Perspectives from the Philippines

Edited by Antonio La Viña • Jose Andres Canivel • Donna Paz Reyes

The Anthropocene, or the age of man, as proposed current epoch characterizes the dominant influence of humans on climate and the environment. The anthropogenic nature of the global climate crisis and cross-cutting socio-environmental challenges have highlighted the historical imprints of humanity on the natural world. The Philippines is no stranger to the unfortunate reality of an increasingly warmer planet, rising sea levels, deforestation, and forest and landscape degradation.

Forests in the Anthropocene: Perspectives from the Philippines shares a compendium of Filipino interdisciplinary scholarship on the interplay of forest and people in the age of mankind. This book, composed of six chapters, aims to provide local accounts of human and forest dynamics, and probe into the historical trajectories and conservation experiences within the mosaics of forest landscapes across the archipelago.

The diverse configurations of forests are the living heritage and beating landscape of our collective history and aspirations as peoples. It is hoped that this book drives different sectors toward a deeper appreciation, social commitment, and collective action for the protection and conservation of the Philippine forests.

Forest Conservation in the Philippines:

Linking People, Forest, and Policies

Juan M. Pulhin • Ma. Louiella Rose Catudio • Perlyn M. Pulhin-Yoshida

As the Earth progresses into a new geologic epoch called the Anthropocene, the Philippine forestry sector faces greater challenges as deforestation and forest degradation become more apparent.

Severe and irreversible impacts from human-induced activities have ushered the country into this new epoch, shaped by colonization, industrialization, modernization, commoditization, and various laws and policies throughout history.

This chapter provides an overview of the intricate relationship among people, forests, and policies viewed through the lenses of social, political, economic, and cultural influences in the Anthropocene.

Juan M. Pulhin, PhD is full professor, UP Scientist III, and former dean of the College of Forestry and Natural Resources in the University of the Philippines Los Baños. He has co-authored or co-edited 12 books and written more than 120 peer-reviewed articles on various topics including community-based forest management, natural resource governance, forest rehabilitation, climate change, and disaster risk management.

Ma. Louiella Rose Catudio obtained her bachelor’s degree in forestry from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). She is currently a graduate student of forestry specializing in silviculture and forest influences in the same university.

Perlyn Pulhin-Yoshida holds a master’s degree in environmental science and bachelor’s degree in development communication. She has more than 18 years of international & local work experience in environmental research, science-policy initiatives, knowledge management, communications & development.

A networked landscape?:

Using Relational Structures to Examine the Implementation of Community-based Forestry Projects in the Mount Kalatungan Mountain Range

Le Anh Nguyen Long • Catherine Diaz • Mart Thomas Kyle P. Markines

Worldwide, indigenous peoples leverage different knowledge bases, including scientific and indigenous knowledge systems and practices, to sustain their forests.

This chapter illustrates how social network analysis (SNA) can be used as a project evaluation tool from the outset and in intervals of indigenous peoples’ forestry projects. It applies this approach to two projects which engage with six community-based forestry initiatives in the Mt. Kalatungan Mountain Range.

Probing into the relationship between local and landscape-wide action, this chapter aims to shed light on the social structures and positional qualities that facilitate leadership and collaboration in forest governance.

Le Anh Nguyen Long, PhD is a Professor of Public Administration at the University of Twente, Netherlands. She received a joint PhD in public policy and political sciences from Indiana University, Bloomington. Her most recent publications are featured in Bioessays, Global Environmental Politics, Policy Sciences, and Public Administration Review.

Catherine Diaz is a researcher and environmental scientist. She has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Central Mindanao University.

Mart Thomas Kyle P. Markines is a researcher and project coordinator. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Xavier University–Ateneo de Cagayan.

Protecting the environment:

An Exploration of the Roles, Motivations, and Lived Experiences of Forest Guards in the Philippines

Gideon Lasco

Despite the existence of forest guards or “bantay gubat” as field-level implementers of environmental policies all over the country, and despite the violence they face, little scholarship has been done to document their motivations, roles, and lived experiences.

This chapter seeks to fill this void by presenting findings from a multi-sited qualitative study, in which 12 focus group discussions were conducted among forest guards in Luzon and Northern Mindanao.

Common themes that emerged include the sense of financial, physical, and legal vulnerability, lack of recognition, the role of politics in their work, and a range of motivations including a strong sense of identity and a conception of the mountains as “home.”

Gideon Lasco, PhD is a physician, medical anthropologist, mountaineer, and columnist who writes about health, medicine, culture, society, and the Philippines. He teaches anthropology at the University of the Philippines Diliman and is currently a research fellow at the Ateneo de Manila University Development Studies Program. He recently authored The Philippines is Not a Small Country, a collection of his thought-provoking essays, published by Ateneo de Manila University Press.

