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About this book
About this book
The 7,107 islands of the Philippines archipelago represent a wide range of habitats from tidal sand bars to mighty mountain ranges; from coral reefs through rainforests to summit grasslands. The country's isolation from mainland Asia also gives it a high number of endemic plant and animal species. Nigel Hicks' stunning photographs and vivid text explores each of the natural environments and habitats. He describes and illustrates species of the open seas, of the coral reefs and sandy shallows, and of the many different types of forests including the 37 species of mangrove tree found in the Philippines. He gives an overview of the protected areas that safeguard a cross-section of these vital environments and discusses the conservation issues past and present. Wild Philippines provides an authoritative and entertaining study of the wide spectrum of wildlife on the land and in the seas of this diverse country
Customer Reviews (1)
Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne
12 Feb 2021
Written for Paperback
This is a fabulous book with stunning images and accessible writing that will give the Philippines the recognition it deserves as one of the world’s most species-rich countries for biodiversity. To quote the author’s opening words in the introduction, ‘The spectacular jumble of Southeast Asian islands that we call the Philippines collectively makes up one of the most remarkable places on Earth’. I wish I had this book when I first travelled in the Philippines as a student backpacker. Although I had information on how to get to places and where to stay, there was very little information on the natural history. Over the last few decades as a member of the Oriental Bird Club, from the steady stream of papers on the Philippines in its bulletin and journal, I became increasingly aware of how rich the Philippines are for birds with a staggering amount of endemics to boot. But with so many islands, what was needed was a book that could pull everything together into a coherent strand. When I heard that Nigel Hicks was working on this book, I invited him to be a speaker on the London Bird Club’s talks programme. It was an excellent talk and the book does not disappoint either.
The book brings together an astonishing array of facts and figures. The Philippines holds eighty per cent of the world’s 600 coral species, there are 3,000 species of fish in its waters, fifteen of the 25 fruit bats are endemic, a third of the 600 species of birds are endemic, eighty-five per cent of the 90 species of amphibians and two-thirds of the 250 species of reptiles are endemic, around 350 of the 900 species of butterflies are endemic, over 900 of the 1,100 orchids are endemic, two-thirds of the 150 species of palms are endemic; there are over a 100 species of the palm-like Pandans. It is a centre of biodiversity for the famous and enigmatic Rafflesias with 13 species including the one with the second largest flower, and so the list goes on. The Philippines with only one wild cat, the small Asian Leopard Cat may have been overshadowed by its mainland Asian neighbours with large showy animals like tigers, leopards, clouded leopards and bears. But as this book shows, for a serious naturalist a thousand lives may not be enough to get your head around all of the marine and terrestrial wildlife it holds.
The Wild Series by John Beaufoy Publishing is best described as a combination of serious but accessible natural history content with a coffee-table design. The books typically of 208 pages in length are written by knowledgeable all-round naturalists with extensive field experience. The text is complemented by beautiful photographs and design. They provide a good overview of the natural history of a country and contain practical information which is useful at the trip planning stages. For wildlife enthusiasts, they complement the established practical travel guides by the likes of Bradt, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. For somebody who is a resident of a country or on an organised trip, they are useful for providing context and inspiration. They are large-format books, 210 mm by 260 mm, not designed to be carried in a day pack, but of a size and shape where one may be tempted to take on a trip for evening reading.
Each author brings their own style and detailed structure to the book. But there are many common ingredients. This book is divided into five chapters which are preceded by a double page of useful maps. An introductory chapter is followed by a chapter on conservation. The third and fourth chapters concentrate on the more popular groups of plants and animals that wildlife tourists focus on. The different types of habitat from beach forests to lowland and montane rainforests are described. The underwater world is especially well covered. The final chapter (pages 138 to 201) provides useful information on the important national parks and reserves including diving and snorkelling sites. The generous length is appropriate as there are some fabulous reserves which are not as well-known as they deserve to be. The end sections provide details of useful books, online documents and a list of conservation organisations. This book will make you see the Philippines in a different light and view it as a multi-trip destination.
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Nigel Hicks has lived for many years in Southeast Asia and is a frequent visitor to the Philippines. Now working as a freelance writer and photographer, his work has appeared in numerous magazines and publications around the world, and he has written and photographed a number of books about the country, including Enchanting Philippines, Presenting the Philippines, The Philippines, The Most Beautiful Places and Journey Through the Philippines. He has recently been awarded a Fellowship by the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP).