Ligawasan Marsh is the largest swamp and marsh area in Mindanao and one of the largest in the Philippines, covering an area of about 288,000 hectares. It is a conglomeration of three marshes: Ligawasan, Libungan and Ebpanan. It is a vast complex of river shannles, small freshwater lakes, ponds, and arable land subject to seasonal flooding in the basin of Mindanao. The area is under water during periods of heavy rainfall.
The Marsh is known to support species of endemic threatened birds, including the Philippine eagle and the Philippine duck (Anas luzonica). Because of its relatively expansive swamp forests, it is identified as an important wetland site of many water bird species like herons, egrets, rails, shorebirds and ducks. The Marsh is the last stronghold for the endemic and endangered Philippine crocodile and supports at least 33 species of freshwater fishes. There are 92 species of birds, 6 species of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians.
The floristic composition in the Marsh showed that there are l94 species belonging to l53 genera in 65 plant families. Of these, l2 are endemic to the Philippines. Most of them are upland species, but includes hardwood floral species growing in floodplains.
Satements of authenticity and/or integrity
Some 30,000 hectares of the marsh has been declared by the Philippine government as a Game Refuse and Bird Santuary, and a laboratory has been set up to the preservation, propagation and production if wildlife, particulary the endangered species.
Comparison with other similar properties
There are a number of other sites in the Philippines that have similar but smaller features:
Twin Lakes, Southern Negros- the Twin Lakes (Lake Balinsasayao and Lake Danao) are two deep crater lakes separated by a narrow ridge and surrounded by lush selections of flora and fauna. A scenic spot to visit, paddling through the lakes and fishing for dinner with friends is a remarkable experience. The aerial view of the lakes can be best viewed by trekking the slopes of the surrounding ridges.
Lake Mahagnao, Leyte- Because of its abundant wildlife, Lake Mahagnao is a popular destination for camping and environmental tours. The pristine lake is surrounded by refreshing sights of Ferns, lilies, aerial plants, tropical shrubs, and hundreds of birds residing throughout the primary forest encompassing the entire mountains of Leyte.
Lake Danao, Western Leyte- a hunter's paradise nestling in the middle of thickly forested hills of Ormoc City, this 3 km long lake at an elevation of 1600 meters, is known to inhabit wild animals, including the giant eel.