SEARCA is WorldFish Center's partner along with the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) in a USAID-funded project titled, From Ridge to Reef: An Ecosystem Based Approach to Biodiversity Conservation and Development in the Philippines. The project aimed to address key issues affecting biodiversity conservation around the Mt. Malindang area in Mindanao, Philippines. Mt. Malindang and its environs were identified as extremely high priority conservation area under the National Biodiversity Strategy Action Plan (NBSAP) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The watersheds connected to the coastal systems via Langaran and Layawan Rivers within Mt.Malindangserved as ideal settings for the project. Langaran River, which supplies irrigation water to adjacent farmlands, is threatened with prevalent quarrying and illegal fishing methods. In contrast, the Layawan River was regarded as the "Cleanest and Greenest River" both at the regional and national levels.
The Ridge to Reef program was conceived considering the unique features of Mt. Malindang. As recipient of various conservation programs including the Biodiversity for Research Programme (BRP) implemented by SEARCA and funded by the government of the Netherlands in 2001–2005, Mt. Malindang is a strategic site for piloting and modifying biodiversity conservation measures. In turn, it shall serve as a model site of a complex environment integrated in one framework for more sustainable biodiversity conservation.