The Forestland Management Project (FMP), now in its ninth year of implementation, has taken the initiative for collaborative and holistic sustainable forest management in the three critical river basins of Upper Magat and Cagayan, Upper Pampanga, and Jalaur. The project strengthens forestland management by implementing gender-responsive, community-based strategies to improve forest conservation and socio-economic conditions and to contribute to disaster risk mitigation efforts of upland communities.
Over the years, FMP established 71,300 hectares of tree and agroforestry plantations that contributed to carbon sequestration. Timber and non-timber forest products that will be derived from these plantations are envisioned to improve the socio-economic conditions of the upland communities in the long term. Continuous maintenance and protection activities, however, must be carried out to ensure their survival and quality.
On another note, various learning events were conducted to capacitate the partner people’s organizations (POs) and the Watershed Management Councils or Bodies (WMCs/Bs). One skill set that has been eyed to be developed among POs is in the management and governance of watersheds to transform ordinary farmers into forest managers and entrepreneurs. In this light, the project launched the Save Our Watershed (SOW) Campaign last June 30, which was attended by DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu himself. The campaign aimed to promote conservation and sustainable management of watersheds. For FMP, the campaign was an opportunity to reach a wider range of stakeholders to forge new partnerships and strengthen the existing ones among watershed stakeholders.
The project also led in the drafting of Executive Order (EO) titled “Promoting Integrated Sustainable Watershed Management” to adopt the scientific approach in watershed management. The said EO has been at the Office of the DENR Secretary for endorsement to the President within the last quarter of 2021. (FMP/ April Ann Fontanilla)