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SOME FACTS AND FIGURES
1. How much of the country’s total land is classified as forest land?
About 50 percent or 15 million hectares of the Philippines’ total land area is considered forest land. Approximately 47 percent of the land is classified as alienable and disposable, the rest remains unclassified. 1 2. How much of the country’s forest cover remains?
OF FORESTS AND TREES
Trees keep air fresh by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen. Rough estimates show that 18 to 20 hectares of watershed with good forest cover can supply the annual water needs of 1 hectare of irrigated rice field. One hectare of natural forest can sequester almost 1 ton of carbon per year (Lasco, et al., 2000). One hectare of gmelina plantation can capture about 8 tons of carbon/year (Lasco, et al., 2000). This is because trees in new plantations undergo rapid growth and, thus, absorb more carbon which they need to produce food. Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four. A large tree has the cooling power of 10 air conditioners. Trees lower temperature by providing shade as well as evaporating water in their leaves. Trees cut down noise pollution by acting as sound barriers. Trees improve water quality by slowing and filtering rain water as well as protecting aquifers and watersheds.
In 1900, an estimated 21 million hectares of the country’s total land area (30 million hectares) had forest cover. This declined to 5.4 million hectares (or 18.3 percent) by 1988. Recent official estimates showed the country’s forest cover increasing to 7 million hectares. 2 An alternative estimate (from the Food and Agriculture Organization) places the figure at 5.7 million hectares only. DENR says the rise in forest cover could be attributed to strong public awareness about the values of forests and the trees, especially after the Ormoc flashfloods in 1991. 3. How bad is land degradation in the country?
According to a 2004 World Bank Report, of the country’s total land area, 76 percent faces some extent of degradation. More than 5 million hectares are seriously eroded, resulting in 30-50 percent reduction in soil productivity and water retention capacity.
DENR-Forest Management Bureau, 2004 Based on 2002 satellite images of the entire country
The Philippines’ Green Environment
the Philippines ranks first in the world on the number of endangered endemic species of mammals and birds. there was a doubling in the economic value of nutrient loss due to soil degradation (from P635 million in 1988 to P1. What are some of the consequences of land degradation? The same World Bank Report said that from 1988 to 2000.4. in consultation with communities. 6. with direct damage caused by disasters estimated at P15 billion per year (between 1970 and 2000). which together account for between 60 and 70 percent of global biodiversity. How many Filipinos reside in or near forests? A 2004 World Bank reports says of the 52 percent of the country’s population living in rural areas. The USAID-assisted Philippine Environmental Governance (EcoGov) Project and the DENR help some Northern Luzon LGUs prepare and implement their FLUPs. The Philippines needs at least 45 percent forest cover to regulate its natural processes. the country has been identified as a biodiversity hotspot. 2004 2 The Philippines’ Green Environment . How “rich” is the country’s biodiversity? The Philippines is one of the world’s 18 “megadiversity” countries. One such plan is the Forest Land Use Plan (FLUP) where the DENR and the local government unit (LGU) take the lead in the process. 5. According to Haribon. 22 percent reside in or near forests. The Report added that land degradation has played an increasingly significant role in the incidence of natural disasters. Fifty-five of the 70 threatened bird species in the world are found only in the Philippines. These communities are consulted when plans related to forest management are prepared. because of rapid deforestation and conversion of forest land into other uses. 3 Bureau of Soils and Water Management. However. Majority of these Filipinos rely on forest resources for their livelihood. To compensate for this. fertilizer use increased from P41.16 billion in 2000).7 million in 1988 to P154 million in 2000 3 . on an acre-for-acre basis.
