Location and Values: The Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park is located on the west coast of the Philippine island of Palawan. It protects a limestone karst mountain landscape with an 8.2 km long underground river that flows directly into the sea. This feature makes it distinctive in a global context, with half the river’s length subject to tidal influence. The impressive cave system is readily accessible by boat and features several large chambers and dramatic speleothems (stalactites and other carbonate cave formations). The entire river catchment is protected within the park, which covers a remarkable diversity of habitats within its mountain-to-sea ecosystem. Eight distinct types of tropical forest are represented, protecting the distinctive biodiversity of Palawan, including all 15 of the island’s endemic bird species.
Conservation Status and Prospects. According to IUCN’s Conservation Outlook Assessment (2017) the conservation status of the Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park is ‘good, with some concerns’. The IUCN report notes that the spectacular cave system and interface between the sea and the underground river are well maintained. However there is some degradation of the site’s biodiversity values due to resource exploitation by local people. There are several other management issues affecting the site, including insufficient monitoring data and research to properly inform management decisions; a complex legal framework; confusion over boundaries, land claims and excisions for local farmers; and a need for better control of tourism development.
UNESCO Official Website
IUCN Conservation Outlook
UNEP-WCMC Site Description