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6 Sustainable harvesting of non-timber forest products: the role of gender in the Philippines - Arsenio B. Ella[6]


ABSTRACT

Harvesting of some important non-timber forest products (NTFPs) is considered a major conservation strategy because it deals with both conservation and development, thus focusing more on product, farmers and forest settlers, especially the indigenous people (IP) and forest. There are about 18 million forest dwellers, mostly IPs, in the Philippines, who are primarily dependent on the collection and sale of NTFPs for their livelihood. Research and investigations were therefore undertaken to address the apparent lack of documented information available on NTFPs in the country, i.e. their availability, volumes, and the revenues and marketing practices associated with them. The major NTFPs identified include among others: rattan, bamboo, resins (almaciga and Canarium), vine, erect palms, anahaw leaves and tiger grass. These NTFPs play a significant role in sustaining interest and motivation among IPs. Women and children constitute the majority of NTFP gatherers in the Philippines. The benefits that will be derived from the investigation would directly relate to the economic, social and ecological dimensions of the forest settlers. The forest occupants will gain technical knowledge and skills in the collection and processing of NTFPs to maintain and improved their income. They would further acquire some know-how on sustained-yield collection practices and observation measures for sustainable supply of identified NTFPs. The benefits and other social impact that may be derived would not remain isolated but will find ways to reach other forest communities in which the occupants would likewise adopt for their common welfare. The sustained yield collection practices for the sustainable supply of important NTFPs in the Philippines have a direct and strong linkage to the handicraft and furniture industry sector. The primary intention of this paper is to improve our understanding about the role and potential of harvesting of some NTFPs through improved conservation management for the livelihood of the IPs and sustainable forest management.

INTRODUCTION

Until recently non-timber forest products (NTFPs) were known as minor forest products. They are also alternatively known as non-wood forest products, other forest products or other economic products because of their meager contribution to the country and forest revenues (Table 1). In the past, timber was recognized in the Philippines as a major product from the forest. As forest cover dwindled and with the excesses of logging operations in the 1980s, the Philippines woke up to the implications of the loss of their forest resources and introduced widespread logging bans to preserve the remaining tracts of forest. Against the background of the logging bans, emphasis on community forest participation has focused attention on those products of the forest, the non-timber forest products upon which many communities are, at least partially, dependent. Efforts are now being made to examine the potential of these non-timber forest products, to support not only the subsistence needs of these people but also to offer commercial opportunities which will provide the communities with reliable sources of income. Doing so will highlight the wider value of the forest resource. Some of the important NTFPs in the Philippines include bamboo, rattan, erect palms, vines, honey, medicinal plants, bast fibre plants and other plants producing gums and resins. Statistics show that the 1998 exports of furniture and handicraft from bamboo, buri (Corypha sp.) and rattan were US$81.22 million and US$32.37 million respectively. In 1999, exports of similar commodities using bamboo, buri and rattan increased to US$86.93 million and US$73.44 million respectively. The Philippine Forestry Statistics reported that 319 000 kg of almaciga resins valued at US$242 000 and 377 000 kg of Canarium resins valued at US$696 000 were exported in 2000. The collection, utilization and trade of NTFPs provide employment and livelihood not only to the forest dwellers but also to the local communities and urban areas (Table 2).

Table 1. Commercially important NTFPs

Category

Products

Forest products

1. Nuts (Brazil-nut, walnut, and chestnut)


2. Fruits (ginkgo)


3. Edible fungi (morels, mushrooms)


4. Vegetables (bamboo shoots)


5. Starches (sago)


6. Bird’s nests


7. Oils


8. Maple sugar


9. Juice (noni)

Spices, condiments and culinary herbs

1. Nutmeg


2. Cardamon


3. Oregano


4. Cinnamon


5. Bay leaves

Industrial plant oils and waxes

Tung oil, neem oil, jojoba oil, candle or lumbang oil

Plant gums

1. Gums for food, gum arabic, gum tragacanth


2. Technological grade gums

Natural pigments

Annato seeds, logwood

Oleoresins

1. Pine oleoresin


2. Copal, dammar


3. Amber

Fibres and flosses

1. Fibres, bamboo, rattan, raffia, cork, broom-grass


2. Flosses, kapok or silk cottons

Vegetable tanning materials

Quebracho, mimosa, catha/cuth

Latex

Natural rubber, gutta percha, chickle

Incense woods

Sandalwood

Essential oils

Ilang-ilang

Plant insecticides

Pyrethrum, derris

Medicinal plants

Taxus sp., Cinchona, Vitex sp.

