Establishing freshwater protected areas to protect biodiversity and improve food security in the Philippines

This paper describes the efforts to establish a network of community-conserved areas in the municipality of San Mariano on Luzon, with the dual aim to protect the Philippine crocodile and to improve inland fisheries. The necessary steps to establish a community-conserved area are summarized, and their sustainability assessed. The importance of local leadership and democratic decision-making processes in the design of community-based conservation measures is highlighted, and it is argued that implicit cultural values, such as hospitality and respect, are often a more important motivation for rural communities to protect aquatic resources than explicit concerns about food security and livelihoods.