16 years of research in the Philippines and still going

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16 years of research in the Philippines and still going

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Enhancing Livelihoods through Forest and Landscape Restoration

2017-2022

A$3M, funded through Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Leaders: Professor John Herbohn and Dr Nestor Gregorio

Background

Improving livelihoods of rural poor remains a critical issue for the Philippines, especially in the country's rural uplands. It is estimated that over 24 M people rely on subsistence agriculture, most of whom are below the poverty line. In addition, deforestation and land degradation in the uplands is a major national environmental and social issue. The National Greening Program (NGP) was implemented in 2011 with the objectives of reducing poverty, promoting food security, environmental stability and biodiversity conservation, and enhancing climate change mitigation and adaptation through rehabilitating 1.5 M ha of denuded lands by 2016.

In December 2015, the objective was expanded to rehabilitate a further 7.1 M ha. The NGP is an example of Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR), which underlies the Bonn Challenge. In ASEM/2010/050 we developed and pilot-tested best practice in community-based reforestation (see Appendix C). This pilot FLR reforestation initiative has been featured by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as an exemplar for NGP implementation. It has also been featured by IUCN as a real-world example of enhancing livelihoods through FLR and has been used as a basis for training and capacity building of DENR at the local level. Although the general principles of FLR can be applied across various regions, the specific design, approach and activities will vary in different locations.

Little is currently known about how to best integrate agriculture, forestry and forest restoration at a landscape scale (Chazdon et al. 2015). In this project, we will investigate how to best scale out the successful community-based FLR model that we have developed for reforestation in Biliran to other areas in the Philippines. An initial step in this process will be to design FLR systems tailored to the communities that will implement them based on the lessons from our pilot program. In addition, we will undertake further research on key technical issues related to the selection and establishment of appropriate timber tree species and agricultural crops as part of FLR systems.

Aims and objectives   

The aim of this project is to improve rural livelihoods through Forest and Landscape Restoration in the Philippines.

Objectives     
  1. Improve the livelihoods of smallholders involved in Forest and Landscape
    Restoration;
  2. Develop and test options for scaling out landscape-scale community-based
    reforestation; 
  3. Achieve better economic outcomes for smallholders through improved monitoring,
    best practices and policy.

Research team  

USC
Research Staff (Philippines)

Ofelia Moreno 
Nova Parcia 
Crisanto Solano 
Rogelio Tripoli 
Mark Ygana


International Collaborators (VSU)

Dr Victor Asio
Dr Henry Goltiano
Dr Eduardo Mangaoang
Yolanda Mangaoang
Dr Lilian Nunez
Dr Arturo Pasa
Dr Dennis Peque
Dr Anatolio Polinar
Lemuel Preciados
Dr Arsenio Ramos


International Collaborators (DENR) 

Dr Eugene Bautista
Emma Germano
Danny Lendio
Bonifacio Polinar

Key successes

Pilot studies with the Republic of the Philippines, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), have led to introduction of a national level policy for accreditation of nurseries supplying seedlings to reforestation programs in the country.

The National Policy details: DENR Administrative Order 2010-2011 “Revised Regulation Governing Forest Tree Seed and Seedling Production, Collection and Disposition” Issued on May 5, 2010. Order online.

In February 2011, President Aquino announced the establishment of the National Greening Program (NGP), which will reforest 1.5 M ha over the coming five years. There will be around 1.6 billion seedlings required for that program. DENR is responsible for the technical implementation of the NGP, including the oversight of seedling production. The work the Centre formed in previous projects to contribute to the National Policy, DAO 2011-11, invariably had a major impact on how these seedlings were produced. This has subsequently led in December 2015 to increasing the objective to rehabilitate forests to 7.1 M ha.

In the most recently awarded ACIAR project ASEM/2016/103, there will be the opportunity to investigate how to best scale out the successful community-based FLR model that we have developed for reforestation in Bilirain to other areas in the Philippines. An initial step in this process will be to design FLR systems tailored to the communities that will implement them based on the lessons from our pilot program. In addition, we will undertake further research on key technical issues related to the selection and establishment of appropriate timber tree species and agricultural crops as part of FLR systems.

In 2015, we were invited to present our research work in Philippines at the International Union of Forest Research Organisations Conference “International IUFRO Symposium "Small-scale and Community Forestry and the Changing Nature of Forest Landscapes"

  • From this symposium, our Centre researchers were invited in 2016, to submit an article to portray the work in Philippines at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Of the 118 articles submitted from researchers across the world, only seven were accepted. Due to the nature and impact of our work the paper was one of the seven chosen for publication.
  • From our work and interaction with international researchers and organisations across different forums we have forged a new collaboration with WeForest UK who are exploring ways of using our research findings to help other communities in Asia Pacific region to sustainably manager their forest landscapes and address climate change, enhance livelihoods, increase resilience and safeguard biodiversity.
  • FAO will also use the guidelines and materials collated from all research across the multiple projects to form best practice in guiding other Asia-Pacific regions with Forest and Landscape Restoration (FLR) 
  • We will continue our research in ASEM/2016/103 with the goal of improving the livelihoods of the rural poor and contribute to the Forest and Landscape Restoration across the Philippines to support the DNR’s National Greening Program to reach their target of rehabilitating 7.1 M ha of forest.

We look forward to continuing our long-term partnership with educators, government bodies, community groups and agencies across the Philippines. We are keen to test existing theory and research, explore new innovations and ensure evidence based programs are implemented across community groups and supported through government policy at all levels of government. We continue our research with the goal of improving the livelihoods of the rural poor and contribute to the Forest and Landscape Restoration across the Philippines to support the DNR’s National Greening Program to reach their target of rehabilitating 7.1 M ha of forest.

Get involved  

There are a number of ways you can be involved in our research work, including:

  • Receiving updates on project progress
  • Attending workshops and/or events held on Indigenous forestry
  • Becoming a potential partner
  • Becoming a research student with the group
  • Being a visiting scholar/student (spending a short period of time with the group working on different parts of the project - may include field work)
  • Volunteering
  • Community member feedback and participation
  • Government department representatives feedback and participation
  • Policy makers feedback and participation
  • Industry members feedback and participation
  • General ideas and feedback for group

You can get involved by emailing ResearchCentres@usc.edu.au or emailing John Herbohn or Nestor Gregorio directly.

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