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Laguna Lake Basin: The Philippine Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Project Summary

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 and Quezon.

Assessment Approach

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.

Lead Institutions

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.

Contact information

  • Rodel D. Lasco
    Philippines Programme Coordinator
    World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
    Rm 16 Khush Hall, IRRI
    College, Laguna 4031
    The Philippines
    Tel: 63-49- 536-2925 Fax: 63-49- 536-4521

Focal Issues

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.


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