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Book: Forest Policy and Politics in the Philippines: The Dynamics of Participatory Conservation

1 Apr 2001

The Philippines has had one of the worst deforestation rates in the Asia Pacific region, losing on average 316,000 hectares of forest a year from 1980-1990. After a relative respite in the early 1990s, the situation, again, spiralled out of control in the mid 1990s. Conversion of forests to agricultural land; commercial logging, and population growth, account for this phenomenon. Power politics and vested interests have impacted directly on forest management policies, decisions and their implementation.

In response, a vibrant civil society and environmental movement have led myriad initiatives associated with participatory conservation. How successful have they been in reversing decades of plunder? How easy is it to actually implement participatory approaches to natural resource management?

This 237-page edited volume answers such questions by looking beyond the headlines and official discourse surrounding people-centred sustainable development and provides a realistic assessment of the achievements, complexities and limitations of attempts to promote forest protection and peoples' participation in natural resource management. Through case studies of policies, programmes and projects, the contributors to this volume highlight the relevance of social and political dimensions in understanding the success and failure of initiatives that seek to integrate environmental and human-welfare objectives, and to enable local communities to participate in decision-making processes associated with forest protection.

This publication shows that the Philippines deserves its reputation as a country that is actively pursuing an agenda of people-centred sustainable development. Indeed, since the restoration of democracy in 1986, successive administrations have attached a high priority to environmental protection and community-based natural resource management.

Towards Participatory Conservation: An Introduction, Peter Utting
Forest Policy and National Politics, Marites DaƱguilan Vitug
The Changing Role of Government in Forest Protection, Ben S. Malayang III
NGO Influence on Environmental Policy, Marvic M.V.F. Leonen
The Role of Local Stakeholders in Forest Protection, Howie G. Severino
Social and Political Determinants of Successful Community-Based Forestry, Benjamin C. Bagadion, Jr.
Rethinking Participation and Empowerment in the Uplands, Antonio P. Contreras
An Overview of the Potential and Pitfalls of Participatory Conservation, Peter Utting

Peter Utting is a Project Leader at UNRISD.

Forest Policy and Politics in the Philippines is co-published with Ateneo de Manila University Press. Paperback, ISBN 971-550-348-9, 237 pages, 2000, contact publisher for price.

Order from: Ateneo de Manila University Press, Bellarmine Hall, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, P.O. Box 154, 1099 Manila, Philippines; phone (632) 4265984; fax (63 2) 4265909.