Coral Reef Ecosystem
Whereas forests are a distinctive feature of the Philippines’s terrestrial biodiversity, coral reefs give the country a likewise sterling reputation when it comes to aquatic ecosystems. Owning 5% of the world’s total 617,000 sq km of coral reefs, the Philippines is part of the world’s “Coral Triangle,” joining Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste as countries that bear the most extensive coral reef ecosystems in the world. In fact, Verde island in Batangas has been noted to be “the center of the center” of marine biodiversity in the world.
Coral reefs are comprised of massive deposits of calcium carbonate that take centuries to produce and develop. Because of such a long process, coral reefs are very delicate ecosystems and are due extensive protective measures. A recent example of damage occurred at the Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea in January 2013, where approximately 1,000 square meters of coral reef was damaged.