Asia model forests project
ULOT WATERSHED MODEL FOREST, PHILIPPINES
Samar Island, Republic of the Philippines
Area: 86,514 ha Population: i12,632 Per capita income: USD 65-99 Forest resources: 15,300 ha protected closed lowland dipterocarp forest; 39,500 ha open and semi-closed secondary forest; 18,700 ha brushland and cultivated areas (buffer zone); 13,014 ha private land. Samar Island is one of 18 Centres of Plant Diversity and Endemism. Infrastructure: 2,223 households and 23 forest-edge communities. Accessible by road through Paranas-Taft Highway and south coastal road. Interior reached by Ulot and Can-avid rivers or by hiking.
Ulot Watershed MF is located in Central Samar Island, covering two provinces (Eastern and Western Samar) and five municipalities (Can-avid and Taft, Eastern Samar, and Hinabangan, Paranas and Motiong, Western Samar ). Samar Island is one of the most important islands in the country for flora and fauna, especially bird conservation, and provides a sanctuary for the endangered Philippine Eagle. It is the third largest of 11 major watersheds in Samar Island, covering an aggregate area of 86,514 ha, and is mainly located within the buffer zone of the UNDP/GEF Samar Island Biodiversity Project (SIBP). In February 1996, the rainforests on Samar island were declared a Forest Reserve to protect against commercial logging and exploitation.
The MF aims to demonstrate sustainable forest and land use within a broader conservation context; strengthen the capacity of stakeholders to sustainably use and manage forest and land resources; and extend the community-based forest management (CBFM) intiatitive to the watershed level. The existing People's Organisations (PO) are the core of the MF partnership group. Good progress has been made in the development of the partnership group and of local-level C&I for SFM, including community-based monitoring of indicators. The Ulot MF field office is located at the DENR Region 8 office in Tacloban, with a field information centre at barangay San Rafael.
Important NWFPs include almaciga resin,, a potentially high-value resin collected from the Agathis dammara tree, and rattan, which is used for a variety of crafts for home and office use, and which provides a livelihood for many upland people.
In July 2000, a national inception workshop was held, attended by 35 participants. In the same year, a project management team was established, including a full-time field-based coordinator.
After preliminary consultations with stakeholders, the Ulot Watershed MF Stakeholders Federation was formed in March 2001, and is being registered as a legal entity. A Board of Directors and PO officers meet every month and members meet quarterly. Various committees have been formed to address specific concerns, including forest protection, health, livelihood, marketing, training, agroforestry, and planning.
Ulot MF has 29 partners, including 8 POs, 2 NGOs, 7 local government units, 6 government organizaations; and 6 other stakeholders (SIBP, media, Parents- Teachers Association, almaciga and rattan gatherers, and business sectors). The Ulot MF structure is shown in Fig 3.
ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED
- Conflicting tenurial instruments, including prior rights.
- Fragmented implementation of existing projects by various agencies.
- Inadequate livelihood opportunities and marketing.
- Inadequate SFM guidelines and policies.
- Lack of funds to address these issues.
- National inception workshop, July 2000.
- Establishment of project management team.
- Establishment and regular meetings of UWMF Stakeholders Federation.
- Identification of areas of cooperation and mutual interest with other organisations (e.g. SIBP).
- Organisation of training activities.
- Identification of NWFP-based livelihood activities, including rattan, bamboo, bariw, hagnaya and wild fern.
- Evaluation of livelihood activities (e.g. agro-forestry, coffee growing and rattan furniture making).
- Promotion of bamboo, including identification and consultation with stakeholders on bamboo production; and establishment of bamboo nursery.
- romotion of rattan, including rattan production; visit to rattan furniture-making areas; establishment of rattan nursery; and livelihood analysis.
- Establishment of vanilla stand (1,000 cuttings).
- Upgrading of rattan furniture and processing facilities.
- Training on rattan weaving, preservation, seasoning, treatment and finishing of rattan handicrafts.
- Training on rattan nursery and plantation establishment.
- Training on almaciga resin tapping.
- Training of 79 persons from 9 barangays in bamboo nursery operations, planting, maintenance and harvesting.
- 12 stakeholders from two barangays observed rattan furniture making in barangay Tenani.
- Study tour and documentation of almaciga resin tapping on Palawan and Samar Islands, and best practice rattan production on Samar Island.
- Review of forest and related policies, legislation and regulations, and their implications for SFM and the MF Approach.
- Development of C&I, including formation and training of C&I field teams; testing feasibility of selected indicators; review of data analysis guide; and final screening of indicators.
- Inventory of plants in Ulot and nearby watersheds via SIBP.
- Perimeter survey and issuance of Community-based Forest Management Agreements (CBFMA) for three barangays (Lokilokon, Casandig and Lawaan) in Ulot MF.
- Promotion of NWFPs, via nurseries, training and education.
- Identification and development of “best practice” guidelines for almaciga tapping and split rattan production.
- Preparation of information material (local dialect and English) via billboards, local newsletter, brochures, posters, comics etc.
- Establishment of information centers in San Rafael, Hinabangan and Calapi, Motiong, W. Samar.
- Translation of Guidelines for field-level C&I for MF into local dialect.