Wild plants


Miscellaneous products

Betel-nut, bidi leaves, lacquer

Sources: lqbal (1993), Razal (2000).

Table 2. Resource availability in the various regions for selected NTFP-based livelihood options

Livelihood options

Resources availability in regions

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

CAR

NCR

Abaca for paper




x

x

x

x






x


x

Buri fibre extraction and processing

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x



Salago fibre extraction



x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x




Hinggiw harvesting and handicraft-making



x



x



x







Rattan furniture

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x



Bamboo (deformed bamboo and utilization into other products)

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x

x


Pili (fruit/nut and elemi production)




x

x

x










Source: DENR (1997). Sustainable Livelihood Options of the Philippines.

In a gathering of experts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), Agenda 21 and forest principles identified forest products other than wood as an important area that requires more attention, as a source of environmentally sound and sustainable development. Over the past two decades, various organizations, such as people’s organizations, of both common and indigenous people and forest settlers, government and non-government institutions including private sectors have become involved with the promotion and utilization of NTFPs and their effects on the sustainability of products as well as forests. It suffices to say that NTFPs have been recognized to play an important role for the local communities in and around the forests.

This paper intends to enlighten our vision about the role and potential of harvesting NTFPs in improved conservation and management for employment and income generation of the local or indigenous people (IP). Foremost is the role played by women in sustainable harvesting of NTFPs for increased socio-economic status.

BACKGROUND

In 1996, about 17.8 million of the Philippines’ population lived within the forest zone. The major segment of the population belongs to the poorest of the poor. Historically, these upland dwellers or forest occupants have contributed significantly to the degradation of the forest, but more importantly, they have the potential and they present a great challenge to be harnessed, motivated, mobilized and sustained to become an effective force in forest rehabilitation and conservation.

At present there are almost 18 million forest dwellers in the Philippines who are primarily dependent on the collection and sale of NTFPs for their livelihoods. The majority of these forest dwellers belong to the so-called Filipino indigenous cultural communities (ICCs). Rattan, vines and other non-timber forest products are for generations part of the life and culture of the country’s indigenous people, viz. the Alangan Mangyans of Mindoro, the Batak-Tagbanuas of Palawan, Agta-Dumagats of Cagayan Valley, Manobo of Agusan, Tiboli of south Cotobato, and Bilaan of Davao. Their traditional utilization of NTFPs has transcended time; despite modernization, many IPs still cling to their old beliefs and practices. These are reflected in the use and manufacture of NTFPs into household wares and other indigenous articles.

The rapid loss of NTFPs in recent years has continuously stripped these tribes of potential sources of livelihood necessary to augment their basic needs. They have no choice but to practise proper harvesting and utilization for sustainability of supply. Being closely associated with the forest for generations, they should be regarded as the rightful forest inhabitants amidst our flora and fauna.

The impetus of gender issues has been increasingly popular in our society, hence the centrefold by the women in sustainable harvesting of NTFPs is hereby given emphasis in this presentation. In recent years, a number of investigations, workshops and seminars on gender roles have been conducted here and abroad.

However, those studies focused mainly on gender relation in farming activities across the country. No studies have ever been conducted on gender concerns in harvesting NTFPs. Since the NTFPs’ contribution to the economic development is significant, it is essential that the needs, resources and constraints of forest product collectors be identified to further improve their efficiency and productivity.

NTFPs AS ALTERNATIVE LIVELIHOOD SOURCES-THE CASE OF THE FPRDI-ITTO PROJECT

The "Collection, Utilization and Trade of Tropical Non-Timber Forest Products in the Philippines", ITTO Project PD-15/96, was undertaken by the Forest Products Research and Development Institute of the Philippines. The objective of this project is to address the apparent lack of documented information available on NTFPs in the country, their availability, volumes and regeneration cycles, and the revenues and marketing practices associated with them. The project activities were undertaken in the four project areas located in the concession areas of the Industries Development Corporation (IDC), Aurora Province; the San Jose Timber Corporation (SJTC), Western Samar; Surigao Development Corporation (SUDECOR), Surigao; and in an area granted by the government to the Nagkakaisang Tribo ng Palawan (NATRIPAL). Other satellite areas were also established in the provinces of Quezon, Masbate and Bukidnon. Table 3 shows some of the collected NTFPs by forest occupants in the project site and selected areas.

