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Vegetation Analysis of Sanctuary and Forest Areas of Kalahan Forest Reserve Nueva Vizcaya and Pangasinan, Philippines

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Many areas in the country are rich in biodiversity but are not assessed as they are not part of the identified protected areas of the country. One of which is the Kalahan Forest Reserve (KFR) managed by the Ikalahans, a cultural minority group that practices sustainable agroforestry systems. The study used a modified quadrat sampling method (QSM) where a total of eight 1-km transect with 20-m width were established to assess the biodiversity of the area. The sampling was undertaken in three layers: overstorey (10 plots each measuring 10 m x 10 m, spaced 100 m away from each other in each 1-km transect), intermediate (3 m x 3 m inside the 10 m x 10 m plot), and understorey (1 m x 1 m inside the 3 m x 3 m plot). Results of the study show that Benguet pine (Pinus insularis Endl) and brown oak (Quercus semecarpifolia Sm.) have high importance values of 49.07 and 45.80, respectively. Moreover, the results of the study indicate that KFR has very high biological diversity as manifested by the value of Shannon-Weiner (3.50) and the Shannon diversity index scale of Fernando. In terms of the presence of endemic species, KFR is home to 50 endemic species or has 45% endemism. Based on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and DAO 2017-11 KFR has three threatened, two endangered, and three vulnerable species. Considering these results, KFR is worthy to be protected to conserve and enhance its biodiversity.

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