The significance of BNP as a protected area is underscored by the fact that it is the site of the remaining old growth forests in the Zambales Biogeographic Zone. Some characteristic species not found elsewhere, such as the mountain roses and fire orchids, are still present within the BNP.
Some notable flora and fauna found in BNP are dipterocarp tree species like apitong, tanguile, and white lauan, as well as the endemic and threatened Green racquet-tail, Green-faced parrot-finch, Philippine warty pig, and Philippine brown deer.
The park is covered with dipterocarp forest (residual and reproduction brush), mossy forest and thirty (30) percent of the total area of the park is open/cultivated and planted to agricultural crops and fruits bearing trees; other portion is covered with brushes or grasses.
The following are the vegetation composition of the Bataan National Park:
The watersheds of the BNP are the main sources of ground and surface water that supply the domestic, industrial, and agricultural needs of upland and downstream communities around the PA. Lowland agricultural lands found along the eastern (Manila Bay Side) and western coasts (South China Sea side) of Bataan draw its irrigation water from the surface water that originated from BNP. Similarly, the communities of Bataan tap water from springs, rivers, and wells for domestic supply. The fresh surface and sub-surface that flow down from the elevated areas of BNP also contribute significantly to the preservation of the brackish water environment found along the coastal margins of Bataan. This preservation is vital to the survival of aquaculture, which is one of Bataan’s most important industries. Table 3 shows the major watersheds of BNP.
BNP’s natural features also offer potential ecotourism opportunities geared towards adventurers and nature lovers. The natural attractions in the PA include the Mt. Natib peak, Kairukan Falls, Marukdok Falls, Pasukulan Falls, Pilis Falls, Matikis Gulf, and several thermal springs found within the Old Caldera.
Resource Use Practices Profile
A study conducted by the CPPAP Project Implementing Unit (PIU) in 1998 revealed that a lot of species of plants and animals inside the BNP are being used in various ways. The following are conclusions derived from this study:
The number of species used by the Aetas is significantly greater than those used by the migrants.
The Aetas recognize a greater number of medicinal plants species compared to the migrants. However, the use of medicinal plants waned due to the availability of other forms of medicine;
Gathering of bamboos and honey are the most important income-generating use of the forest by the Aetas;
Quantity of catch registered a decline due to decrease in number of species hunted and increase in number of hunters;
The most frequently hunted species are the Philippine Brown Deer (Cervus mariannus), Philippine Warty Pig (Sus philippinensis), Fruit Bats (Acerodon jubatus and Pteropus spp.),and Long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) for mammals; Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus), Hanging Parakeet (Loriculus philippinensis), Button quails (Turnix spp.), Doves (Psittacidae), and Hornbills (Buceros hydrocorax and Penelopides manilae) for birds, and Monitor Lizard (Varanus salvator) for herpes.
Apart from traditional methods, the use of highly sophisticated gadgets such as rifle guns, blasting and improvised nets have increased;
Fish, crabs, and snails are caught from the rivers and creeks for food or to be sold;
The most commonly used medicinal plants are sambong (Sphaeranthus africanus), lunas-bundok (no scientific name), and pakayumkum (Selaginella sp.);
Important source of timber is mainly dipterocarps but the species commonly used for charcoal production include: Malabayabas (Tristania decorticate), Bolong-ita(Diospyrospilos anthera), and Kakawate (Glericidia sepium).