Indigenous forest livelihoods in the anthropocene:

Social-Ecological Assessment of Abacá and Giant Honey Bee Indigenous Forest Enterprises Through a Transdisciplinary Approach

Denise Margaret S. Matias • Hanna Claudine Gallardo • Sean Alain Betonio • Mar Xyle Marisse Bacas

In the Anthropocene, it is worth exploring forest livelihood projects that promote multiple forest products and see whether they are more beneficial for forest-dependent peoples and their forest in the long-term than projects that only focus on one forest product.

Focusing on honey from giant honey bees (Apis dorsata F.) and hinabol from abacá (Musa textilis) plants, this research assessed how mobile (giant honey bees) and immobile (abacá plants) agents shape both the livelihoods of indigenous peoples and the ecological integrity of a community forest landscape.

This chapter shows that diversified livelihoods contribute to the ethnocompetitiveness of the Higaonon community and could decrease natural resource exploitation pressure on a single forest product while maintaining forest cover.

Denise Margaret S. Matias, PhD was the project director of BEST Forests and is a Professor for Ecosystem-based transformation management in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development, Germany. She graduated with a doctoral degree in agricultural sciences from the University of Bonn, Germany.

Hanna Claudine C. Gallardo was one of the Research Assistants of BEST Forests. She has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan and currently an on-call field researcher at Xavier University - McKeough Marine Center.

Sean Alain D. Betonio has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan. He was a research assistant of BEST Forests and is currently a technical assistant in Xavier University - McKeough Marine Center handling the Mangrove Rehabilitation in Macajalar Bay project.

Mar Xyle Marisse Bacas was a research assistant of BEST Forests. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan.

Exploring the Nexus Approach in Forest Conservation and Energy Access for Policy Integration and Coherence in the Philippines

Manuel Peter S. Solis

The forest conservation and energy access nexus, with climate change looming large in the horizon, is considered as one of the paramount concerns in the Anthropocene. The imperatives to adapt to and mitigate the changes spawned by the Anthropocene put pressure on legal systems to respond and adjust.

The forest conservation and energy access nexus remains unexplored in the context of the the Philippines’ institutional, legal, and policy frameworks, which is reflected in the lack of research and literature looking into such linkages.

This chapter introduces the nexus approach for the first time as an analytical and exploratory tool; it propounds that such an approach has the potential to uncover the gaps in the forest and energy policy environment and enhance integration and coherence to attain common or shared objectives.

Manuel Peter S. Solis, PhD is affiliated with the Manila Observatory as a Senior Research Fellow. He was a tenured law lecturer at the University of Adelaide Law School from 2015 to 2019, where he obtained his PhD in Law.

Examining Sustainability Issues in the Water-Dependent Economy of Downstream Sectors in the Cagayan de Oro River Basin

Catherine Roween C. Almaden

Meeting the water demands of growing cities requires not only large quantities of high-quality water for domestic use, but also large volumes of water for industrial production and commercial uses. These competing demands pose enormous challenges to the social, political, and physical environment.

Interrelated sustainability issues are examined in the case of the downstream water users in the Cagayan de Oro River Basin (CDORB), specifically Cagayan de Oro City (CDOC).

This chapter applies the systematic literature review method, in which existing studies are aggregated, reviewed, and assessed, to identify, critically appraise, and summarize the existing data about the CDORB and the water users in CDOC on the status of interrelated pressures to water management that pose sustainability issues needed for more holistic and responsive policy and regulation.

Catherine Roween Chico-Almaden, PhD is currently the College President of the Northern Bukidnon State College. Prior to that, she was employed for 21 years at Xavier University–Ateneo de Cagayan, where she served as Graduate School Dean, Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Higher Education, Assistant Dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, and Economics Department Chairperson.

Summary for Decision Makers

It is deemed that the recommendations set forth in this book present invaluable insights drawn from national, local, and institutional case narratives using community and academic perspectives that will be useful inputs for conservation practitioners and policy actors. The brochure summarizes these policy recommendations aimed to support decision makers.

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in the Anthropocene book

This book is part of the Forest Foundation Philippines’ Learning Landscapes Program that aims to apply critical and interdisciplinary lens in documenting lessons and sharing insights from supporting and implementing forest conservation projects in some of the critical landscapes in the country.

About the Editors

Jose Andres Canivel, JD is the Executive Director of Forest Foundation Philippines. He has more than 15 years of experience in environmental advocacy and policy development. He obtained his Juris Doctor (JD) degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.
Antonio G.M. La Viña, JSD is a teacher, thinker, leader, lawyer, human rights and climate justice advocate, and social entrepreneur. He is currently the director of the Energy Collaboratory of the Manila Observatory, and formerly sat as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Forest Foundation Philippines.
Donna Paz T. Reyes, PhD is former chair of the Department of Environment of Miriam College. As professor, she teaches ecology, environmental science, ecotourism, environmental psychology, and environmental education.

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