Scaling up forest and climate protection

Cacao training for local farmers in Januiay, Panay, 2015; Photo: © GIZ/Klaus Schmitt, Forest and Climate Protection in Panay - Phase II

Cacao training for local farmers in Januiay, Panay, 2015; Photo: © GIZ/Klaus Schmitt, Forest and Climate Protection in Panay - Phase II

Scaling up forest protection nationwide was the main goal of the Forest and Climate Protection (ForClim) project in Panay. The second phase of the project successfully completed in August 2018, drawing to a close the eight-year initiative.

Throughout its implementation, the ForClim project contributed to the effective management and governance of almost 149,000 hectares of forest through forest land use planning. In addition, the project supported Local Government Units with the establishment of connected systems of protected areas (Critical Habitats) which cover just over 30,000 hectares of the Panay Maintain Range. The project ensured that Panay Mountain Range, with its globally significant biodiversity, was protected and that natural resources in the adjacent areas were managed and used by local communities in a sustainable and climate-friendly manner.

Rafflesia speciosa – a parasitic plant that is only found on Panay island; Photo: © GIZ Forest and Climate Protection in Panay - Phase IIThe Panay Mountain Range has a high degree of endemism and its flag-ship species – the so-called big five – are the Visayan wrinkled hornbill, the Visayan spotted deer, the Visayan warty pig, the Panay monitor lizard and the parasitic plant Rafflesia speciosa. The project contributed to the protection of this biodiversity. Sightings of Panay’s big five endemic species increased by 18.5% from 2014 to 2017.

The project introduced innovations and improvements in forest land use planning, including the establishment of critical habitats, forest conservation and management, forest rehabilitation, agroforestry, and income generation for local communities using a conservation and development approach that provided incentives for sustainable resource management such as agroforestry, upland agriculture and use of bioenergy.

1,149 hectares of agroforestry (abaca, cacao and coffee) and 452 hectares of sustainable upland agriculture have been established with the support of the project resulting in an increase in forest-derived income in the project area of 36% from 2015 to 2017. Furthermore, the project supported four “people’s organisations” (PO) with the installation of flatbed rice dryers that use rice husks as their energy source. These dryers reduce operating costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and can address the problem of a lack of energy sources in off-grid areas.

The four POs will utilise the dryers for an estimated total of sixty 10-tonne batches per year, therefore processing a total of 600 tonnes of rice. This will result in a GHG emission reduction of 181.8 tCO2e annually. By avoiding kerosene use, it will provide a cost saving of PHP 236,736 (about 3,850 Euro based on the average exchange rate for August 2018). In addition, the ash produced by burning the rice husks makes an excellent fertiliser.

Biomass-fuelled flatbed rice dryer in Miagao, Panay island, 2017; Photo: @ Dr Jürgen Schade, Forest and Climate Protection in Panay - Phase II

Phase II of ForClim worked to protect natural forests and rehabilitation of degraded forests. This contributed to the reduction of 453,353 tonnes of carbon emissions that was recorded for the 2011-17 period. During the latter period the project trained more than 813 people; equipped 725 community-based forest guards (locally called Bantay Gubat), who are employed by the regional offices of the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); and produced forest protection agreements covering 18,732 hectares.

DENR is now hoping to roll out this highly acclaimed forest and climate change protection project nationwide. According to DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, the project is worth replicating in other parts of the country. ‘ForClim has proved successful in integrating biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation and poverty alleviation through sustainable management of forest resources. With the right support from our partner organizations, hopefully we can bring this kind of success to other areas in the country in the near future,’ Cimatu said at the closing ceremony of the second phase.

DENR and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implemented the first phase (ForClim I) and second phase (ForClim II) between 2010-14 and 2014-18 respectively. The project was financed through a grant of EUR 5.95 million (second phase EUR 4 million) from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) under its International Climate Initiative (IKI), with a counterpart funding of EUR 250,000 euros from DENR.