NTFPs-COLLECTION AND SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES

NATRIPAL in Palawan

Palawan is the largest of the Philippines’ provinces with a land area of 1.49 million ha comprising about 1300 islands. It is also one of the country’s least developed provinces, but recent national transmigration policies, civil unrest in neighbouring Mindanao and a developing oil business have all contributed to an increase in the population which now totals around 700 000 growing at a rate of 3.5 percent per annum (comprising 50 percent immigrants).

Table 3. Information gathered from project sites and selected areas where occupants are engaged in the collection of selected NTFPs*

NTFP

Collected

Vol. extracted per month (ave.)

Average income divided per month (per family)

System of training

Frequency of collection

Almaciga resin

Solely by men

90 kg

P400 (US$7.40) (during months of Jan., Feb., Mar. and Apr.
P250 (US$4.60) (for the rest of the year)

Via licensee

Per advised by "kapatas" or middleman

Rattan (12 ft. long, assorted species)

Jointly by men and women

120 poles

P600 (US$11.10)

Contract basis

As order comes from "kapatas" and traders

Wild honey

Solely by men

30 containers (5 gal each container)

P7500 (US$138.90) (for the whole honey gathering season, viz. March, Arpil and May)

Contract basis

Seasonal (March to May)

Bamboos

Jointly by men and women

3000 pcs.

P1200 (US$22.20)

Contract basis

As order comes

Canarium resins

Jointly by men andwomen

50 kg

P1700 (US$31.50)

Contract basis

Every 15 days or as per advised by "kapatas" or middlemen

Anahaw leaves

Jointly by men and women

2000 pcs. of leaves

P2000 (US$37.00)

Contract basis

As order comes

Vines






- hinggiw

Jointly by men and women

700 pcs. at 30 ft long (P140/100 pcs.) = US$2.6/100 pcs.

P900 (US$16.65)

Contract basis

As order comes

- lukmoy and hagnaya

-do-

800 pcs. at 30 ft long (P85/100 pcs.) = US$1.58/100 pcs.

P700 (US$13.00)

Contract basis

As order comes

* US$1.00 = P54

Palawan was actually exempted from the nationwide logging ban imposed in 1989. However, under the 1994 Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan, logging has since been banned, and through this Plan, emphasis is being given to the integration of communities within the forest management framework. In effect, the result has been that large areas of what was previously timber resource land are now being claimed by native people under the Plan’s social forestry programme. An example of this is found in Punta Baja, a community located about 200 km southwest of Puerto Princesa, the capital city of Palawan. Here, with the assistance of NATRIPAL, an association of indigenous groups of Palawan, over 15 000 ha of former forest concession have been granted to the local community.

The important products for the Punta Baja community are NTFPs. Foremost is almaciga resin and it was for this, primarily, that the land was granted. The almaciga trees (Agathis philippinensis) are located a day’s walk from the village and around 75 percent of the community, both men and women, are involved in collecting the resin over the four-month harvesting season from January to April. Tapping is strenuous work. Steep slopes have to be scaled to reach almaciga trees growing at elevations of up to 2000 m. A tapper does 15 to 22 trees in one day and may actually cover as much as 600 trees during his stay in the forest. The demanding nature of this activity, however, does not preclude the participation of women and sometime children from tapping. According to one man, women join tapping forays if they need money to buy something they fancy. The volume of resin gathered and carried on their backs is much less; however, women or wives of tappers are more involved in the lighter side of making/preparing the resins for sale like sorting, grading and packing. But what really is considered the sole domain of the women or wives of tappers is the overseeing of financial matters like buying the materials for packing the resins, paying wages and giving cash advances to the helpers. In other words, the female is in charge of the financial and quality control aspects. The sacks of resin collected, which normally weigh 45 kg each, are transported initially to the warehouse at Punta Baja and from there on to NATRIPAL in Puerto Princesa. NATRIPAL pays the community five pesos (US$0.12) per kg of resin. It is then sold to exporters in Manila or Cebu for double that price. Most of the resin is sent abroad for processing into paints and varnishes.

Almaciga resin tapping is only permitted under license; all harvested resin has to be registered with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) prior to its sale. In granting the land to the people of Punta Baja, the community was also granted the license to harvest almaciga.

