Nearly 60 percent of Philippine’s official forest land lacks any forest cover today, and only 15 percent of the remainder is covered by closed forests. To help address this problem, a national training workshop on Forest Landscape Restoration, co-organized by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) was held recently.
Forests are the centerpiece of the Philippine natural resource base covering 7.2 million hectares. However, deforestation and forest degradation have altered many of the country’s natural forest landscapes, with nearly 60 percent of the official forest land lacking any forest cover, and only 15 percent of remainder is under closed forests. To help address this problem, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) together with the Government of Philippines recently organized a national training workshop on Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) in Bagac, Bataan from 8-12 May 2006.
The workshop brought together representatives from a range of government agencies, civil society, private sector, local communities and research organizations to validate the extent and causes of forest landscape change in the Philippines, and provided training on the concepts and application of FLR through various learning activities, including a field trip.
Unlike traditional restoration efforts that are focused mostly at the site-level, FLR considers forest rehabilitation and restoration from the larger perspective of a landscape. It is a pragmatic approach that focuses on involving the active participation of a wide range of stakeholders, particularly the local communities, in negotiating forest land use trade-offs in a manner that ensures both ecological integrity and human well being. While being a new concept in terms of its overall framework and the way it approaches the problem of forest degradation, virtually all of the individual strategies and techniques of FLR have been around in forestry for a long time.
The participants also provided feedback on the restoration guidelines and manual developed by ITTO and IUCN, and drafted an Action Plan to enable the practical implementation of FLR in the Philippines over the coming months.
ITTO and IUCN have been working closely together with a number of other organizations, including through the Global Partnership on Forest Landscape Restoration, to promote the application of FLR to help restore, manage and rehabilitate degraded and secondary tropical forests. Other countries where these national training workshops are being held are Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ghana, Guatemala, Mexico, Guyana, Myanmar and India.
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