05/05/2023

Forest and landscape restoration in the Philippines

In Limay, Bataan province, the natural regeneration of the forest is supported.

A partnership between the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). 

The Philippines has long been recognized as a megadiverse country, as its forests are home to a wide range of endemic flora and fauna. To address this problem, the Philippine Government has been implementing various initiatives to restore and protect forests, including the project “The Paris Agreement in Action” funded by the IKI and the FAO.

Supporting sustainable forest management in Bataan and Bohol

Initiated in 2021 in the Philippines, the project aims to restore degraded forests and promote sustainable forest management (SFM) in the provinces of Bataan and Bohol. These two areas were chosen as project sites due to their high potential for forest restoration, as well as their vulnerability to climate change impacts such as flooding, landslides and soil erosion. 

The project has adopted a landscape approach, which involves restoring forests and other ecosystems within a larger context of land use and management. The project focuses, therefore, not only on restoring forests, but also on integrating forest restoration with other land-use activities such as agriculture, agroforestry and ecotourism. By doing so, the project aims to improve soil fertility, enhance biodiversity and increase the resilience of communities to climate change.

Strengthening cooperation with local communities

One of the key strategies of the project is to work closely with local communities and stakeholders who depend on the forest for their livelihoods. The Carood Watershed Model Forest Management Council Incorporated (CWMFMCI) in Bohol and the Society of Filipino Foresters Incorporated (SFFI) in Bataan are the two active partners of this project. 

The FAO-led Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism’s (FLRM) highly successful collaboration with CWMFMCI has already resulted in significant areas being restored in Bohol. Through the involvement of seven municipalities, CWMFMCI has committed to restoring 400 hectares (ha) of degraded land. The restoration and associated livelihood activities benefit at least 80 households. Each household received a minimum of 5 ha, for a total of 400 ha in which assisted natural regeneration is implemented with a target to increase income from the sustainable management of fire lines by 25 percent.

Pledging to restore 605 ha of degraded land through the involvement of three community-based forest management associations, SFFI has made a similar commitment for Bataan. The restoration and associated livelihood activities benefit at least 136 households. 

Interim status of the project work

While the project in the Philippines is ongoing and will continue until the end of 2023, some key outcomes can be expected: 

  1. Increased forest cover: the project aims to restore degraded forests in the provinces of Bataan and Bohol, which will help increase forest cover in these areas.
  2. Enhanced community resilience: by engaging local communities in the restoration process, the project is expected to enhance the resilience of these communities to the impacts of climate change.
  3. Improved land-use practices: the project follows a landscape approach that integrates forest restoration with other land-use activities.
  4. Increased awareness on forest and landscape restoration (FLR): the project is expected to increase awareness of the importance of FLR and SFM among local communities, small-scale farmers and other stakeholders.
     

Overall, the project in the Philippines funded by IKI and implemented by FAO is an important initiative that contributes to the country’s efforts to address the problem of deforestation and forest degradation. By promoting SFM and engaging local communities and stakeholders, the project aims to restore degraded forests and enhance the resilience of ecosystems and communities to the impacts of climate change. With its focus on Bataan and Bohol, the programme is expected to provide valuable lessons and best practices that can be replicated in other areas of the Philippines and beyond.

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