Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD)
Title: Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB)
Lead executing agency: Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Overall term: 2009 to 2013
Forest covered 60% (17.8 million hectares) of the Philippines 74 years ago. By 2003, cover had declined to just 24% (7.17 million hectares). Another 157,000 hectares of forest were lost annually between 2003 and 2005, an area roughly the size of 314,000 football pitches.
Efforts to restore forest ecosystems have had only limited success to date. This state of affairs is due to competing forms of land use, unclear rights of use, unregulated access to forests and inadequate involvement of local authorities and the population in sustainable forest management.
The Philippines wants to adapt its forest policy to meet the needs of climate change. However, no coherent strategies and incentives to tackle deforestation in the Philippines are in place at present. At the same time, public authorities and local government do not have the capacity to unlock the potential of internationally debated strategies, such as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), for the purposes of forest and climate protection.
The Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources, regional authorities and the public use improved climate-related forestry policy to reduce greenhouse gases and conserve forests and their biodiversity. Forests are being protected and biodiversity preserved; improved forest policies have been passed, and incentives have been created to help stop further deterioration of the forests. Other benefits include the improvement of local livelihoods.
The REDD project is taking a fresh approach to promoting forest and climate protection. It is advising the Philippine Government on revamping its forestry policy to support the Philippine REDD+ strategy. To this end, the project is developing innovative measures to conserve forests and testing them in selected forests.
The project is working with local stakeholders in the pilot region of Southern Leyte to draw up a framework for the protection and sustainable management of forests. Special incentives are being created for the local population. These measures include land use planning designating protected and productive forests, clarifying land tenure, financial support for forest rehabilitation and reforestation and establishing agroforestry systems. This approach entails monitoring and controls, as well mechanisms that help to ensure that the results are replicated in other forest areas in the Philippines.
The project is providing intensive consulting and training services to support partners in planning and implementing climate-related forest projects in an effort to strengthen existing structures. The project is also promoting conflict resolution and helping to safeguard land use rights and livelihoods.
Results achieved so far
The project's studies on forestry policy, the causes of deforestation, carbon rights and free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) have uncovered shortcomings in governance. The studies have thus made it possible to learn important lessons, notably on designing frameworks to improve transparency, fight corruption and maintain standards. These lessons have been incorporated into the updated version of the official FPIC guidelines.
Partners can now use the results of the forest inventory, a socio-economic baseline study and a study on biodiversity to monitor REDD+. Innovative methods using radar data for satellite-based forest and land use surveys have been developed for this purpose. The discovery of new species in the project area led the provincial government to place these forests under protection.
Several thousand hectares in the project area were designated as protected forest as part of forest land use planning. Cooperation and forest protection agreements with provinces, local authorities and forest user groups are now fostering the protection of forests. Reforestation, stand improvements and the creation of agroforestry systems covering 2,178 hectares have helped to rehabilitate forests and improved many households' income.