The site

The Municipality of Lantapan is in a river valley located between the biodiversity-rich Mt Kitanglad Range Natural Park on its northern side and the Manupali River to the south.

The Park is one of the world’s 25 biodiversity hotspots. Mt Dulang-dulang, the country’s second highest peak, is sacred to the indigenous people. It is also a favourite peak for birdwatchers and mountain climbers.

In 2010, the Park was awarded the highest recognition for protected areas in the Heritage Parks list of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) because of its unique, diverse and outstanding ecological, economic and cultural values.

Several rivers and creeks flow from the Park through intensively cultivated agricultural areas to the Manupali River, which runs into a network of irrigation canals constructed by the National Irrigation Administration, currently operated by the Bukidnon Irrigation Management Office. The whole system ultimately drains into the Pulangui Reservoir and supports the biggest hydropower plant in Mindanao, operated by the National Power Corporation (NPC-Pulangui IV).

The issues

Lantapan’s rich natural resources and favourable climatic conditions attracted migrant farmers and agribusinesses. The majority of the people are dependent on farming for their livelihoods. However, agribusinesses started to dominate the agricultural landscape in 2000. Corporate banana farms and, recently, pineapple, and swine and poultry production stimulated economic growth and were key drivers of land-use change in the last ten years. 

The shift to commercial agriculture by corporations and large landholders pushed smallholders onto smaller plots in less productive and more environmentally fragile areas. This pattern of agricultural expansion involved the replacement of forest and permanent crops by annual crops and the spread of annual crops even in high altitude and steeply sloping areas. This increased soil erosion rates, causing further land degradation. The irrigation system was also unable to reach its intended service area owing to water shortages, especially during the dry months, caused either by low stream flow or low storage capacity owing to high silt deposits. Similarly, the NPC has over the years, experienced a power generation crisis owing to the poor condition of the Pulangui Reservoir. The extent of silt deposit is enormous, making the plant inefficient, unable to produce the expected energy output and resulting in a shorter life span for the dam. Sustaining the volume of water demanded by different stakeholders had become problematic. Water competition not only lead to scarcity and depletion of underground and surface water but also aggravated conflict stemming from overlapping water rights and poor benefit-sharing.

Environmental services and the people involved

Environmental services


Others: Eco-tourism, biodiversity, carbon sequestration

People who provide the services

Smallholders in 7 upland villages

People who benefit from the services

LGU’s water system

Agribusiness sector

Rice irrigators

Hydroelectricity company

People who act as intermediaries between the providers and the beneficiaries

LGU Lantapan

Bukidnon Environment and Natural Resources Office

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Water is the main environmental service in Lantapan. The four rivers emanating from the Park are the major sources of water for both smallholding farmers and the agribusiness sector. They are also the source for potable water, distributed by the LGU through its municipal water system through a network of canals operated by the National Irrigation Administration, with a service area of 4395 ha of rice fields in Lantapan and neighbouring Valencia City. Further south, the whole system drains into the Pulangui Reservoir in Maramang.

Additionally, Lantapan plays a significant role in conservation and biodiversity. The natural forests in the Park, the tree plantations and smallholders’ agroforests also provide carbon storage and sequestration services. Seven villages are within the Park and eco-tourism provides villagers with additional income as guides and porters to mountain climbers and birdwatchers. 

Members of the Lantapan LandCare Association, among others, have adopted various soil and water conservation technologies. The World Agroforestry Centre’s database (2002) shows that 13% of the total farm households (5500 in 2001) had adopted conservation technologies. The total area using conservation technologies was almost 1230 hectare, representing 11% of the total farmed area. If conservation technologies were practised expansively there is potential for the farming system to become stable, with accrued environmental benefits including soil erosion control, maintenance of water quality and quantity, increased carbon storage and sequestration, biodiversity protection and landscape aesthetics. 

The rewards

Several incentive policies at the national level existed in Lantapan, such as ‘usufructury’ rights in the Integrated Social Forestry and the Community-Based Forest Management programs run by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The Municipal Government of Lantapan established a policy in 2001 that provided incentives to farmers adopting contour farming.

With RUPES’ support, the Government further established Ordinance No. 114 in 2009 (guided by a 5-year Sustainable Farming System Investment Plan), an incentive-based policy under which various forms of support are provided to farmers and farmers’ organizations as rewards. The ordinance encourages the adoption of, and investment in, sustainable farming and stabilises the provision of environmental services in the watershed.

Using this policy as the framework, negotiations with NPC to implement a rewards’ mechanism for watershed services will hopefully be soon completed. The company is being asked to fund the rehabilitation, reforestation and protection of the Alanib sub-watershed through a ’family approach’ that provides farming communities with livelihoods and ensures watershed services at the same time.

In the eco-tourism sector, climbers and birdwatchers pay entrance fees to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and obtain consent from the indigenous community. Negotiations are underway for the Department to share a portion of the fees with the communities near the entrances to the Park as an incentive for maintaining landscape beauty. 

Through the Department, which is a member of the RUPES Working Group in Region X, the Holcim Philippines Manufacturing Corporation is funding the establishment of rainforestation and agroforestry in the Park until 2017. This is an incentive in the form of employment for the Kitanglad Guard Volunteers as well as ensuring sources of non-timber forest products in the future.


Farming communities have been trained to develop project proposals as well as negotiate these with potential buyers. The RUPES Working Group in Region X will continue to facilitate negotiations that are already underway as well as support the integration of environmental services rewards’ schemes in land-use programs in the region. The group expects that integration with the implementing rules and regulations of the Bukidnon Environment Code and Bukidnon Watershed Framework Plan will lead to watershed-wide collective action for co-investment in environmental services and equitable and fair benefit-sharing.

Collective action and property rights in the context of the allocation of water rights will be further explored as a prelude for effective coordination between water management institutions and complementary policies.


  • Municipal Government of Lantapan
  • Bukidnon Environment and Natural Resources Office, Provincial Government of Bukidnon
  • Ecosystems Research and Development Services, Mt Kitanglad Range Natural Park, Department of Environment and Natural Resources
  • National Irrigation Administration, Department of Agriculture
  • National Economic and Development Authority
  • Central Mindanao University
  • Misamis Oriental State College of Agriculture and Technology
  • National Power Corporation Pulangui IV 

Contact for more information 

Ms Caroline D. Piñon (World Agroforestry Centre),