Inventory Of Diverse Habitats
Prescillano M. Zamora, Ph.D.
The 701-hectare development area and the 10-kilometer radial influence area of the PNOC Geothermal Project Site at Mount Apo Natural Park are made up of two types of ecosystems: natural ecosystem and man-made ecosystem. The natural ecosystem consists of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and their sub-types, while the human ecosystem consists of settled areas, cultivated areas and open grassland areas as shown in Figure 2.
These two major ecosystems are distinguished by their origin and their respective constituents. The natural ecosystem is composed of wild, naturally grown trees, shrubs, vines and herbs, while the man-made ecosystem has more of the cultivated life forms. These include such common crops as cabbage, carrots, onions, beans, and other vegetables introduced by occupants in the area (Figure 3).
Natural Terrestrial Ecosystem
Of the natural terrestrial ecosystems, the lowland tropical rainforest type does not occur in the 701-hectare development area. However, there are reports of the presence of biodiversity-rich lowland tropical rainforest ecosystems at an altitude of 1,400 meters above sea level, near the Davao-Bukidnon boundary (Weidelt and Banaag, 1982).
Summit Scrub Formation
Mount Apo’s ecosystem diversity may be described as a giant Christmas tree with graduated segments. The summit formation corresponds to the 2,500 to 2,954-meter level. A considerable portion of this summit formation is devoid of any vegetation, except for isolated patches of lichens, mosses, sedges, grasses and thicket-forming trees.
In areas sheltered from wind by boulders, or in shallow depressions between boulders, meter-high gnarled scrub formations can be found. These are dwarf suffrutescent species represented by Myrica javanica (Myricaceae), Leptospermum flavescens (Myrtaceae) and Styphelia suaveolens (Epacridaceae).
High Montane (Mossy) Forest
Below the summit, high montane forest can be found at 2,200 to 2,500 meters. It is dominated by species of Lithocarpus (dicot, Fagaceae) and Dacrycarpus cumingii (conifer, Podocarpaceae).