Allocation to address needs for public good (such as watershed reservations. co-management agreements). community watersheds. Allocation to local governments (such as communal forests. only the State can allocate the forests and forest lands for protection. Under the Regalian doctrine. 9. biodiversity reserves. What are the various categories of allocation for public lands? There are five major categories of allocation/tenure instruments for public lands. • 4 For examples and descriptions of commonly issued allocation instruments. Allocation is done by the State. included in your media kit. even with no authority. development and management either on a permanent or temporary basis. Who allocates public forests and forest lands? “Allocation” is assigning to a responsible resource manager certain sections of forest lands for a specific purpose. 8. tenure or allocation arrangements in order to better protect and manage forests. prepared after thorough study and consultations between and among various stakeholders. academic research agreements. Makiling Forest Reserve). and Allocation to other government agencies (such as military reservations. Open access areas are those not under any management arrangement where anybody. mainly through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). This plan. or the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). Land allocation responds to the need to close “open access” forests/forest lands. provides the basis for assigning forests/forest lands under different management. 10. Congress. other protected areas like the Kan-Laon National Park). see Allocating Forest Lands pamphlet. The Philippines’ Green Environment 3 . organizations or entities to put these areas into effective “on-site” management.7. land grants to state colleges/universities like the grant to the UPLB of jurisdiction over the Mt. many of which are issued by the DENR 4 . Office of the President. These are: • • • • Allocation to communities (such as Community-based Forest Management Agreements). “Open access” also refers to areas already allocated but have been abandoned by their assigned but negligent managers. Allocation to private sector (such as Industrialized Forest Management Agreement). Why allocate forests and forest lands? The State “allocates” public forests and forest lands to various interested individuals. What is the purpose of a Forest Land Use Plan? Coming up with recommendations and agreements on land allocations to close “open access” is the primary purpose of a Forest Land Use Plan. can just get in and out and exploit their resources without having any accountability.
the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment. such as town sites. 172 (44%) of the 395 bird species which breed in the Philippines are endemic to the country. possessed and used by individuals. occupied or possessed by ICCs/IPs. Brushlands – Refer to any tract of the production forest land covered dominantly with shrubby vegetation. Agricultural lands . forest destruction was in the average of 130. Ecology – The study of relationships among organisms and their environments. shifting cultivation. coastal areas and natural resources therein. the rest were adopted from the DENR-NRMP’s Forest Land Use Guidelines published in February 1997. which have been proclaimed by the President of the Philippines for specific purposes. by themselves or through their ancestors. Ancestral lands – Lands occupied. the genetic diversity within species and in the different ecosystems that they form. It leads to soil erosion and flooding. the survival of an organism or group of organisms. including all living and non-living components. otherwise known as the Public Land Act. Forest – Land with an area of more than 0. In the Philippines. 214 (73%) of the 298 reptiles and amphibians. an ecosystem can be large or small. families and clans who are members of the ICCs/IPs since time immemorial. etc. and 3. In the Philippines. held under claim of ownership. forest trees and/or livestock simultaneously or sequentially on the same unit of land for the purpose of creating employment opportunities for upland farm labor. CENRO (Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer) – The highest DENR official at the district level (would usually have jurisdiction over two or more municipalities). grazing. as amended. since time immemorial. One effect is droughts in Southeast Asia. Left to nature. Ecosystem – A community of organisms interacting as a functional unit. the level of endemism in the flora and fauna are extremely high. For example. Endemic species – Plants or animals peculiar to a locality or region. Civil reservations – Lands of the public domain. Most of these definitions were based on the Green Guide published by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism in 1998. Biological diversity or biodiversity – The variety of life forms found on this planet: the number of species. providing food and other products for home consumption and improving ecological conditions in the watersheds. Environment – The sum of all external conditions and influences that affect the development and. Ancestral domains – All areas generally belonging to indigenous cultural communities (ICCs)/ indigenous peoples (IPs) comprising lands. ultimately. sustenance crops and fodder. or found nowhere else in the world. an ecosystem will achieve a balanced state in which plants and animals live together. deforestation is occurring at an alarming rate: from 1989 to 1995 alone. Endangered species – Plant or animal species so few in number that they may become extinct. including the Philippines. producing raw materials for agriculture or forest-based industries. 5 4 The Philippines’ Green Environment .(in forest lands) Those areas which are extensively used for the production of cash crops.DEFINITION OF COMMONLY USED TERMS 5 Alienable or disposable land – Those lands of the public domain that have been limited. resettlement areas. Forest lands – Those lands of the public domain which have been classified as such by the Public Lands Act and all unclassified lands of the public domain. classified and declared as such and available for disposition under Commonwealth Act No. and a resulting drop in agricultural production.5 hectare and tree crown (or equivalent stocking level) of more than 10 percent.000 hectares per year.500 (44%) of the 8. Deforestation – The loss of tropical forests due to logging.000 flowering plants. Agroforestry – A land use management system which combines the production of agricultural crops. communally or individually. inland waters. 141. as are 115 (67%) of the 180 mammals. El Niño – A poorly understood recurrent climatic phenomenon that affects the Pacific coast of South America but appears to have a dramatic influence on weather patterns much farther afield as well. Aquifer – A geologic formation that holds water underground. all elements of which are interrelated regardless of the size.
