Local and national impacts of global climate change and biodiversity policies in the Philippines

OLLI SAASTAMOINEN1*, CELESTE LACUNA-RICHMAN1, KARI KANGAS1 AND KATI HÄKKINEN1
1 *

Faculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu Corresponding author, e-mail: olli.saastanoinen@forest.joensuu.fi

Abstract In analysing the local and national impacts of international agendas such as global climate change and biodiversity in the Philippines, the project has concentrated on three main aspects. These are forest policy and its framework, technical considerations in implementation related to carbon sequestration capacity of Philippine forests and biodiversity evaluation, and the socio-economic effects of field applications. The Philippines has played an active role in international agreements on biodiversity and climate change but the political framework is not favourable for implementing sound national policies. Large-scale reforestation efforts for carbon sequestration are not likely to fare any better than conventional reforestation has done (Saastamoinen). Initial models on carbon-balance and land use change were made (Kangas); carbon stocks and fluxes in the Philippines were modelled, concentrating on certain tree species. Tentative results suggest the high carbon sequestration potential of oldgrowth and secondary growth dipterocarp, natural pine forests and plantation species in both biomass and soil (Häkkinen). Application of policies and technical recommendations on the local level were examined. A preliminary conclusion based on the present capacity of the project, is that land tenure issues, local soil and climatic conditions, and rural communities’ preferences will determine the planting of trees more than national policies based on international agendas (Lacuna-Richman). Keywords: forest policy, carbon sequestration modelling, socio-economic effects, Philippines Background The Philippines has been a signatory to global biodiversity (e.g. CITES) and climate change (e.g. Kyoto Protocol) initiatives. However, it has not been able to implement these initiatives adequately nation-wide. There have been many factors blamed for this lack of success. Like most other developing countries, the Philippines does not have the economic resources and financial infrastructure to comply strictly with international standards. Besides that, the country also has an almost endless crises of policy implementation – wherein national policies regarding the environment and natural resources look good on paper but are seldom felt at the local level, especially in rural areas far removed from Manila. On a national scale, corruption within the government has been blamed for this, so has the lack of political will from elected officials, the protection of big business interests, and a non-existent population programme. On various local levels, other factors come into play, which are seldom taken into account in national policy. Among these are the preferred choice of tree species to be planted, the land ownership/tenure/availability situation that affects greatly any reforestation effort, the specific income needs of affected communities, and existing markets for forest products. For this project, the impacts of global change and biodiversity policies at the national and local levels were analysed, using various methods. Methods Since the project was concerned about the problem at various levels and from different aspects, 213

In developing countries such as the Philippines. The establishment of tree plantations has also been subject to economic equity issues. such as biodiversity or carbon sequestration concentrate on giving benefits to a target group. models of carbon sequestration and the socio-economic factors that affect forest use. migrant communities). Socio-economic factors affecting forest use Centralising the decision-making for reforestation is almost certain to make it a failure. since mostly more affluent farmers and corporations can afford growing these plantations. to receive more foreign aid). Carbon sequestration . However.4 Mg C/ha/yr. Sometimes these agendas. almost as much as most plantations. Discussion The emphasis on global agendas often leaves out the local implications of these agendas once governments “adopt” these agendas (e. Results The results of the project could again be grouped into three major categories: forest policy and policy framework. indicate that there are numerous risks in assuming that large-scale reforestation efforts for carbon sequestration would perform any better than conventional reforestation has done (Saastamoinen). the review of secondary data.g. Forest policy . can store substantial amounts of carbon in biomass. the ability of natural old growth dipterocarp forests to sequester carbon is considerable. historical and legal material were used (Saastamoinen). although there are common issues and realities that can be found. For forest policy analysis. the success of such plantations in the Philippines has been marginal at best.g. modelling with the use of secondary data was the main method of analysis. and multiple regression based on this data was used (Lacuna-Richman).Although the Philippines has taken a favourable attitude towards the international agrements on biodiversity and climate and promoting sustainable forestry. there was little difference found in the amounts of NWFPs harvested by indigenous and migrant forest communities. as expected. For example. and policies based on such a misconception can be harmful to both types of communities. Average net carbon flux was 0. and in many instances has to compete with other uses of land. since forest use varies considerably among localities. the applications tend to be very different at the local level. which may be feasible in developed countries. 3. as there is in actuality. without sufficient concern for the specifics of the local situation. the internal structure of the society and related political framework has not been conducive for agreeing upon. grown in plantations. 1. However.g. and in particular implementing sound national policies to achieve the goals. and secondary growth dipterocarp forests sequestered appproximately 2.25 Mg C/ha/yr and ranged 214 from negative to 1.Fast growing plantation forests sequestered more carbon than natural forests. However. Among the findings of this project are the dangers of such a general approach. there is much interrelation among the findings of the project. For example. However. rather than target beneficiaries (e. large income differences (in favour of migrants) were based more on legalisation of land tenure and the greater access to markets (to the advantage of migrants) (Lacuna-Richman). It often happens that such policies . the exotic Eucalyptus deglupta) that. the results of policy analysis done so far. The difference of non-wood forest product (NWFPs) use between indigenous and migrant forest communities in the same area was statistically insignificant. For modelling of carbon stocks and fluxes of the different Philippine forests the new CO2FIXmodel developed by EFI was used (Häkkinen). For the local socio-economic effects of national forest policy based on global agenda. women. Modelling the relationship between carbon balance and landuse changes were initiated (Kangas). a combination of primary data collected through field work.UNDERSTANDING THE GLOBAL SYSTEM the methods used for analysis also varied. 2. For an overview of the national situation.3 Mg C/ha/yr (Häkkinen). Häkkinen has isolated some key tree species (e. In the research of Lacuna-Richman.

