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Masungi Georeserve Gets International Award for Innovative Nature Conservation

EGYPT – The famous Masungi Georeserve in Baras, Rizal is now a world-class model for innovative conservation of nature, after being awarded at the inaugural Pathfinder Awards presented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and WildArk.

Masungi Georeserve received the 2018 Pathfinder Award Special Commendation for its “outstanding and innovative” approach to conservation financing and resourcing. It was chosen over 200 nominations from around the world, by a a high-caliber international jury.


The Pathfinder Award celebrates solutions that address inadequate investment for protected and conserved areas. The jury lauded Masungi’s innovative “geotourism” to fund and achieve conservation objectives. They particularly noted how Masungi was able to make the park attractive, without pressure on the environment. Since opening trail experiences to limited visitors to finance its conservation mission, Masungi Georeserve has been generating domestic and international acclaim for its spider webs, hammocks, viewing decks, bridges and rope courses floating above a tropical rainforest canopy.

In a joint statement, the UNDP, IUCN, WPA and WildArk note, “The nomination by Masungi Georeserve Foundation describes an innovative approach to ecotourism, based on the pillars of conservation, education/research and sustainable development, and using “mindful engineering” through tourism infrastructure that mimics nature, e.g. spider webs.”

They emphasized how the georeserve can be replicated by other protected areas around the world when it comes to creating long-term and sustainable value for environmentally-sensitive areas.

Caption: Costa Rica Minister Carlos Manuel Rodriguez (second from the left) congratulates Masungi Georeserve Trustees Ann and Billie Dumaliang for this important milestone.

“You cannot tell how impressed I was with [Masungi Georeserve’s] work. [They] must continue what they are doing,” said Costa Rica’s environment and energy minister and Pathfinder jury member Carlos Manuel Rodriguez. 

The Masungi Georeserve is a conservation initiative of Masungi Georeserve Foundation in partnership with the National Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

It is home to a sprawling limestone formation dating back 60 million years, that was the subject of rampant environmental degradation.. After twenty years of daunting dedicated conservation work, it is coming back to life and is now a sanctuary for more than 400 species of flora and fauna, many of which are endemic to the Philippines and Luzon.

The project’s latest mission is to restore and conserve in perpetuity some 3,000 hectares of denuded mountains around the georeserve through the Masungi Geopark Project. These mountains remain in constant threat of quarrying, illegal logging, kaingin, treasure-hunting, and land speculation despite previous efforts to conserve them.

“This singular honor from the UN and IUCN will boost the spirit of our team on the ground, and those in government, private sector and civil society who tirelessly toil for the environment and even risk their lives protecting it, and inspire others to follow in their footsteps and join our movement,” Ann Adeline Dumaliang, trustee and project manager of Masungi Georeserve said.

This year’s award is organised in cooperation with the UNDP-Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) and the PANORAMA – Solutions for a Healthy Planet initiative, which IUCN co-leads.


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