The Higaonon Forest
rainforest is 500,000 Hectares (1million acres),covering 5 provinces
(Lanao del Norte, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte and
Agusan del Sur) and home to a number of endangered
species, including the largest eagle in the world, the Monkey-Eating
Since 1954 multinational companies and illegal loggers have logged
the forest until now only 500,000 Hectares of virgin rain forest
remain --- a quarter of its original size.
Specifically, the forest is a CRITICAL
WATERSHED area for most of Mindanao, including the provinces
mentioned above.. Without this forest there would be further widespread
environmental degradation, threatening the existence and the livelihood
of the people.
As do rainforests around the planet, it works like a huge sponge,
soaking up the water and slowly distributing it down the mountains,
thereby stopping erosion.
The forest is the home to 350,000 Higaonon people. It is their:
Forest fruits and vegetables, and wild animals like boar, deer,monkeys,
fishesand frogs are the traditional natural diet of the tribe.
They have always been a Hunting people. Now with the diminishing
forest, they are being forced to change from a semi-nomadic lifestyle
to farming crops like corn,sweet potatoes, and cassava.
Medicines are plentiful in the forest --- the natural ways of
healing have been handed down for hundreds of generations. As
the forest diminishes, these natural medicines are becoming scarce
and more difficult to obtain.
As a Higaonon sacred sanctuary (their church), this rainforest
has been kept under the tribe's stewardship for centuries. The
tribe believes their great great ancestor spirits live in the
mother trees, watching over the land, so it can be used for all
Species of the Mindanao
Rainforests are home to 50% and 90% of all species on earth. Presently
40 species are perishing per day. The Higanon Rainforest is suffering
the same fate.
The White Deer, the Red Monkey and the Philippine Eagle are very
sacred to the Higaonon and are all in grave danger of extinction.
Philippine Eagle (Monkey Eating Eagle)
The Largest Eagle in the World, the Monkey Eating Eagle, also called
the Philippine Eagle, can be found in the forest. The threat of
its extinction is inevitable if the forest continues to be logged.
Only 36 remain in this forest according to government statistics
and is listed on the
Red List of Threatened Species published by the IUCN,
with more detailed information on Birdlife
Eagle Foundation (PEF), based in Mindanao, works to conserve
the Philippine Eagle and its environment by employing an holistic
action-oriented approach to conservation, including research, education
and captive breeding.
The White Deer and the Red Monkey are also facing imminent extinction.