Cover Image
close this bookRelated Agroforestry Livelihood (IIRR, 1992, 30 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMessage
View the documentWorkshop to revise the agroforestry technology information kit (ATIK)
Open this folder and view contentsList of participants
View the documentCurrent program thrusts in upland development
Open this folder and view contentsMedicinal uses of upland vegetation (including plant essences)
Open this folder and view contentsBio-intensive gardening with agroforestry
View the documentMini-pond for water-limited areas
Open this folder and view contentsSmall water-impounding technologies

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 timber 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 consequences 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.

1. Integrated social forestry program (ISFP)

Initiated about a decade ago, the ISFP draws strength from the DENR Upland Development Program (UDP) started by the Bureau of Forest Development in 1980 which was aimed at distilling lessons and developing methodologies for participatory management of the uplands. The ISFP incorporates the best features of three people-oriented forestry programs implemented in the 1970's, i.e., Forest Occupancy Management, Communal Tree Farming and Family Approach to Reforestation. The major features include granting long-term tenurial arrangements to qualified applicants, technical and modest material assistance and institution building aimed at developing capability for community-based resource management.

ISFP addresses the twin problems of rural poverty and ecological stability in occupied forest lands. Through ISFP, forest land occupants are provided secure access to land as well as technical and material aid to make the land productive without depleting it. Secure land tenure comes through either the Certificate of Stewardship Contracts (CSCs) for individuals, or the Community Forest Stewardship Agreements (CFSAs) for community organizations. In both cases, farm families are granted renewable 25year leases on the public land which they occupy and cultivate. In the first years of the lease, the Farmer receives technical assistance for developing selfsufficiency and sustainable farming practices.

The program provides assistance in the areas of agroforestry, land tenure and community organizing. Community organizing is applied to mobilize groups to obtain stewardship contracts, promote agroforestry and soil/water conservation and build local institutions ISFP emphasizes improvement of existing Farmer practices, not introduction of new ones except in situations where such may be necessary. Participatory strategies are used to gather data, diagnose field situations and monitor technical problems. Farm visits and training courses develop farmers' skills in agroforestry and organization. In the process, community leaders are prepared to take responsibilities for continued development after the end of the project, tentatively set at five years.

Recently, the implementation of the Local Government Code obligated the DENR to devolve to the Local Government Units (LGUs) the management of all ISF project sites except some of the "model sites" (one model site per province) and the UDP sites. These projects will remain under the care of the DENR for use as reaming sites where new technologies and approaches are expected to be generated. These sites will also be used as training areas for LGU technicians and other development workers as part of the outreach program of the DENR.

2. National forestation program (NFP)

In 1988, the DENR implemented the NFP which consists of three major components, namely: reforestation, watershed rehabilitation and timber stand improvement. The reforestation component is concerned with the replanting of denuded forest lands with indigenous and exotic forest species, including fruit trees, bamboos and minor forest species. One of the reforestation strategies used is assisted natural regeneration (ANR) where augmentation planting of climax species is done to improve future yield at minimum cost. The timber stand improvement (TSI) involves the removal of over-mature and inferior trees to improve growth in logged-over areas. Reforestation, ANR and TSI are approaches used in rehabilitation of identified critical watersheds and catchment areas.

DENR enters into contract with upland settler families, community and civic/religious organizations, entrepreneurs, local and other government offices and other NGOs for any of the above NFP activities in areas identified by DENR. The contract may be for survey, mapping, planning, community organizing/training, monitoring and evaluation or actual comprehensive site development of a given area.

3. Forest land management agreement (FLMA)

FLMA provides a long-term tenure to the people who plant and care for trees in newly reforested areas by granting farmers access to these areas for purposes consistent with sound ecological principles. When the reforestation contract terminates after three years, the contractor may apply for an FLMA if at least 80 percent of the trees planted are surviving and properly maintained. Family contractors must organize into associations or cooperatives covering a total of at least 100 hectares. DENR employs local NGOs to help organize communities and train them in forest management.

Like stewardship contracts under ISFP, FLMAs are for 25 years, renewable for another 25 years. The contractor may use the area to grow and harvest minor forest products or interplant cash crops, fruit trees and other agricultural crops using sound agroforestry practices. The contractor may also harvest, process and sell timber when the trees mature, following the principles of sustained yield forest management. In return, the contractor provides DENR 30 percent of the total proceeds until the whole cost of reforesting the area has been recovered. The proceeds will be deposited into a "trust fund" for expanding reforestation activities.

4. Community forestry program (CFP)

The need to democratize access in the use of the forests and allow organized upland communities to benefit from the resource compelled the government to adopt policies that would enable communities to protect, manage and rehabilitate fragmented residual and old growth forests. CFP is emerging as a community-based approach in managing certain portions of abandoned, canceled and expired areas of Timber License Agreements (TLAs).

CFP makes upland dwellers stewards of residual forest areas. Communities are awarded 25-year Community Forestry Management Agreement (CFMA). Again, these agreements are renewable for another 25 years if mutually agreeable to DENR and the community. The community organization can harvest, process and sell forest products from the area according to a management plan submitted to DENR beforehand. The plan must comply with prescribed rules and follow principles of sustained yield management.

Under the CFP, DENR assists the holder organization to set up and strengthen the community organization. This includes on-the-job training in resource inventory, preparation of forest management and conservation plans and developing livelihood opportunities. For this assistance, DENR employs qualified NGOs.

Role of NGOs

Through the years, the NGOs have been doing a proactive role in upland development through advocacy, training and technical assistance. However, the latter part of the 1980s offered greater opportunities for their direct involvement in the implementation of government programs such as reforestation, social forestry and community forestry. In addition to their traditional roles, the NGOs are now involved in technical work such as survey and mapping; resource appraisal and planning; community organizing; reforestation; resource management; and, harvesting, processing and sale of forest products.

A tool in upland development

Agroforestry is an important tool in the development of the uplands. If practiced properly, it helps promote soil and water conservation while increasing productivity and sustainability of upland farms to the benefit of the people.

There are traditional astute agroforestry practices being employed mostly by indigenous people in the uplands. The great majority of the population, however, remains in need of improving their system of farming the uplands to increase income and protect the environment.

Meanwhile, the number of people being engaged in promoting appropriate agroforestry technologies has dramatically increased in recent years. They come from national government agencies, various nongovernment organizations and, more recently, technicians of local government units to whom the upland development functions have been devolved.

This Agroforestry Technology Information Kit (ATIK) has been developed for use by these types of development workers as a quick reference. It consists of simple, illustrated technologies being used in various parts of the country. It is a product of a week-long materials production workshop among agroforestry practitioners in the government and nongovernment organizations, farmer groups and the academe.

Tabel 1. Summary profile of DENR’s people-oriented upland development programs.






Target areas

Occupied forest lands except national parks and critical watersheds

Denuded and understocked areas

NFP contracted areas

Fragmented residual and old growth forest areas

Target participants

Upland farmers and communities

POs, NGOs, LGUs and families

Community contractors with at best 80% survival after 3 years

Upland resident POs

Stewardship contract

25 years

3 years

25 years

25 years

Funding source





DENR office concerned

National ISF Secretariat/Social Forestry Division



CFP Secretariat

Project implementor



FLMA awardees


Implementing strategies

CO-driven agroforestry intervention

Reforestation contract

Management contract

Management contract/agreement