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Plant Diversity in the Philippines

There are around twenty-five genera of plants prevalent among Philippine soil.

These include four genera of the Rubiaceae family, three consist of the Asclepiadeae and

Orchidaceae family, two from the Melastomataceae, Loranthaceae, Zingiberaceae, and

Sapindaceae family, and one from the Compositae, Euphorbiaceae, Leguminosae,

Rutaceae, and Urticeae family. Two common fern genera were also identified.

The Orchidaceae, Rubiaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Myrtaceae, and Moraceae are

among the widespread flowering plant families present in the Philippines. Of lesser

number are the Graminae, Liliaceae, Ulmaceae, Leguminoseae, and Rutaceae families


Factors Affecting Plant Development

Plant development may be defined as an orderly and progressive change from

seed germination through juvenility, maturity, flowering and fruiting. The presence of

environmental factors may affect developmental times or hinder some stages altogether

(Janick, 1979).

Plants are said to respond to light wavelengths ranging from 300 to 800 nm.

Light also affects plant morphology. Sun plants have thicker leaves, due to extra

layers of palisade parenchyma, shorter petioles and smaller leaf area, when compared

to shade plants (Noggle & Fritz, 1983). Light intensity, which refers to the

concentration of light waves striking the leaf surface (Janick, 1979), may also affect

plant development. The rate of photosynthesis increases with increasing light

intensity. Thus, light intensity is lower in cloudy or humid areas (Hartman, Flocker

and Kofranck, 1981). Chlorophyll, a pigment present in plants, is responsible for the

absorption of light energy, which is necessary for photosynthetic processes to take

place (Janick, 1979).


The temperature that is most suitable for plant growth usually ranges from 40

to 97 degrees F or 4.5 to 36 degrees C (Janick, 1979). At high leaf temperatures,

metabolic processes decrease and moisture stress results due to increased

transpirational losses. This then leads to stomatal closure, reducing the Carbon

Dioxide supply to chloroplasts and decreasing the rate of photosynthesis. High

temperatures also increase respiration rates.


Water is essential for the development of plants. It is one of the raw materials

for photosynthesis required for the production of new compounds (Hartman, Flocker

and Kofranck, 1981). Water pressure provides support in soft tissues of plants. A

growing plant absorbs water from the soil and gives it off during transpiration,

cooling the plant. A net loss of water will cause growth to stop and continued

deficiency results in death (Janick, 1979). Moisture stress is generally detrimental to

plant growth reducing both yield and quality of the crop. The degree and duration of

the stress will determine how severely growth is reduced, however, growth rate may

return to the level it was before the stress (Mastalerz, 1977, p.629). Transpiration is a

cause of moisture stress if moisture is not readily available to the roots. When

moisture stress increases, the stomata close and thus, photosynthesis is reduced. Poor

water quality, due to contamination from organic and inorganic substances, may also

cause stunting in plant growth (Jones, 1983).


Soil, a natural product of unconsolidated material and organic matter on the

earth’s surface, is the medium in which plants grow. It is not only a habitat of animal

life, but also the anchoring medium for plants and their source of water and nutrients.

Soil texture is important in water movement and retention in soil. Soil particles,

particularly the clay-humus complex, are important to nutrient availability and the

cation exchange capacity of the soil – the number of negatively charged ions. Percent

base saturation is the percentage of sites occupied by ions other than hydrogen. Soils

with a high cation exchange capacity are potentially fertile (Smith & Smith, 2000).

Ecological Causes of Biodiversity Loss

A study on mangroves in Pakistan, conducted by a group of Pakistani biologists,

investigated the root causes of biodiversity loss in mangrove ecosystems. The mangrove

forests were used as the primary indicator of ecosystem health and the fish resources as

the secondary indicator. Through the analysis, links have been established among factors

at the local, national, and international levels to unveil the pattern in which various causes

affect the ecosystem. The conceptual methods prepared for this purpose were developed

with the help of a detailed household survey of coastal communities and intertemporal

images of mangrove forests using Landsat digital techniques. The analysis and

comparative framework led to the development of policy recommendations and provided

a research agenda for future work related to biodiversity loss in the mangrove ecosystem


The survival of the probable species of plants is known to depend greatly on the

Eco-park’s environmental conditions. Researched facts stating the required conditions

suitable for plant growth aided the researchers in determining whether the park was

indeed an appropriate area to support diverse plant life. The study mentioned above also

emphasized the importance of the factors that led to the loss of biodiversity in an



Environmental Conditions
Air Plant Diversity


Biological Community

Commercial Fertilizers

The dependent variable of the study was plant diversity. Its independent variables were

the environmental conditions, which included those of air, soil and water. A number of

intervening variables were also observed. These variables included the weather

conditions, biological community present in the area, and commercial fertilizers were

applied to the soil.

Definition of Terms

The following are important terms defined for better understanding of the study:


This term refers to the preparation of land or growing, planting, and

harvesting of crops or plants, or nurturing land for this purpose. (Encarta

Dictionary, 2005). In this study, cultivation involved the process in which

soil is developed for growing plants.


It is a place for the conservation of different ecosystems (Encarta

Dictionary, 2005). In this study, the Eco-park is referred to as the selected


Line Intercept Method

This term denotes a transect method wherein data are tabulated on the

basis of plants lying on a straight line cutting across the community under

study (Demunk, 1996). In this study, it was the method used to count and

record the plants that were intercepted by the line, so that the diversity of

the plant species in the Eco-park could be determined.


It refers to both physical and chemical characteristics (Encarta Dictionary,

2005). In this study, these were the factors or conditions that affected the

growth of plants in the Eco-park such as air temperature and humidity, soil

temperature, and pH.

Plant Diversity

It refers to the abundance of different plant species in a given location or

also known as species richness (Encarta Dictionary, 2005). In this

research, it was viewed as the quantity and kinds of plants found in the

USLS Eco-park.


It is the process of selecting a small part, number or quantity of something

to be used as a representative (Encarta Dictionary, 2005). For this study,

sampling was the method applied to select line transects so that the cover

of plants within the Eco-park would be measured.

Soil Analysis

It is the preparation of something into its constituents in order to find out

what it contains; to examine individual parts, or to study the structure of a

whole (Encarta Dictionary, 2005). For this research, soil analysis was used

to determine the chemical composition of soil.

Taxonomic Key

It is a model showing the classifications of plants, animals and

microorganisms into increasingly broader categories based on shared

features (Encarta Dictionary, 2005). In this study, the taxonomic key was

used as a reference material to classify the plants found in the selected


Sling Psychrometer

It is a simple hygrometer which consists of two thermometers mounted

together with the handle attached on a chain. One thermometer is a regular

thermometer, while the other has a cloth wick over its bulb

(www.clark.nasa.com/SCOOL/psychrometer.html). This study utilized the

sling psychrometer to measure air humidity within the Eco-park.


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