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Biodiversity conservation for Mt. Agad-Agad ecotourism development pushed through gov’t project

A famous site for mountain climbers and tourists, Mt. Agad-Agad in Lanao del Norte, Northern Mindanao is also home to many unique species of plants and animals. However, the biodiversity of the mountain has been jeopardized by disruptions brought about by various human activities such as shifting cultivation, irresponsible disposal of wastes and garbages, illegal logging, and road construction.  

To address this challenge, a project, “Biodiversity Inventory, Assessment, and Conservation for Ecotourism Development in Mount Agad-Agad, Lanao del Norte,” was implemented by the Central Mindanao University (CMU) and Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) to conduct an inventory of its biodiversity, as well as assess and conserve the biodiversity of Mt. Agad-Agad for ecotourism development and declare the site as a Local Conservation Area (LCA). 

The research was conducted in the three ‘sitios’ namely, Langinlanon in Barangay (Brgy.) Pugaan and sitios Mibolo and Pindugangan in Brgy. Tipanoy, which are surrounding the mountain.

The field inventory recorded 414 flora and 337 fauna species from Mt. Agad-Agad. 

Ecological status assessment revealed 43 flora and 90 fauna endemic species, of which, 9 flowering plants, 19 vertebrate, and 16 invertebrate fauna species are endemic to Mindanao. Conservation status assessment documented 17 threatened species of vascular plants and 13 threatened species of vertebrate and invertebrate fauna from Mt. Agad-Agad. As part of the ex-situ conservation, 20 species of plants were propagated in CMU fernery and nursery. This research also initiated the establishment of nursery at the base of Mount Agad-Agad with the full support of Mt. Agad-Agad Ecotourism and Biodiversity Association (MAEBA). Native trees, ferns, and ornamental plants were propagated in the nursery and later, were used in the assisted regeneration activity. 

The results and the policy recommendations of the research were also used to support the legislated resolutions of Barangay Tipanoy and Pugaan proclaiming the Mt. Agad-Agad as a local conservation area for ecotourism development with potential livelihood opportunities through Barangay Resolutions 21 and 22, series of 2021.

The research also assisted the formation of the Technical Working Group (TWG) and Mount Agad-Agad Biodiversity and Ecotourism Council (MAABEC) through Executive Order 309 s. of 2021 and the Mt. Agad-Agad Ecotourism & Biodiversity Association (MAEBA) as a planning, policy, and decision-making body and to initiate funding sources to further Mt Agad-Agad ecotourism development. 

The baseline data obtained from the study will aid in further mitigating the impacts of the project and for the protection, conservation, and enhancement of biodiversity in Mt. Agad-Agad. 

An entry under the Research Category, the project was presented during the National Symposium on Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (NSAARRD) held on October 19, 2022. Winners of the award will be conferred during the DOST-PCAARRD’s 2022 S&T Awards and Recognition ceremony in November 2022.

NSAARRD, annually spearheaded by DOST-PCAARRD, recognizes outstanding contributions in the agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources sector in the country.