|Livestock and Poultry Production (IIRR)|
|Current program thrusts in upland development|
Human greed, abuse and misuse of the country's forest resources have resulted in the sad state of our uplands today. Resource depletion, environmental degradation, inequitable access to resources, tenurial issues, upland poverty and the continuous influx of lowland migrants into the uplands are among the current issues in natural resources management.
In recent decades, the Philippines witnessed an unprecedented commercial exploitation of the bmber resources leading to an annual rate of deforestation reported to have reached an average of 119,000 hectares during the declining years of the timber boom between 1969 to 1987. From a leading exporter of precious "Philippine Mahogany", the Philippines has become a timber deficit country where the cost of a board foot of lumber is beyond the means of an average wage earner. The disappearance of forests has resulted in the loss of jobs and livelihood in neighboring communities; destructive floods and drought during wet and dry seasons, respectively; and, landslide and siltation of rivers and dams. Other consequences of deforestation have become common occurrences in many parts of the country.
Through the years, landlessness and unemployment have driven hundreds of thousands of poor families in the lowlands to migrate and eke out a living in upland areas where they have become "squatters" by operation of law. In many cases, these have resulted in the total destruction of remaining forest vegetation in the area. The land has become marginally productive as the top soil continues to be lost through erosion brought about by improper agricultural practices. The result is poverty and a degraded upland environment affecting not only the people who subsist in these areas, but even the poor farmers in the lowlands who likewise suffer from the inevitable conseguences of forest destruction. Latest estimates show that as much as 8.25 million hectares are now severely eroded.
In view of these problems, the government has in recent years formulated programs directed at arresting resource depletion and environmental degradation while searching for solutions to the issues of secured access to land, poverty alleviation and increased sustainable productivity. Among the major programs being implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources are the Integrated Social Forestry Program (ISFP) in noncritical areas of the public domain that are under various forms of cultivation; the National Forestation Program (NFP) in degraded areas and in residual stands that are inadequately stocked; the Forest Land Management Agreement (FLMA) in newly reforested areas under the NFP that need to be maintained and cared for; and, the Community Forestry Program (CFP) in residual forest lands occupied by farming families.