Rattan: an invaluable product to the IPs

Rattan, the most economically important forest species after timber, plays a pivotal role in the life and culture of the indigenous people. The harvesting of rattan in the Philippines also requires a license. In Punta Baja, at least seven different rattan species are harvested; the species and quality are determined by specific orders received from wholesalers in Puerto Princesa. Like other Filipino indigenous cultural groups, the Batak-Tagbanua in Palawan regard rattan as a major source of livelihood. The government awarded the natives a permit to operate a 10 000 ha rattan plantation in the area. Bundles of rattan are gathered in the forest by groups of men. Each group is designated an identified and definite area to work on. Before a rattan pole is cut, the group assesses first if it can be collected in full length. Otherwise, it is left for seed production. A harvesting cycle of two years is being followed by rattan gatherers in each particular area. Rattans are transported either by foot or by carabao skidding and/or with the assistance of rivers and creeks in the area. This permits the natives to transport rattan poles using rafts to pre-arranged collection points. The participation of women and sometimes children in the rattan industry cannot be overlooked. The women perform the cleaning which include scraping, sorting, grading, splitting and drying. Foremost, however, is that women play a very important role in weaving and fabricating rattans into baskets, backpacks, containers and other useful handicrafts. On the other hand, children, especially out-of-school youths help their parents in collecting rattan poles and in cleaning in preparation for binding and stacking. Spilt rattan is sold at around P25 (US$0.60) per 100 pieces and the community members who harvest the rattan are paid half the selling price. Assorted rattan species of 12-feet long and 3/4-inch diameter are sold at P4 (US$0.07) per pole and P6 (US$0.12) per pole for 5/8- inch diameter poles. A gatherer gets an average income of P500 (US$9.26) per month. The species of rattan found in the area are Calamus and Daemonorops.

Another NTFP available in the project areas is bamboo, especially buho (Schizostachyum lumampao). It is used widely, particularly for making "sawali" mats that are woven by the women of the community and used for walls, doors and flooring. The standard size of a sawali is approximately 8 x 2.5 m; about 75 percent of those produced in Punta Baja are sold at P300 (US$5.56) each and the rest are used domestically. Buho is harvested from the ancestral domain of the IP. A gatherer can cut 200 pieces of 2-m long buho a day. Buho is sold to the traders in the market at P35 (US$0.65) for a bundle of 50 pieces. For 200 pieces the gatherer gets P140 as gross income. He spends P15 (US$0.28) for transportation and P5 (US$0.09) for the permit from the DENR. A gatherer earns a net income of P120 (US$2.22) from trading buho piles. Flattened bamboo shingles are also traded at P60 (US$1.10) per bundle of 10 pieces.

Tiger grass, or locally known as lasa (Thysanolaena maxima), is also available in the project area. This grass is a very suitable material for making brooms. Previously this grass was simply collected and sold in bundles in Puerto Princesa for P5 (US$0.09) each. However, a recent training session by the EU funded Palawan Tropical Forest Protection Programme has enabled the community to increase their profits in the fuller utilization of lasa. The programme has demonstrated to the women of the community how they can make brooms from the tiger grass. The women sell the brooms instead at P35 (US$0.65) each, a significant increase in the value added to the raw material.

Another economically important forest product for the Punta Baja community is honey. Honey gathering in Palawan is a male-dominated activity with the women participating only in processing and marketing. A typical honey gathering expedition starts with an individual or a group of two to three members (usually family members) who go out to the forest and locate dense areas of flowering trees. Foremost of these are manggis trees (Koompassia excelsa). Manggis is found widely in Palawan but not elsewhere in the Philippines and this honey is therefore a local specialty. With the assistance of rattan hoists, the trees are climbed and the nests lowered on pulleys. Usually this takes place at night when the bees are less active. Up to four different nests may be found on one tree, each could yield around 4 litres of honey; 20 litres of honey sell at around P250 (US$4.62). Among all forms of NTFP gathering in Palawan, honey gathering is considered a premium activity. It brings the gatherers a quick cash conversion per unit time spent, there is not much capital and equipment needed and the job is considered light since the most laborious part is only the climbing and the work is looked upon as an enjoyable activity. For these reasons, the honey season is a period much anticipated among the indigenous communities.

Other NTFPs collected by the IPs as alternative livelihood sources

Vines gathered and traded by the IPs especially in Aurora Province are hagnaya (Stenochlaena palustris) and hinggiw (Ichnocorpus ovati). These vines are mostly gathered from the higher elevations. Long before the scarcity of rattan was felt by the natives, vines, aside from other benefits derived from them, were used to accentuate the rattan’s natural beauty. For instance, nito (Lygodium spp.) is used to wrap the 200-m rattan coil of the yakis worn by the Alangan women. Collection of vines is usually done by men. The women do the cleaning, sorting, and splitting of vines into desired sizes prior to weaving into baskets, decorative items and other handicrafts. Most of the time, the quality of vines harvested is determined by the demand placed on them. Vine gatherers are willing to supply the buyers with the needed volume of orders, be they for manufactured items or not.

