Grasslands - The grasslands are characterized by the dominance of Cogon grass Imperata cylindrica and Saccharum spontaneum. Other grasses and ferns also thrive, especially along banks of creeks, streams, and rivers and on steep slopes
Lowland forest or lowland evergreen - Elevation ranges up to 1,200 masl covered by multistrata rainforest with closed canopy ranging from 10-20 meters high. Dominated by Dipterocarps such as lauan, apitong and guijo, Syzygium sp.like malaruhat, lumboy-lumboy, ulayan (Lithoc.arpus), kalingag (Cinnamomum) and lesser important ones like Arthocarps, Canarium, Aglalia etc. Dominant epipytes include ferns orchids waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana) now endangered, rattan and others. Portion of the park is covered by secondary forest and open cultivated and denuded areas. Representative sites of this type of habitat were conducted at Baracatan, Toril Davao City and the MKWD reservation at Perez, Kidapawan city. These are the only remaining known intact habitat of this type in Mt. Apo Natural Park.
Montane or Low Montane - Ranges from 1,200 masl, the vegetative growth becomes lower in stature and is dominated by lauag-lauigan (Syzygium), banyas (Dacrycarpus) and species of igem (Podocarpus) and ulayan tindog (Lithocarpus). With increasing altitude, angiosperms, tree ferns, Pandanus and rattan become abundant. Dominant species are the endemic almaciga (Agathis philippinensis) (vulnerable PASA list), almon (Shorea almon), Terrstonia sp., ulayan (Lithocarpus sp).,igem (Dacrycarpus sp.) and tinikiran (Leptospernum sp.).
Mossy Forest or High Montane - Elevation range from 1800 masl up to about 2,600 masl characterized by high density and high diversity of mosses, hepatics, and liverwort and epiphytes. At elevations higher than 2400 masl, the trees take a stunted appearance and the vegetation is more open, "Elfin Woodland". High elevation grassland is also found in this area.
Summit or Scrub - Elevation greater than 2,700 masl on steep walls of fumaroles includes sedges, Cyperaceae and fern, Gleichemia decarpa, Ericaceae such species of Rhododendron and Vaccicium. Highest recorded elevation taken at the summit was 2,930 masl, however resource inventory reading on three different occasions had the highest GPS reading of 3,300 masl. Mt. Apo Peak is the largest in area if not the only habitat of this type in the Philippines. However, the uncontrolled trekking activities of tourist pose a danger and may lead to the destruction of this habitat.
Lakes - There are four major lakes in Mt. Apo. Popular of these are Lake Agco, used to be called "The Blue Lake" and Lake Venado, a famous mountaineers camping site and a stopover towards the peak. Lake Macadac and Lake Jordan are found in the summit grassland.
Rivers - Mt. Apo has 19 major rivers and 21 creeks draining its 8 major watersheds (PASAlist.1992). Out of the 19 major rivers, only two has studies as reported by SEA-BMB consultants for the Mt. Apo Geothermal Project Environmental Impact Assessment 1991. According to the report, there are two river ecosystems draining the geothermal site namely: (1) Marbel-Matingao river ecosystem- characterized by narrower river channels at highly elevated areas, much faster water flow, clearer water and rock boulder-rich water beds. The aquatic organisms in the area have expectedly lower biological productivity and species diversity. The report also concluded that this river ecosystem provides much less economic and commercial value for its biological production. The study identified 12 species of fish caught in the area; (2) Kabacan- Pulangi river ecosystem- characterized by a much wider channels at flat areas, relatively much slower water flow, highly turbid waters and sandy mud river beds.
Flora - Eight hundred (800) estimated vascular and non vascular plant species, among Mt. Apo's endemics collected between 300 masl and 1000 masl are members of the genera Pipturus, Sauravia and Poikilospermum. Humalanthus populneus, Elephantopus spicatus, Piper apoanum and Vanda sanderiana maybe extinct in the wild (Madulid and Agoo. 1991). Endemic at the mid altitudes include Agathis philippensis, Lithocarpus submonticolus (endangered), and Peperonia elmeri (endangered). Upper montane endemics are Cypholopus microphyllus and Nepenthus copelandi. Actual resource inventory collected data on five representative habitats. A total of 126 floral species was recorded, 50 are considered endemic to Mt. Apo or the Mindanao Faunal Region. These are almaciga, almon, waling-waling,igem, kalantas,. mindanao kalingag, apo bubonan (Aglaia apoena) and other species; 18 species are considered to be at risk (e.g. waling-waling, kalantas including a rattan species (Plectocomia elmerii), puhutan (Mangifera altissima), Shorea sp. like almon, mayapis, malaanonang, narig, guijo; 37 species are considered to have economic, cultural and medicinal importance. Most species are used for construction either light or heavy, these include Shorea sp. like lauaan, guijo, apitong, and Bambusa sp. like buho and bagakay; as fibers like wild abaka (Musa sp.), for baskets and containers (rattan and pandan), food for wildlife like balite (Ficus sp.), kalingag (Cinnamommum mercadoii and mindanensis), ulayan (Lithocarpus sp.) etc; and other medicinal plants like wild betel nut (Areco caliso), saging bundok (Musa balbasiana), kalingag, hagimit (Ficus sp.), hamindang (Macaranga bicolor).
Fauna - According to previous studies conducted, there are 272 species of birds, 40% of these or 111 are endemic to Mt. Apo. Of all species recorded, 2 are in the critical list: Philippine Eagle (Pthecophaga jefferyi) and abukay (Cacatua heamatopygia); 10 are endangered species among these are: Mindanao scoops owl (Otus mirus), lesser eagle owl (Bobu philippensis), Mindanao lorikeet (Tricoglosus johnstoniae), whritted hornbill (Aceros leucocephalus); 20 vulnerable and 20 are near threatened. 96 species were identified to have both cultural and economic importance to nearby communities or communities within MANP. Most recorded uses of bird species based on focused group discussions with some community members are for food, seed dispersal and omens observed by the cultural communities (doves and pigeons).
Mammalian diversity has a total of 53 species, 49% are endemic: tudaya giant rat (Bollimus bagobos), wild pig (Sus phillippinensis, tarsier (Tarsius syricta), (Acerodon jubatus); 3 are listed as threatened: tree shrew (Urogale Everetti), Acerodon jubatus, and Phil. Brown deer (Cervus marianus); and 26 were found out to have economic and cultural values. Most are utilized for food as protein source, extracts from hoofs and toes are common remedy for stomachache, omens observed during rituals and farming practices and the dispersal of seeds as important ecological values.
There are at least 53 species of Herpetofauna recorded. This include17 species of amphibians and 36 species of reptile; 10 (36%) are restricted to the Mindanao faunal region: bak-bac (Rana magna), lokwak-manobo (Ansonia mcgregorii), “tok-tok”manobo (Kalaula picta), cobra (Naja samarensis) In general, population and conservation status are poorly known and studied; 3 are on the critical list: ibid (Hydrosaurus pustulatus), halo and turtle (Cuora ambionensis) turtle. A total of 24 species are known to be with local and cultural use. Most are for food, bait for fish, asthma and other respiratory remedies, bad omen eg. halo (Varanus salvatoro) and as a very important indicator of habitat condition.