conserve water and nurture wildlife. Industrial Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) – The Philippine government’s first step toward replacing the Timber License Agreement (TLA) system with “a more proactive. rational. PENRO (Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer) – The highest DENR official at the provincial level. to preserve genetic diversity. They are likewise known as rangelands. devoid of trees or with very few isolated trees. known as the NIPAS Act. except the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which administers its own autonomous environmental management program. and to maintain their natural conditions to the greatest extent possible. There is a PENRO in each province. fishponds). managed to enhance biological diversity and protected against destructive human exploitation. in view of their terrain and vegetation. Old growth forest – Natural forest which has not been subjected to timber harvesting or extraction. agroforestry. resource reserve. harvested. fishfarm. the natural and historic objects. Also known as virgin forest. conventions or international agreements which the Philippines is a signatory. mineral production. The NIPAS was established by RA No. Reforestration – The act of planting and caring for trees on bare or open land which used to be covered with forest growth. Forest resources – All natural resources. Watershed reservation/forest reserve/watershed forest reserve – Refer to a defined area in forest lands that has been proclaimed by law as such. Defined as “the agreement entered into by the DENR and a qualified person. burnt. development and management. commercial. Kaingin (slash-and-burn) farming – A farming practice where the forest is cleared. Grasslands – Refer to forest lands predominantly vegetated with grasses. and other categories established by law. Industrial tree plantation – Any forest land extensively planted to tree crops primarily to supply the raw material requirements of existing or proposed wood processing plants and related industries. The NIPAS Act has established the following categories of protected areas: strict nature reserve. The Philippines’ Green Environment 5 . to ensure sustainable use of resources found therein. It is synonymous with a catchment area or drainage basin. Watershed – An area or region bounded peripherally by mountain ridges and drained by a stream or fixed body of water and its tributaries having a common outlet for surface run-off. primarily to establish adequate vegetative cover that would prevent erosion. residential. National park – A forest reservation essentially of natural wilderness character which has been withdrawn from settlement. The primary land uses of forest lands are protection and production. resettlement. renewable for another 25. 7586. The DENR has regional executive offices in all regions except the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. in consideration of a specified rental. RED (Regional Executive Director) – The highest-level DENR official at the regional level. wildlife sanctuary. natural biotic areas. Production forest lands are subclassified. agriculture. whether biomass such as plants and animals or non-biomass such as soil and water. equitable. any forest land of the public domain in order to establish an industrial forest plantation. Protected areas – Identified portions of land and water set aside by reason of their unique physical and biological significance. grazing. Grazing lands – Forest lands designated. as well as the intangible services and values present in forest lands or other lands devoted for forest purposes. NIPAS (National Integrated Protected Areas System) – The classification and administration of all designated protected areas to maintain essential ecological processes and life support systems. to occupy and possess. for the raising of livestock.” It has a life of 25 years. natural park. overseeing both the PENRO and CENRO. including their allocation. protected landscape and seascapes.Forest land use – Refers to the manner of utilization of forest lands. wild animals and plants therein and to provide enjoyment of these features in such areas. occupancy or any form of exploitation except in conformity with approved management plan and set aside as such exclusively to conserve the area or preserve the scenery. Residual or second growth forest – Refers to natural forest which has been subjected to timber harvesting or extraction. according to their use. natural monument. and sustainable” management agreement for the country’s forest resources that would involve local communities. into the following categories: timber production. and other uses (industrial.
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