A biodiversity resource assessment conducted in the Southern Leyte Province in the Philippines in November 2011 led to the discovery of at least two new frog species. The assessment was launched under a project funded by the German Environment Ministry\'s International Climate Initiative (ICI) and a project by UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The newly discovered forest-dwelling frog species were presented in a ceremony in Manila on 17 April, 2012. They belong to the Platymantis genus but have not yet been officially named. Philippine and US scientist are currently working on a formal description of the new species.
The assessment was drawn up by Fauna & FIora International, the National Museum of the Philippines and the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). A total of 229 plant and 212 terrestrial vertebrate species were registered, many of which are endemic to the Philippines. This impressive list of flora and fauna species reflects the huge biodiversity to be found in the Philippines despite a fragmentation of forest areas. In addition to discovering new species and recording known species, the assessment also entails detailed documentation of basic and new data on the ecology and the natural history of many vertebrate species in the Philippines.
The data will be used by local authorities as a scientific platform for planning and implementing management and monitoring systems. Project results will thus directly contribute to protecting and restoring ecosystems such as forests and biological diversity, and bolster the national government\'s efforts under its strategy to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+).
The ICI project, implemented locally by GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) provides assistance to the government regarding the elaboration of the strategy. The goal of this endeavour is to enhance national forest policy and to create incentives for forest protection and restoration. Thus the Philippines can reduce its emissions, conserve biodiversity and improve the living conditions of local communities. The discovery of new species provides valuable impetus to this endeavour. It also reflects the importance of the ICI project in the Philippines.
Since 2008 the Federal Environment Ministry has financed climate projects in developing, newly industrialising countries and countries in transition. This is the first time that new species have been discovered under an ICI project.