FAO-EU FLEGT Programme

Filipino timber producers gain new skills to enhance legal timber production and livelihood generation


With abundant forest resources, Caraga is the foremost timber-producing region in the Philippines; however, it remains the country’s second poorest, owing to low local processing capacity and intricate legality requirements, limiting economic benefits and opportunities for timber producers. The resulting high poverty levels, in turn, drive illegal logging and other illicit activities, such as timber poaching and unregulated harvesting.

Recognizing the intersecting challenges of poverty and illegal logging, the FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme supported The Philippine Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development, Inc. (PCEPSDI) to offer targeted capacity building and technical assistance to timber producers in Caraga equipping them with the knowledge and skills to operate legally and benefit economically from legal and sustainable timber production.  

Laying the foundations for effective interventions

To understand the unique challenges that timber farmers and producers face in the Caraga Region, PCEPSDI, with support from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regional and Local Offices, undertook a series of on-site assessments to determine stakeholder needs and concerns. PCEPSDI found that challenges included:

-        Overlapping tenure between community-based forest management sites and indigenous people’s ancestral domain areas, 

-        High logistical and administrative of the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process required to renew community-based management agreements, including the requirement for an Environmental Compliance Certificate.

-        Expiration of tenure agreements due to complex requirements related to the updating of forest management plans and resource frameworks, 

-        Complex application processes for tenure of forest restoration sites established under the National Greening Program (NGP) 

Building capacity for legal compliance and economic benefits 

Based on the findings from the field visits, PCEPSDI identified key areas where timber producers and operators would benefit from enhanced capacity building. Through a six-day workshop, PCEPSDI trained 28 beneficiaries, consisting of forest tenure holders and private tree growers, on meeting national legal compliance requirements and the principles of sustainable forest management. PCEPSDI partnered with the Department of Trade and Industry to equip participants with business skills, including entrepreneurship, record-keeping, and creating financial statements.  Thanks to enhanced knowledge and skills, operators will be well-positioned to actively participate in legal markets that will provide economic benefits and improve their livelihoods. 

Following the workshops, PCEPSDI offered on-site mentoring and technical assistance to forest community beneficiaries, facilitating consultative meetings with key institutions and providing guidance in the application process for registering or renewing government permits necessary for conducting legal timber production. The team also supported the beneficiaries in understanding the free prior informed consent process. 

To create further opportunities for producers to benefit economically from their legally produced timber and wood products, PCEPSDI created the Philippines Green Pages – a directory of environment-friendly products and services. This platform links local timber producers directly with buyers and other actors that can help them improve market access. More direct market access should result in better prices, leading to improved income and employment and, ultimately, reducing the drivers of illegal logging.


Read more about the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme’s experiences, best practices, and lessons learned drawn from working with micro, small and medium enterprises and other areas of support here.

The FAO-EU FLEGT Programme of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations is a global demand-driven initiative that provides technical support and resources for activities that further the goals of the EU’s FLEGT Action Plan. The Programme is funded by the European Union, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the United Kingdom.

Since 2016 the FAO-EU FLEGT Programme has supported seven projects in the Philippines, amounting to over USD 465 000, primarily focusing on public legal and regulatory framework development and capacity building and institutional strengthening.