Expert recommends mainstreaming CCA in Philippine forestry
The adverse impacts of climate change will constantly affect the environment -- how society adapts to these impacts could either reduce or amplify our susceptibility to climate change; thus underscored Dr. Diomedes A. Racelis, an expert on forest resource management.
Dr. Diomedes A. Racelis
He discussed mainstreaming climate change adaptation (CCA) in the Philippine forestry and natural resources sector during his SEARCA professorial chair lecture presented at the SEARCA Agriculture and Development Seminar Series (ADSS) on 11 May 2010.
Mainstreaming, said Dr. Racelis, is "the integration of policies and measures that address climate change into development planning and sectoral decision-making". He emphasized that tapping and collaborating with institutions on addressing climate change impacts will be helpful in attaining sustainable development.
He explained that although the Philippines is not a major emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs) -- accounting for only 0.27% of the total GHG emissions -- it is a major victim of climate change impacts. The forestry and natural resources sectors -- which underpin the country's ecosystem stability, food security, and economic development -- are among the most vulnerable to climate change. This necessitates the need to mainstream CCA in these sectors.
He presented the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change, which envisions "a climate risk-resilient Philippines with healthy, safe, prosperous, and self-reliant communities, and thriving and productive ecosystems." The Philippine Climate Change Commission, headed by Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, drafted the framework.
The framework includes both adaptation and mitigation strategies. Mitigation of climate process drivers (i.e., energy, transport, land use changes and forestry, and waste) can be achieved through energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, environmentally sustainable transport, sustainable infrastructure, the National REDO+ Strategy, and waste management.
On the other hand, adaptation covers both mechanisms for the environment and society. These include enhanced vulnerability and adaptation assessments, integrated ecosystem-based management, climate-responsive agriculture and health sectors, good water governance, and disaster risk reduction and management.
Some adaptation strategies designed for the forestry sector include silviculture treatments to enhance the yield of forest crops, monitoring and preventing the propagation of bio-invasive species, use of shallow tube wells, and habitat management. Dr. Racelis concluded his lecture by stressing the need to take action against climate change. He said that climate change is now undeniable and can no longer be ignored.
Dr. Racelis is currently Associate Dean and Associate Professor at the College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines Los Baños. One of 274 recipients of the SEARCA professorial chair grants, he is also a SEARCA graduate alumnus having obtained his doctorate in forestry from UPLB in 1999 through a SEA.
(Leila Denisse Padilla and Vicky Ella (with report from Angela Mae Miñas)