Laguna Lake Basin: The Philippine Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
The main objectives of the assessment were to assess the Laguna Lake
Basin’s (LLB) ecosystems and their services using the MA framework and to
contribute to the global MA process. The intended audience for the results
of the assessment is decision-makers at various scales, including local,
watershed, and national levels. The Philippine MA sub-global assessment
was conducted on three spatial scales, with four ecosystems services studied
for each scale. These ecosystem services (water, fish, rice, and climate
regulation) are essential for both human wellbeing the ecological integrity
of this economically fast-growing region.
The LLB represents a wide array of ecosystems undergoing rapid transitions
due to a multitude of factors. The Basin is one of the most important and
dynamic land and water formations in the Philippines. The water body encompasses
all of Laguna and Rizal provinces and contains some of the fastest growing
economic zones in the country, including Metro Manila, Batangas, Cavite
The assessment process followed the approach of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and relied on scientific literature, master
and sectoral plans for the watershed, project and consultant’s reports,
and government agency reports.
Three scales and four ecosystem services were included in the assessment
of the LLB. At the farm or village level, the ecosystem service in focus
was the provision of food (fish and rice). At the basin level, the overall
fishery production and provision of water supply was studied. Biodiversity
at the basin level was also assessed. Climate regulation and the phenomenon
of climate change, including the role of the Basin as a carbon sink, were
analysed at the global scale.
The Philippine sub-global MA was conducted by a panel of 25 scientists
from the University of the Philippines (UP), Laguna Lake Development Authority
(LLDA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Environment
and Natural Resources (DENR), MADECOR Environmental Management System Inc.
(MEMSI), SEAMEO Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture
(SEARCA), and Haribon Foundation.
Funding for the Philippine Millennium Ecosystem Assessment was provided
by the MA and DENR.
- Rodel D. Lasco
Philippines Programme Coordinator
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Rm 16 Khush Hall, IRRI
College, Laguna 4031
Tel: 63-49- 536-2925 Fax: 63-49- 536-4521
The LLB assessment in the Philippines focused on documenting the state
of the provisioning, regulating, and cultural services provided by ecosystems
in the Laguna Lake Basin. Additionally, the LLB assessment documented and
assessed actions initiated by institutional agencies in response to the
problems of the region.
Ecosystems services assessed
Water resources, fish resources, rice and climate regulation. Biodiversity
was also assessed.
Project Outputs & Results
The major output of this assessment was the collation of existing scientific
data on the state of ecosystems services and environmental integrity of
the LLB. Further, the social-political aspects of livelihood security were
analysed in the context of user conflict and governmental response to the
needs of multiple users of ecosystems services in the basin. Because the
LLB is located in a region of high and growing population density, demands
on its ecosystems services will only increase. The ecosystem assessment
provides a reference for decision-makers in planning and implementing effective
policy for more sustainable development in the region.
Results indicated that the conditions of the rivers and lake were deteriorating,
although there have been some successes in water pollution abatement programmes
in recent years. Biodiversity and the capacity for carbon storage were both
in decline as a result of agricultural encroachment, timber harvesting and
development. Fish production, thanks to aquaculture, was still in good condition,
but fishery production of the rivers was in a bad state and deteriorating.
In particular, the introduction of exotic fish species has resulted in the
loss of indigenous fish species. Rice production was strong, but social
conflict as a result of government regulation has caused negative reactions
from rice farmers in some areas. Conflict within and between groups engaged
in fisheries and agriculture was a major issue in the region.