Canarium resin

Tapping of resin from Canarium species provides livelihood for the people of the Bondoc Peninsula, Alabat Island and Masbate, where the trees abound in between coconut plantations and occasionally in secondary forests. Each family owns and taps an average of 15 trees found in their backyard. Because of the availability of Canarium trees in the communities, unlike almaciga trees where steep slopes have to be scaled to reach the naturally growing trees at elevations of up to 2000 m, participation of women and even children in tapping Canarium resin activity is common. Tapping methods were crude and unscientific but have been improved. An average of 28 kg of resin is collected every 15 days from 15 trees. A family generates an income of P1770 (US$32.78) per month from the sale of Canarium resins. Resin traders, on the other hand, store their purchased resin in warehouses where they finally sell it to buyers in Metro Manila at P40 to P45 (US$0.74 to 0.83) per kg. A leading buyer of Canarium resin based in Gumaca, Quezon Province, normally exports 8 tonnes of Canarium resin per month to Europe, specifically France. To rectify the crude practices of tapping and harvesting Canarium resins and likewise avert possible loss of Canarium trees in the areas, the Project Management of the FPRDI-ITTO Project has conducted seminars/workshops on the proper techniques of tapping Canarium resins, with the international trade name of "Manila elemi" (Table 4).

Anahaw leaves

Anahaw (Livistonia rotundifolia) is a palm species reaching a height of 20 m. Its large fan-shaped leaves are used by the natives, the Agta-Dumagats, as the main material for building their houses’ roofs and walls. A mature anahaw plant yields an average of 30 saleable leaves. The total number of leaves harvested depends mostly on the orders placed by the buyers. A big leaf costs P1 (US$0.02), while a small one costs 80 centavos (US$0.01). A partial advanced payment for the ordered anahaw leaves is usually requested by the Agta-Dumagats to support their daily necessities. The remaining balance of payment is made upon delivery of the product. Anahaw leaves are transported in bundles of 100 leaves per bundle using a sled pulled by a carabao. Collections are performed by men and husbands of Agta-Dumagats. In the case of farmers and forest settlers in Bondoc Peninsula, collection of anahaw leaves is a strong alternative source of income. The frequency of collection is once a week with 300 pieces of anahaw leaves per collection or 1200 leaves per month. The collected leaves are transported from the collection site to the weavers’ houses either by foot or carabao skidding. Weaving of anahaw leaves into fancy fans, wall decors and other decorative items is normally done by women and children. They weave 2000 pieces of export quality fans per month and sell them at P1.10 (US$0.03) a piece. Though the system is on order basis, a family of anahaw fan weavers earns P2000 (US$37.03) per month.

Table 4. Impact assessment of harvesting/training and seminar conducted on selected NTFPs

NTFP

Economic impact

Environmental impact

Social impact

Canarium resin tapping

* Increased income of tappers which could be attributed to higher quality resin yield
* Increased resin yield/volume of resin production

* Lessened environmental problem by minimizing the unscrupulous system of resin tapping,thus helps in the conservation programme of the government

* Generated more employment to engage in resin tapping
* Increased/improved ties among Canarium permittees/tappers and concerned government officials

Almaciga resin tapping

* Increased income of tappers owing to good quality resin produced

* Prolonged life of the tree
* Sustained production of resin by minimizing crude system of

* Increased number of resin tappers/generated more employment

* Improved resin yield especially as far as cleanliness of resin is concerned

resin tapping

* Developed stronger camaraderie among resin licensees,traders, tappers and concerned government officials

Honey processing

* Less effect on the part of honey collectors especially IPs because they believed that other form of cleaning or heating destroys the honey’s taste and medicinal value

* Hygienic practice of honey processing is environmentally friendly

* Less patronized by people especially IPs who still appreciate the old and traditional practices of processing by pressing the honeycomb to extract the honey

Anahaw leaves and weaving them into fancy and decorative items

* As primary source of income farmers became full time anahaw fan weavers

* Sustained production of more anahaw leaves by selective process of collecting anahaw leaves

* Generated employment

Bamboo processing (for house and poultry cage construction, bamboo mats or sawali and bamboo crafts)

* Abundance in the country, especially kauayan tinik and buho species, offered a big potential for its utilization thereby a source of living for people especially in the rural areas

* Proper collection of the material sustained its production and likewise reduced health hazard problems of the people and the community

