Forest Solutions: Nepal and the Philippines

Nepal

Two young women gathering wood in Nepal.

Two young women gathering wood in Nepal.

In the last few decades, Nepal has lost over two-thirds of its forests. Yet today Nepal has some of the best forest conservation practices in the world. To that point, the Manahari Development Institute in Nepal (MDI-Nepal) was the co-winner of the 2011 award entitled “Forests for People, Forests for Green Growth” in support of the United Nations’ theme for 2010-2011, the International Year of the Forests. To learn more about their winning project, click here.

For more about forest conservation issues and efforts in Nepal, check out the World Wildlife Fund Nepal site on the issue.  It includes information such as how the need for firewood is one of the major causes of deforestation, and how reducing tree numbers is making wood gathering even harder for the women who are usually responsible for the task.

For links to several organizations working on forestry issues, the Forestry Nepal website is a wonderful resource.  Living up to their tagline “Your gateway to forestry information in Nepal,” they supply links to government sites such as the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, professional sites such as the Institute of Forestry, and a large variety of non-governmental sites such as the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources, the Himalayan Grassroots Women’s Natural Resource Management Association, and Wildlife Conservation Nepal. If you are interested in any of these groups, we encourage you to check out their websites for more information. Many of them have programs throughout Nepal, such as the Himalayan Grassroots Women’s Natural Resource Management Association, which has over 30 chapters across the country.

Philippines

Philippine forest.

Philippine forest.

The total forest cover in the Philippines has declined from 70-80% in 1900 to 17.9% in 2002, and deforestation continues at an average of 100,000 hectares per year. Thankfully, there are organizations around the country working to replant trees and conserve what remains.

The Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation (PTFCF) is one such organization. Their mission: “In the spirit of service and stewardship: Improve the status of Philippine forests by working with communities, catalyzing local and national actions for their sustainable management.” And their vision for what the Philippines could and should be in the future? “We envision lush and biologically diverse Philippine forests that are sustainably managed and equitably accessible to responsible stakeholders, as a collective responsibility for the greater good.”

How are they achieving this goal? They have a variety of projects focusing on different areas: Natural Resource Management, Capacity Building, Restoration or Sustainable Use, Research on Medical Use, Livelihood of Forest Dwellers, and Coastal Forest Management and Protection. To learn more about these projects, click here.  For qualified individuals, organizations and institutions in the Philippines interested in working on forest conversation in-country, PTFCF encourages you to apply for a 2012 concept proposal designed to “have a direct impact on conserving remaining natural forests.”

For a more visual representation, check out this  wonderful “photo essay” on forest conservation in the Philippines, including the drivers of deforestation and direct and indirect benefits of conservation.

Another organization working in the Philippines is Relief International, which has a USAID-sponsored program called Biodiversity Conservation through Management of Natural Resources (BCMNR).  This program works with local communities, organizations, and the government to improve natural resource management, provide environmental services, enhance enforcement mechanisms, and broaden sustainable enterprise opportunities.