A 3000-hectare, community-based forest management (CBFM) project funded by ITTO in Buenavista, Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya, the Philippines has been hailed as a model in forest management.
The area is managed by the Federation of Vista Hills Kalongkong Upland Farmers Associations, Inc, with assistance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, local government units and other members of the Buenavista Upland Development Advisory Council (BUDAC).
Through community participation and with financial support, significant parts of the once marginal portion of the project site have been developed into plantations and agroforestry farms. Natural and secondary forests in the area are being better protected from illegal entry and poaching and enrichment planting is being carried out to assist the restoration of degraded forests.
Last year the project won the Model Sustainable Development Project Award offered by the Nueva Viscaya’s Provincial Council for Sustainable Development and now it has also won a similar award from the Regional Council for Sustainable Development. The Federation received the award at a ceremony earlier this week.
The implementation of CBFM is guided by a land-use and forest and biodiversity management plan and a local-level system of monitoring and evaluation. Five teams composed of members of the Federation and other BUDAC representatives monitor progress and impact of the project based on verifiable indicators and evidence under the following criteria:
• enabling policy and other institutional support;
• forest resources security;
• forest protection, biodiversity and soil and water conservation;
• sustainable flow of forest products; and
• socioeconomic and cultural well-being.
The ITTO project that supported the process (ITTO project PD 21/97 Rev.2 (F)) started in 1998 and management was turned over to the Federation in 2002. This model of community forestry in action has now become an important tool for communicating sustainable development experiences and lessons learned with the wider community, including other CBFM practitioners, students, researchers, trainees and foreign visitors.
Text based on an article by Benny G. Enriquez in The Philippine Star. For more information contact: Dr. Eva Muller, Assistant Director of Reforestation and Forest Management (email@example.com)