𝐍𝐄𝐖 𝐒𝐏𝐄𝐂𝐈𝐄𝐒 𝐎𝐅 𝐎𝐑𝐂𝐇𝐈𝐃 𝐃𝐈𝐒𝐂𝐎𝐕𝐄𝐑𝐄𝐃 𝐈𝐍 𝐀𝐋𝐋𝐀𝐇 𝐕𝐀𝐋𝐋𝐄𝐘 𝐏𝐑𝐎𝐓𝐄𝐂𝐓𝐄𝐃 𝐋𝐀𝐍𝐃𝐒𝐂𝐀𝐏𝐄
KORONADAL CITY, November 23, 2023 — In a significant stride for biodiversity research, the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office-South Cotabato, led by Biologist Aljohn Jay L. Saavedra and former biologist Kier Mitchel E. Pitogo, has unveiled the discovery and description of a new orchid species—𝘗𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘢 𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘢. The breakthrough occurred in the mossy forest, situated at an elevation above 1500 meters within the Mt. Busa Key Biodiversity Area.
Standing at 50 cm, the 𝘗𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘢 𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘢 stands out with its distinctively bell-shaped or campanulate, crystal-white flowers. The initial sighting took place during the Biodiversity Monitoring System (BMS) conducted in the Allah Valley Protected Landscape (AVPL) back in 2021.
It is the first orchid species described from the Mt Busa Key Biodiversity Area, highlighting the importance of continued field biodiversity surveys in the biologically underexplored forests of southern Mindanao. Preliminary classification by the authors designates the new species as "Near Threatened," aligning with the criteria established by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), given the limited empirical field data available.
According to the BMS report, the AVPL hosts a rich tapestry of approximately 185 orchid species, with 𝘗𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘢 𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘢 adding to the diverse flora. This discovery bolsters the ongoing process to include the AVPL as a full component of the National Integrated Protected Areas System pursuant to Republic Act No. 11038.
It can be remembered that on 9 August 2023, House Bill No. 5291 or the Allah Valley Protected Landscape Act of 2021 passed the first reading in the House of Representatives. This legislative effort underscores the urgency of safeguarding the newly discovered orchid species and the entire ecosystem of the AVPL. (Credits: PAMO-AVPL and PENRO SC IO Mobin Edsil) | 𝐑𝐒𝐂𝐈𝐆𝐏
The study can be accessed at https://phytotaxa.mapress.com/.../view/phytotaxa.626.2.2