THE Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) said a study was underway to document existing benefit-sharing mechanisms of Philippine community-based forest management (CBFM).
According to SEARCA, the research project would look into how CBFM-people's organizations (CBFM-POs) manage the distribution of benefits as influenced by community characteristics and social structures, among others.
SEARCA said there were nine CBFM-POs being documented by the project, including the Tao Kalikasan Foundation of the Philippines in Labo town in Camarines Norte, LBN Multipurpose Cooperative in Vintar town in Ilocos Norte, and the Caunayan Multipurpose Cooperative in Pagudpud in Ilocos Norte.
The project is also documenting the Nalundan United Farmers Association Inc. in Bindoy town in Negros Oriental and the Katilingban sang Pumuluyo nga naga-Atipansang Watershed sa Maasin in Maasin town in Iloilo, both in the Visayas.
The rest are in Mindanao, including San Isidro Upland Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative in Santiago town in Agusan del Norte, Limatong Dalumangkom Bual Farmers Multipurpose Association in Pigcawayan town in North Cotabato, Malakiba People's Improvement Multipurpose Cooperative in Davao City and Imbayao Community-based Forest Management People's Organization in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
Administered by SEARCA, the project is financed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Working Group on Social Forestry Strategic Response Fund (ASRF), which is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
The Philippine government adopted CBFM as the national strategy to achieve sustainable forest management, biodiversity conservation and social equity. CBFM's key component in the design and implementation is the provision of socioeconomic benefits to community members such as employment, dividends from project profits, capacity building and strengthening of social networks.
SEARCA said the project, which is implemented by the Forest Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), examines the relationship among local government institutions, communities and CBFM programs on benefit-sharing mechanisms.
The research project is expected to develop policy recommendations consisting of a menu of benefit-sharing mechanisms that CBFM-POs may adopt, and serve as a guide for DENR Field Office personnel to effectively assist CBFM-POs.
SEARCA said a technical working group had been created for the project and the documentation tools developed. Field documentation was already conducted in the two Visayas sites and the Davao City site.
According to SEARCA, the results of the field documentation would be packaged into a set of policy recommendations through a series of consultation meetings and workshops.
The output of the SEARCA-ASRF project would be presented in a national workshop to further draw inputs and recommendations from CBFM-POs regional representatives regional CBFM coordinators and other CBFM stakeholders or practitioners such as civil society organizations, nongovernmental organizations and the academe, among others, SEARCA said.