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6. Conclusions and recommendations

I. Several studies have already been carried out which provide an indication of the wood energy situation in the Philippines.

II. The household energy sector is regarded as the country's major energy consumer and fuelwood along with crop residues are regarded as valuable renewable and indigenous energy resources. There is a need, therefore, to ensure that this resource base is not degraded.

III. Women's participation, particularly in the household sector, is or perhaps even very evident, thus the participation of women in energy planning should be encouraged, institutionalized. Wood energy studies must always look into the effects of fuelwood on household health.

IV. The majority of the people depend on biomass not only for fuel but for other purposes as well, such as income generation, employment, rural enterprises, etc. Thus, there is a need for integrated and sustainable resource-oriented wood energy planning. Further, support services should be provided to the fuelwood industry since fuelwood is an important source of income for a majority of Filipino farmers. Concerned people in the government should work together to address problems associated with woodfuel trading, including the wage structure.

V. The DENR has adopted several policies related to fuelwood utilization and management, such as:

A. Timber Licensee Agreement holders have the privilege of harvesting timber, fuelwood, rattan and bamboo through a permit or lease wherein they are given a maximum of 1 million cubic meters of natural forest species within a year.

B. DENR projects in the upland areas adopt a community-based approach enabling the upland communities to manage the forest resources with minimal government intervention.

C. Areas with slopes above 50% with 1,000 meters elevations are considered old growth forests and critical watershed areas and are therefore regarded as prohibited zones. Planting of wood in these areas for fuelwood purposes has to be regulated.

VI. Area-based energy planning is a very worthy concept. A participatory approach is crucial to any sustainable development, however support mechanisms must be instituted by the government and other concerned groups to maximize meaningful participation. In general, it has been observed that policies are already sufficient but the problem is knowing how to implement them effectively.

VII. For planning purposes, care should be taken in determining the wood energy situation since a surplus in one area may not easily meet a deficit in another area due to distance and the economics of transportation. As such the formulation of more detailed studies at the local level is therefore appropriate.

VIII. The following are the results of the group discussions/workshops on policy actions, wood energy data base and strengthening of organizational structures referred to earlier:

· Forests/timberlands and agricultural tracks were considered to be the main sources of woodfuel production. People involved in the production of woodfuel should be affiliated with or included in the different programs of the DENR for the rehabilitation of degraded forests/timberlands such as the Integrated Social Forestry Program, Community Forestry Program, Forest Land Management Agreement, Community-Based Forest Management Agreement and Integrated Forest Management Agreement.

· To ensure effective woodfuel production from forest and agricultural lands, the government should extend financial subsidy, provide a seed fund from GFIs, lend/extend at low interest, provide exemption from payment of forest charges and review existing policies specifically on wood energy production, marketing and utilization.

· There is a need to nationalize the fuelwood plan in the context of the national forestation program.

· It is necessary to establish family woodlots/community fuelwood plantations as possible sites for the production of woodfuel. Support to R & D activities should be given to identify biomass-based resources that may be tapped as substitutes for fuelwood.

· Implementation or continuance of the contract reforestation activities with communities which was initially done under World Bank-supported projects should be undertaken to restore depleted areas and assure the sustainability of woodfuel resources.

· Intensify effective information dissemination and technological research and development on fuelwood consumption processes and efficient wood energy conversion devices.

· All information on fuelwood and related areas of concern should be collected/gathered from the different government and non-government agencies/entities and, after first being reviewed and scrutinized by the NWEWG, should be stored using state-of-the-art electronic data communication systems.

· Upgrade manpower capabilities of the people involved in wood energy activities through a series of education campaigns and intensive information drives.

· All government agencies and NGOs concerned with wood energy should create an internal coordinating unit to simplify and streamline all related activities. This coordinating body will handle all matters related to wood energy development programs. As such, an Executive Order is to be drafted creating a National Wood Energy Coordinating Body/Unit to formulate the legal framework for coordinating and giving direction to all plans, programs and projects on Wood Energy Development and Management.

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