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Minutes of Open Session
CIFOR, August 9, 2004

Full English Report [177kb]


Philippines by Dr. Antonio Carandang, Dr. Juan Pulhin and Ms. Rose Jane Peras

The Philippines had roughly 5–6 million ha of forest and 3.7 million ha of grass, brush and barren lands as of year 2000. Population pressures on the remaining forests are high. The country has had a long history of rehabilitation starting from 1910. The efforts up to the mid-1980s were mostly government-driven with some compulsory reforestation by companies and citizens. In 1988, the launching of the contract reforestation scheme saw rehabilitation efforts by various sectors of society including local government units, NGOs, communities, companies and households. Since 1995, community-based forestry management has been the primary strategy for forest rehabilitation. Peaks in planting efforts over the century have been driven by political changes and new policies and infusion of money. Since the 1990s, much of the rehabilitation efforts have been funded by foreign banks and donors. How much remains on the ground of all this planting effort is unclear.

As part of the rehabilitation review study in the Philippines, 48 projects implemented by different groups (government forestry sector, local government units, other government agencies, NGOs, communities and private sector) across Central Luzon, Central Visayas and Southern Mindanao were surveyed in detail for site conditions and project activities and outcomes. A selected twelve of these projects were assessed for outcomes and impacts on the ground through field surveys. Targeted beneficiaries of the rehabilitation projects have been mostly local communities, the general public for environmental benefits, and private individuals or farmers. Primary objectives have been watershed management and regreening barren land and providing employment or livelihoods, followed by biodiversity conservation and timber production. Primary outcomes have been enhanced income and livelihoods; increased forest cover and wildlife; improved soils and increased environmental awareness.

Major lessons learned for enhancing the sustainability of rehabilitation efforts are the need for community involvement and awareness building from project initiation onwards, sharing of experiences by farmers, sound and transparent financial management, community organising well before reforestation activities, livelihood projects as part of the overall plan, protection and maintenance for long-term sustainability, and the commitment of implementing agencies. Besides the government should create a long-term enabling and stable policy environment as well as appropriate incentives to encourage participation of the various sectors in forest rehabilitation. For private groups, they should be allowed and assisted to plant other high value tree crops in their area, given liberal credit windows for their business, and provided incentives for planting various indigenous species for biodiversity enhancement.

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Discussions:

  1. Projects had many different objectives – how are these objectives balanced and the trade-offs dealt with? It is not really an issue of trade-offs. A project can have many different objectives based on the needs of the community. Basically the government’s policy focus has changed over time in relation to rehabilitation programs – from pure degraded land regreening in the early 1900s to more incorporation of social aspects particularly in the 80s.
  2. The top objective across cases was water management but the top outcome was employment creation because substantial employment was created in the course of rehabilitation efforts for water management.

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