Monday, December 18, 2017
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    Ligawasan Marsh, North Cotabato


    Improved Biodiversity Conservation with Effective Local Government

    To restore wetland habitats through biodiversity conservation, rehabilitation, and improved governance in selected Ligawasan Marsh sites
    Municipalities of Tulunan, M’lang, and Kabacan in North Cotabato
    Area for Protection: 88 hectares in Ligawasan Marsh
    Communities of Muslim Maguindanaons within the
    3 target areas of the Ligawasan Marsh
    2 years

    The Ligawasan Marsh, with an area of around 288,000 hectares, is home to important species like the Philippine Tarsier, Philippine Crocodile, white-bellied sea eagle and native fishes. This wetland also shelters at least 37 migratory birds and is a haven to endangered and vulnerable avian, reptile and aquatic species, some of which are threatened with extinction. The Marsh provides various ecosystem-based goods and services that benefit fisher folks and farmers in the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato.

    The primary threat to Ligawasan Marsh ecosystem is the degradation of wildlife (faunal) habitat which affect the natural spawning of fishes and terrestrial organisms. The second threat is the unregulated fish catching practices using electricity-operated devices and small-eyed fish nets that trap and destroy fish fingerlings and other small aquatic animals. These threats, if not addressed immediately, will decrease the variety, volume and quality of the natural goods in the area.

    USAID, through the Philippine-American Fund, supports the Maguindanaon Development Foundation, Inc. (MDFI) in increasing and improving the biodiversity of wetland habitats with effective local governance. Strategies involve rehabilitating heavily degraded swamps through assisted natural regeneration of opened swamp forests, herbaceous swamp and water ways easements. This intervention should have immediate effect on critical habitats, increasing and improving biodiversity with the support of environment-directed local government policies and programs. This also requires enhancing capacities of local governments to issue local ordinances for biodiversity conservation.

    MDFI facilitated the planting of 8,000 Bangkal trees and 6,000 Nipa and Libi native palms, covering an area of 75 hectares in three (3) barangays. This completes the target 75 kilometers of riverbank planting for rehabilitation.

    Fieldwork for the biodiversity research was also completed. The final draft report for the biodiversity research was completed and submitted to the Conservation Development Department of the DENR Region XII for final presentation and review. Results of the final review and recommendation will be completed in the next quarter.

    The project also conducted awareness building campaigns in four barangays in partnership with DENR Region XII through their program called Dalaw Turo with a theme: “Kalikasan, Pangalagaan Para sa Ating Kinabukasan” (Care for Nature, Care for our Future). Through the activity, students were informed about the importance of the symbiotic relationships of the flora and fauna in Ligawasan Marsh. A total of 824 students (48 percent girls) were reached through this activity.

    The project implementation team in Barangay Cuyapon identified their covered marshland as a “critical habitat” due to the sighting of two endangered Philippine Crocodiles in the area.