Habitat Restoration

Community-based habitat restoarion on Siargao
Sample of regurgitated seeds found under hornbill nest

Palawan Hornbills, and particularly Philippine Cockatoos rely on lowland forests as habitats, particularly coastal forests. This forest type is the most threatened in the Philippines and Palawan, since most of human activities takes place in the coastal plains, where this kind of vegetation could be found.

Katala Foundation systematically restores degraded habitat through planting of mosly native trees, with focus on such that provide food or nesting opportunities for parrots, hornbills and other cavity nesters. Each project site supports at least one tree nursery. Research on the foraging and breeding behavior of the bird species provides the information needed for the selection of trees suitable for restoration.

Several thousand of Horseradish Trees have been planted to support the cockatoo population near Rasa Island. These activities not only support this species, but also provide the local population with a source of food and nutrition. Taluto Pterocymbium tinctorium is not only a food-providing plant for cockatoos, but also possibly a source of medicine for the birds, due to secondary components in the tree sap. Cockatoos travel long distance to feed on the bark or on the sap of these trees, and Taluto therefore is an important species for cockatoo habitat restoration. Figs and palms on the other hand are keystone food plants for hornbills and other large fruit-eating birds, and are likewise important components of habitat restoration schemes.

Cockatoo feeding on seeds of Moringa
Enrichment-planted Areca palms are food sources for hornbills

In rare instances Katala Foundation also purchases parcels of land, if these are privately owned of outstanding conservation importance, as in the case of one residual stand of globally threatened Apitong Dipterocarpus grandiflorus. After planting and successful restoration, the challenge remains to protect these areas from illegal activities, particularly timber poaching.