93–102.paper presented at University of the Philippines at Los Banos Conference on Reforestation. Management and Policy 1. It is difficult to solve the dual problem existing that the forest situation in the Philippines would require that the government decentralise the decisions made about forest use to make policy more effective. but can be modified to specific soil and climate conditions. 2001. Using suitable projects in adding value to non-wood forest products in the Philippines: Copal (Agathis philippinensis) trade in Palawan. The forest policy formed should be fine-tuned to local situations while being at the same time accountable to a national authority to avoid conflicts in reforestation efforts.. 215 . Celeste (2001). and match local vegetation needs. One way to remedy this situation is to develop technologies that fulfil for instance. the low-paid primary collectors. Saastamoinen. Research Notes 135. Carbon stocks and fluxes of the Philippine forests. Faculty of Forestry. Faculty of Forestry. Celeste and Olli Saastamoinen. Incorporating Participatory Management in Reforestation Programmes for Carbon Trading in the Philippines. (2001). national forest policy which complies with global agendas. Lacuna-Richman. Kari (2001). Research Notes 135: 175–185. Celeste (2002). University of Joensuu Press. Research Notes 135: 87–103. Faculty of Forestry. Lacuna-Richman. Research Notes 135. Faculty of Forestry. References Häkkinen. Kangas. “backfire”. The socioeconomic significance of subsistence non-wood forest products in Leyte. The Role of Abaca (Musa textilis) in the Household Economy of a Forest Village. Saastamoinen. Tropical Forests Facing New Modes of Governance in the Global Era. Research Notes 135. however there is a continuous danger of implementation failures and a lack of co-ordination between the different policy priorities. Rodel Lasco and Olli Saastamoinen (2002). Celeste (2002). Hawaii). Concept Mapping in Exploring the Risks of Carbon Trade Reforestation. Linking International Agendas with Local Concerns in Forestation (submitted manuscript . takes a low priority compared to more immediate livelihood concerns such as the few existing forests provide.. Celeste. while giving leeway to other groups such as migrants to become more well-compensated middlemen. at the same time that it has to take into account all the various local situations to have a more comprehensive and integrated national forest policy. a tentative conclusion could be that in countries with a weak socioeconomic infrastructure such as the Philippines. wherein allowing only indigenous people the rights to harvest NWFPs may make them instead. 151–158. Environmental Conservation 29. Legalisation of land tenure and assistance to improve the marketing skills of indigenous people would be more relevant in this case. Lacuna-Richman. April 2002). Small-scale Forest Economics. Philippines. Olli (2001). Lacuna-Richman. A Transition or a Deadlock?: Philippine Forest Policy in the 1990s. Faculty of Forestry. Lacuna-Richman. Lacuna-Richman.LOCAL AND NATIONAL IMPACTS OF. 163–172. Other factors may be important in other areas. the Philippine government is already trying some of these solutions. Modelling the Carbon Balance and Land-use Change in the Philippines: a Study Approach. Celeste and Hanna Kaisti (Eds) (2001). Economic Botany Summit Conference. To some extent. Manuscript accepted by Economic Botany (selected papers from Building Bridges. Conclusion As a result of this project. other cases within the Philippines. Kati. Olli and Celeste Lacuna-Richman (2002). 253–262. carbon sequestration requirements. A manuscript.

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