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Flexible Multi-Partner Mechanism

Good governance propels forest restoration in the Philippines

KEY IMPACTS

  • 100 hectares restored in San Marcos in Guatemala and 300 hectares restored in Southeast Petén in Guatemala through partnership with Balam Association and others.
  • 50 hectares of degraded forest rehabilitated, and 60 000 m2 of firebreaks created in Carood Watershed, the Philippines.
  • 37 Farmer Field School facilitators and 14 local government staff trained on technologies and good practices in Rwanda.
  • In Lebanon, abandoned terraces restored:405 km2 in the Shouf Biosphere Reserve,27 km2 in the Qadisha Valley, and 4 km2 in the municipality of El Maidthe.

Forests are integral to the provision of environmental, social and economic services to people in the Philippines. Alarmingly, forest cover declined from 16.9 million hectares in 1934 to 8.04 million hectares in 2015.

To address this problem, FAO, through its Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism (FLRM), is supporting the Government of the Philippines to achieve its national forest targets and address local demand.

Residents of the island province of Bohol have worked together to improve the flow of forest ecosystem services at the watershed level, with the support of the FMM. The watershed, with an area of 21 714 ha in the southeast part of Bohol Province, comprises the municipalities of Alicia, Candijay, Guindulman, Mabini, Pilar, and Ubay. Adjacent municipality Anda later joined the group, impressed by its work and results.

The Carood Watershed Model Forest Management Council (CWMFMC) has, since 2003, helped to facilitate a partnership among the seven municipalities and involves the local university, non-governmental organizations, youth organizations and national agencies. Barangays (the basic unit of government in the Philippines) and its captains are also involved in the programmes as custodians or focal persons in their respective areas.

CWMFMC members expressed enthusiasm for continuing FLR activities and municipal mayors said that co-management of the watershed had forged stronger cooperation among local governments and stakeholders.

“Through this FAO project, farmers learned good practices to better manage our landscape and they earned additional income,” said the chair of the CWMFMC, M. Marnilou S. Ayuban, during FAO’s last field visit to Bohol. “As trees are growing better with the Assisted Natural Regeneration practices promoted by the project, our children will benefit from our efforts.

It is important to increase current FLR investments in the upcoming years, as more than 7 000 hectares could be restored with the same techniques in our seven municipalities.”

Unlike conventional restoration approaches, FLRM aims to integrate forest restoration into broader environmental and socio-economic objectives within a landscape. Active participation of stakeholders at different levels is necessary to address competing land use interests and achieve both social and ecological objectives.

Addressing local people’s needs is at the core of CWMFMC’s initiatives. Rehabilitation of degraded lands from upstream to downstream ecosystems is a key priority of the council, which has exceeded its restoration targets through assisted natural regeneration in 50 hectares of degraded forestlands.

Around 20 hectares of fire lines have been established to help suppress forest fires. Additionally, Agave sisalana, which can generate income through fiber production, is planted along the firebreaks. The Council is also active in enterprise development through fruit wine production and assistance to communities in raising native poultry and swine. Coffee planting has started in some areas.

Communities and families are incentivized through the cultivation of crops in the firebreaks and contracts to conduct assisted natural regeneration activities by locating new seedlings and pressing Imperata cylindrica grass to facilitate their growth.