Agusan Marsh

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Philippine duck (Anas luzonica)        Agusan Marsh is one of the most ecologically significant wetlands in the Philippines. Found in the heart of Mindanao's Agusan Basin, this vast expanse of marsh covers an area roughly the size of Metro Manila. It contains nearly 15 percent of the nation's fresh water resources in the form of swamp forests.

       During the rainy season, when the water rises to create large lakes, vast number of ducks come to Agusan Marsh to nest. In the dry months, thousands of birds come from as faraway as Japan, China and Russia to escape the chilly winter winds of Northern Asia. Over 200 individual species have been known to spend at least part of the year in the marsh, making it one of Asia's most important transit points for wild birds.

       In the very heart of the marsh is a semi-permanent lake where thousands of hectares of lily pads, hyacinths and other hydrophytic plants spread out like an enormous green quilt. In the dark tea-colored waters live untold numbers of catfish, carp, soft-shell fresh water turtles, and crocodiles.

a misty morning on the marsh's Lake Mihaba        The tiny community of mostly ethnic Manobos have made their permanent homes deep within the marsh, living on floating homes. The small houses made of bamboo and nipa lashed to hard wood logs, freely rise or fall with the level of the marsh itself. The marsh provides virtually everything the Manobos need.

a Manobo girl in a hand-carved canoe        Despite the isolation, life in Agusan Marsh is good. The air is wonderfully sweet, the surrounding waters offer abundant food and there is a wonderful stillness at dawn and again at dusk, earning its name as the Enchanted Marsh.


Protected Area/Wildlife Sanctuary
(Proclamation No. 913)
Location: Agusan del Sur
Area: 14,835.89 hectares
Source: Our Nature Heritage
- The Protected Areas of the Philippines
Published by: Department of Environment and Natural Resources
  Philippine Airlines Foundation, Inc.
  Foundation for the Philippine Environment

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