Tawitawi Brown Dove
This recently recognized species
qualifies as Critical. It is predicted to undergo an extremely rapid
population reduction in the immediate future based on a decline in the
extent and quality of the remaining tiny fragments of forest within its
very small range.
In 1994, remaining primary forest on
Tawitawi was being rapidly cleared, and the remaining areas of forest
were highly degraded and recently logged. In 1996, there were plans to
replace even these with oil-palm plantations. Logging of the few
remaining tracts, now confined to rugged, mountainous areas, is likely
to be followed by uncontrolled settlement and conversion to agriculture.
Only very small areas of heavily degraded low-stature forest remain on
Sanga-sanga. Hunting and trapping are no longer considered threats, but
may have caused a substantial decline during martial law in the 1970s.
Military activity and insurgency
continue to present a serious obstacle to general conservation activity
in the Sulus. There are no protected areas in the archipelago. However,
the species occurs in a 3 km2 tract of forest at
Tarawakan which receives some protection from an agricultural college. A
project proposal exists to provide conservation funding for the Tawitawi/Sulu
Coastal Area. In 1997, a public awareness campaign focusing on the
conservation of terrestrial biodiversity on Tawitawi was initiated.
*Conduct an intensive survey in remaining forests to identify further
key sites. *Determine its ecological requirements, particularly
tolerance of degraded habitats. *Urgently protect remaining forest
around Buan and Tarawakan on Tawitawi, and any further sites found to
support the species. *Incorporate protective measures relevant to the
species within conservation funding proposals for the Tawitawi/Sulu
Coastal Area, as and where appropriate. *Continue and expand
environmental awareness programmes in the Sulu archipelago.
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