Biodiversity Conservation and Restoration of the Ligawasan Marsh (MINDANAO)
Biodiversity Conservation and Restoration of the Ligawasan Marsh (MINDANAO)
Biodiversity conservation of one of the remaining Philippine marshlands where strategies focused on IEC, capability building, research and documentation, establishment of a biodiversity resource center to support programs on enhancing growth of indigenous species within their natural habitat, and establishment of sustainable livelihood.

As a backgrounder, the Liguasan Marsh is found in one of the richest river basins in the country - the Cotabato-Agusan River Basin. Three main rivers and their tributaries traversing the marsh drain into Illana Bay, which flows into the Moro Gulf. The marsh covers an area of about 288,000 hectares spread in the provinces of Maguindanao, Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat. There are 277,877 people living in the 19 municipalities and one city (or 190 barangays) surrounding the marsh. Of these, 60 percent live off the marsh's resources - fishing and/or farming. Aside from its rich soil, the marsh is home to about 30 fish species (24 of which are of commercial values). Daily fish catch reach approximately ten to thirty tons. Other aquatic creatures inhabit the marsh, most notable of which are the crocodiles, turtles, crabs, clams, wild duck, and shrimps. There are also several swamp and aquatic birds endemic to the country that can be found only in the marsh. To the people of Mindanao, the marsh has historical and cultural significance. During pre-Spanish times, it facilitated trade and commerce in the region. Its waters provided easy and fast navigation for missionaries led by Malaysian Sharif Kabunsuan in the 15th century. During the Spanish, American, and Japanese periods, the marsh was the bastion of resistance against colonization.

At present, widespread destructive activities threaten the rich biological diversity and ecological balance of the marsh. These include the continued cutting of trees in watershed areas surrounding the marsh; the construction of dams and diversion of river flows; the proliferation of fish cages and traps; siltation; land conversion; gas exploration; peace and order; poverty; and illiteracy.

Project Snapshot

MInsupala Economic Development Foundation
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 57,202.60
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 23,412.70
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed

Photo Gallery

Project Characteristics and Results
Significant Participation of Indigenous Peoples
Community residents are Muslims (Maguindanaons), the indigenous people of Maguindanao and Cotabato provinces. Aside from conservation/protection, livelihood and community organizing, the community and the indigenous peoples undertake a biophysical resource assessment and socio-economic survey in the ten municipalities. It aimed to build an inventory of local development plans of local government units and NGO programs.
Notable Community Participation
Community residents identified and designed the project through the SGP-funded "Project Proposal Preparation for Biodiversity Conservation and Restoration of the Ligawasan Marsh" ()P-9.97-M). In the implementation of the project, community residents participated in the documentation of flora and fauna in the area, actual conservation activities, and the development of a comprehensive master plan for the conservation and protection of the marshland.
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SGP Country office contact

Mr. Errol Balitaan Gatumbato
+63 2 2944082


Foundation of the Philippines Environment, 77 Matahimik Street, Teacher's Village, Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines, 1101

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