* Generated employment and developed strong ties among bamboo growers, traders, entrepreneurs and private and government officials working on bamboos either on production or utilization aspect

Rattan processing (for furniture, handicrafts)

* High potential and lucrative furniture/handicraft for both export and domestic purposes,hence increased income of rattan growers and entrepreneurs and ultimately the national income of the government

* Maximizing the processing of rattan is environmentally friendly and helps in the conservation programme of the government

* Generated employment

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES

Rattan

In harvesting rattan, specific areas are assigned to a particular group. Cutting is done in groups. The poles are carefully selected and are cut every two years. The IPs spare young and juvenile rattans from being cut. Replanting is required a year before harvesting is done. They replant seedlings from fallen germinants to replenish what have been cut or harvested. Further, they are also responsible for weeding the area around the rattan clumps and providing trees for clinging.

Bamboos

Sustainable practices in the course of harvesting bamboos like that for spiny bamboo include the removal of spiny branches in and around the lower portion of the clumps and decongestion of the clumps. The latter involves the removal of high stumps from previous harvestings and cutting of deformed and overmature culms. For all species of bamboos, harvesting mature culms and in the right season sustains their productivity. Further, the people, like in the case of rattan, replenish what have been cut or harvested by continued replanting of bamboos.

Almaciga and Canarium resins

In the course of tapping or extracting resins, the IPs normally injure the trees to the extent of reaching the cambial layer. With a damaged cambium, the cut will not heal or if it does, very slowly, exposing it to insect and fungal attacks. They deep tap, overtap and frequently rechip causing extensive wounds through which woodrotting organisms can enter and colonize the trees. To rectify the crude practices of tapping and harvesting almaciga and Canarium exudates and avert possible loss of the trees in the areas, seminars/workshops and training on proper techniques of tapping resins have been carried out. The training also aimed for sustained productivity of resins.

Anahaw leaves

While most of the forest settlers do not practise any system of sustaining the NTFPs at their disposal, it is interesting to note, however, that their harvesting and trading activity are based only on the number of orders dictated by buyers. As in the case of anahaw leaves, they only utilize what is needed. Gathering of anahaw leaves is a good source of income for the farmers and forest settlers considering the availability of resources. The IPs extract only leaves from the tall and mature palms, which are usually found in the interior of the mountains. Moreover, leaves of young anahaw palms are spared from being cut.

Tiger grass

Massive planting of tiger grass has been practised by the forest dwellers to have a continued supply of raw material for making brooms and other fancy products, like souvenirs.

Gender roles in harvesting NTFP

It was observed that women play a significant role in harvesting some of the country’s NTFPs. In the past, collection of resins by tapping the trees was solely performed by men due to the strenuous work involved. Nowadays, however, tapping for resins is already done by women and even children, especially for Canarium resins. The most common role of the women in the harvesting scheme is scrapping and gathering of NTFPs like resins from the forest floor. It was estimated that out of the total collection of NTFPs, about 75 percent is executed by women alone. Most of their participation, however, as mostly on cleaning, scrapping, sorting and weaving for handicrafts. Further, it was observed that the productivity of the NTFPs collected by women and children is relatively stable in the project sites visited.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

The Punta Baja community in Palawan Province is just one example of a group of IPs who are capitalizing on the diversity of local forest products. Other activities of the same origin are also being carried out not only in Palawan but throughout the archipelago. Not all the products collected will justify significant investment, but in some cases, simple development techniques will be enough to make a significant increase to the incomes of the communities.

The role of NTFPs in the economic subsistence of the indigenous cultural communities cannot be set aside. The dearth of information available on NTFPs, viz. population, occurrence, distribution, regeneration, productivity and marketing practices associated with them, is apparent. It is imperative therefore that the traditional forest dwellers should actively participate in the control and management of NTFPs, based on a certain level of knowledge on sustainable development.

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Philippine Forestry Statistics. 1999. Diliman, Quezon City, Forest Management Bureau (FMB), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). 242 pp.

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Prebble, C., Ella, A.B. & Subansenee, W. 1999. Making the most of NWFP. Newsletter from the ITTO. Yokohama, Japan. ITTO Tropical Forest Update Vol. 9, No. 1: 4-8.

Razal, R.A. 2000. Non-timber forest products utilization: easing pressures on tropical forests. Proceedings of the 1999 Anniversary and National Convention, pp. 193-206. Diliman, Quezon City, Society of Filipino Foresters, Inc.


[6] Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), College, Laguna 4031, Philippines; E-mail: fprdi@laguna.net

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