Mount Matutum straddles the municipalities of Tupi, Polomolok, Tampakan and the City of General Santos in the Province of South Cotabato; and the Municipality of Malungon in the Province of Sarangani. This non-active volcano is inhabited by 7,144 occupants distributed in 14 barangays and 55 sitios. Seventy (70) percent of the population belongs to the B’laan ethnic group while the 30% are lowland migrants. It covers an area of 14,008 hectares.
Mount Matutum is one of the remaining mid-montane forest block in Southern Mindanao. It harbors a variety of endemic species of wildplants and animals most of which are listed under the CITES and IUCN as threatened, rare, endangered or vulnerable. Mount Matutum also serves as a watershed of at least three major river systems that empty to Sarangani Bay. Twenty five percent of the total water consumption of SOCSARGEN is supplied by Mount Matutum.
Through local and government initiatives, Mount Matutum was declared as a protected area on 20 March 1995 with the issuance of Presidential Proclamation No. 552. The goal was to address the deteriorating environmental condition and poverty issues. The existence of a Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) with the active support of local NGOs and POs led to a coordinated effort toward the conservation and protection of Mount Matutum. Despite this, however, timber poaching, massive conversion of forest into agricultural lands and migration, still threatens Mount Matutum’s integrity.