The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia. It is situated in the western Pacific Ocean, and consists of about 7,640 islands, that are broadly categorized under three main geographical divisions from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The Philippines is bounded by the West Philippine Sea to the west, the Philippine Sea to the east, and the Celebes Sea to the southwest, and shares maritime borders with Taiwan to the north, Japan to the northeast, Palau to the east and southeast, Indonesia to the south, Malaysia to the southwest, Vietnam to the west, and China to the northwest. The Philippines covers an area of 300,000 km2 and, as of 2020, had a population of around 109 million people.
The Philippines is a megadiverse country. Eight major types of forests are distributed throughout the Philippines; dipterocarp, beach forest, pine forest, molave forest, lower montane forest, upper montane or mossy forest, mangroves, and ultrabasic forest. As of 2021, the Philippines has only 7 million hectares of forest cover left, according to official estimates, though experts contend that the actual figure is likely much lower. Deforestation, often the result of illegal logging, is an acute problem in the Philippines. Forest cover declined from 70% of the Philippines's total land area in 1900 to about 18.3% in 1999.
Around 1,100 land vertebrate species can be found in the Philippines including over 100 mammal species and 243 bird species not thought to exist elsewhere. The Philippines has among the highest rates of discovery in the world with sixteen new species of mammals discovered in the last ten years. Because of this, the rate of endemism for the Philippines has risen and likely will continue to rise. Parts of its marine waters contain the highest diversity of shorefish species in the world.
Large reptiles include the Philippine crocodile and saltwater crocodile. The largest crocodile in captivity, known locally as Lolong, was captured in the southern island of Mindanao, and died on February 10, 2013, from pneumonia and cardiac arrest. The national bird, known as the Philippine eagle, has the longest body of any eagle; it generally measures 86 to 102 cm in length and weighs 4.7 to 8.0 kg, The Philippine eagle is part of the family Accipitridae and is endemic to the rainforests of Luzon, Samar, Leyte, and Mindanao. The Philippines has the third highest number of endemic birds in the world with 243 endemics. Notable birds include the Celestial monarch, flame-templed babbler, Red-vented cockatoo, Whiskered pitta, Sulu hornbill, Rufous hornbill, Luzon bleeding-heart and the Flame-breasted fruit dove.
Philippine maritime waters encompass as much as 2,200,000 square kilometers producing unique and diverse marine life, an important part of the Coral Triangle, a territory shared with other countries. The total number of corals and marine fish species was estimated at 500 and 2,400 respectively. New records and species discoveries continue. The Tubbataha Reef in the Sulu Sea was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993. Philippine waters also sustain the cultivation of fish, crustaceans, oysters, and seaweeds. One species of oyster, Pinctada maxima, produces pearls that are naturally golden in color. Pearls have been declared a 'National Gem'.
With an estimated 13,500 plant species in the country, 3,200 of which are unique to the islands, Philippine rainforests boast an array of flora, including many rare types of orchids and rafflesia. Many species are endangered and scientists say that Southeast Asia, which the Philippines is part of, faces a catastrophic extinction rate of 20% by the end of the 21st century due in part to habitat loss resulting from deforestation.