatcher (Rhinomyias albigularis) - Endangered
Project partners
Additional Team Members
James Sawyer - Expedition Leader
Dr. Craig Turner - Research Leader
Richard Hanmer - Deputy Expedition Leader
James Benares - Head Mountain Leader
Wing-Yunn Crawley - Science Officer
Dr. Vernie Sagun - Botanist
Dr. Rachel Hadden - Expedition Doctor
Jumar Utram - Mountain Leader
Emerson Trinidad - Mountain Leader
Rey Jo A. Bermudez - Mountain Leader
Eleanor Ashton - Educator
Tara Watney - Filmmaker

Partner Organisations
Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation Inc (www.negrosforests.org)
Zoological Society of London
Royal Geographical Society
Coral Cay Conservation
Sony Europe
Lyon Equipment UK
Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition (NIBE) website: www.rainforestexpedition.org

Negros Forests & Ecological Foundation, Inc (NFEFI) website: www.negrosforests.org
[Title:] Organisation Logo
[Image caption]
Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition
[Title:] Visayan Warty Pig
[Image caption]
Sus cebifrons
Associated Blog Posts
29th Jun 12
In the previous blog, the NIBE team had set up their camera traps in areas of known mammal activity in the North Negros National Park in the Philippines, ana...  Read

5th May 12
The Negros Interior Biodiversity Expedition (NIBE) 2012 saw a team of biodiversity scientists explore the interior of the North Negros Natural Park on Negros...  Read

[Title:] Hazel's Forest Frog
[Image caption]
Platymantis hazelae
[Title:] Fischer's Pygmy Fruit Bat
[Image caption]
Haplonycteris fischeri
[Title:] Visayan Tarictic Hornbill
[Image caption]
Penelopides panini
[Title:] Activities
[Image caption]
Botanist at work
[Title:] Location
[Image caption]
The Negros Natural Park
[Title:] Activities
[Image caption]
Bat survey
[Title:] Activities
[Image caption]
Fieldworker surveying
[Title:] Hazel's Forest Frog
[Image caption]
Platymantis hazelae
[Title:] Visayan Spotted Deer
[Image caption]
Cervus alfredi
[Title:] Project Co-Leader
[Image caption]
Dr Craig Turner
[Title:] Habitat
[Image caption]
Sulphur vent
[Title:] Expedition Location
[Image caption]
The Negros Natural Park