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close this bookSoil and Water Conservation (SWC) Technologies and Agroforestry Systems (IIRR, 1992, 171 p.)
View the documentMessage
View the documentWorkshop to revise
View the documentList of participants
View the documentCurrent program thrusts in Upland development
View the documentDegradation of the uplands
View the documentNutrient cycles in upland farms
View the documentEstablishing an swcsystem
View the documentFarm management practices that reinforce SWC
View the documentTraditional soil and water conservation (SWC) technologies
Open this folder and view contentsOptions for contour farming:
View the documentLand management practices for improved water conservation
View the documentIn-row tillage
View the documentMaking an A-frame
View the documentControlling Cogon and Talahib
View the documentUse of derris as botanical pesticide
View the documentFire control in the uplands
View the documentCultural management of pest infestation
Open this folder and view contentsOrganic fertilizer sources:
View the documentBiofertilizers
View the documentSelection of cover crops
View the documentBatao in the upland. Cropping system
View the documentIncreasing the woody contents in leaf litter
Open this folder and view contentsExamples of indigenous agroforestry systems:

Degradation of the uplands


In the Philippines, the definition of upland areas varies across sectors depending on the government agency or the kind of project involved. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which has jurisdiction over most upland areas in the country uses the following definition:

Uplands are hilly to mountainous landscapes with 18 percent slope or greater, including the table land and plateaus lying at higher elevations which are not normally suited to wet rice unless some from the terracing and ground water exist. These are mainly classified as public lands.


The upland areas play a significant role in the dynamic and highly interactive landscape components of a rural system. They serve as the life support system of the lowland and aquatic areas. Upland areas are of considerable importance because they contain the tropical rainforest ecosystems which are the oldest, the most productive and the most protective ecosystems on earth. An increasing population of the "poorest of the poor" lives in the upland areas. These areas are expected to absorb even more of the expanding population from the lowlands.

In the past, upland areas were covered with tropical rainforest vegetation and human population was sparely distributed Few problems existed in these upland areas

Upland areas yielded varied products which satisfied the basic needs of these human settlements. However, given an increasing human population, together with indiscriminate exploitation of the forest, the uplands have become marginal and less capable of sustaining productivity and supporting the basic needs of human society (Sajise, 1986).

As forest resources have been depleted and agricultural activities have been undertaken in upland areas, the fragile soil resources have been exploited and severe degradation of upland agricultural land has occurred.

Today, areas affected by agricultural degradation are characterized by barren denuded hills and mountains with very few remaining trees and mainly vegetated with cogon and brush. the soil is not fertile with outcropping of rocks and the presence of eroded gullies. Wild animals practically do not exist; instead, ruminant animals graze these lands.

If environmental and socioeconomic conditions in the uplands are not improved, the peace and order situation could worsen. But, properly developed upland areas can be Keys to a sustainable, socioeconomic progress for the country.



Estimated to be 17.8 million Filipinos

- 8.5 million live in the forest
- 5.95 million tribal Filipinos
- 3.35 million lowland migrants

The marginal upland areas compose the following classes of areas:

Cultivated/Open areas/Forest

- 0.3040 m. ha.


- 1.8129 m. ha.

Cultivated Mixed Grassland

- 10.1143 m. ha.

Eroded Areas

- 0.0007 m. ha.

Other Barren Areas

- 0.0130 m. ha.


12.2422 m. ha.


Land tenure arrangements
Uncontrolled exploitation of forest, e.g over-logging, charcoal-making
Shifting cultivation or"kaingin"
Speculation/Conversion of agricultural lands
Population pressure
Improper agricultural practices, e.g., (plowing) down the slope, lack of crop rotations
Inefficient use of forest products
Construction of road networks
Mining/gold panning
Land clearing for national infrastructures (dams, geothemmal plants)
Large forest/grass fires, indiscriminate burning
Natural calamity/phenomenon
Land conversion in the upland li.e., for residential lands)


Loss of forest cover
Soil erosion
Loss of nutrients (shortened fallow period of land resources)
Decreased agricultural yields
Flood intensification
Reduced efficiency of hydroelectric projects
Drought intensification
Decline in genetic diversity
Shift in climatic patterns
Lowered water table
Increased sedimentabon/siltation
Salt water intrusion to wafer table in coastal areas
Loss of wildlife habitat
Increased carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere (global wamming)
Increased poverty of famm families
Urban migration of salty water into terrestial bodies