CI's work in the Philippines takes it to some of the world's richest environments. With more than 20,000 endemic species of plants and animals, the Philippines is identified as one of the world's 17 "mega-diverse" countries, as has also been cited as the world's "center of the center of marine shorefish biodiversity" (Carpenter and Springer, 2005). At the apex of the Coral Triangle, the Philippines' marine resources are among the richest in the world, while its terrestrial environments host five major and at least five minor centers of endemism.
These areas are among the world's most important marine and terrestrial ecosystems — the remaining strongholds of globally important biodiversity in a country whose natural resources are facing pressures brought about by weak land-use planning, industrialization and unsustainable or destructive resource use practices. These are forests that ensure the flow of water to rivers that irrigate farmlands, trees that sequester carbon from the atmosphere, seas that provide food to millions, and coastal areas that generate livelihoods.
Supported by almost two decades of scientific research and field experiences in the country, CI has focused its efforts in the Sierra Madre, Palawan and Eastern Mindanao Biodiversity Corridors, and the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape.
CI helps to ensure the integrity of ecological processes in these areas by working to create protected areas or networks of protected areas and ensuring that the most effective governance or management systems are in place.
In all these areas, CI is working to empower communities so they can protect their own natural resources. Through mechanisms like conservation agreements and training on sea/forest guard patrolling and management planning, local stakeholders are awakening to their role as environmental stewards. To ensure sustainability of efforts, various financial mechanisms and income diversification approaches are also being explored.
CI is committed to helping societies adopt a more sustainable approach to development by helping reverse the unprecedented degradation of Earth's natural resources. CI accomplishes this with our partners in landscape and seascape corridors to demonstrate that protecting nature and its gifts — a stable climate, fresh water, healthy oceans and reliable food — will ensure a better life for all Filipinos.