NUEVA VISCAYA A MODEL IN FOREST MANAGEMENT

MANILA,
February 29, 2004 (STAR) By Benny G. Enriquez - The 3,000-hectare community-based forest management (CBFM) project funded by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) in Buenavista, Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya has been hailed as a model in forest management.

The area is managed by the Federation of Vista Hills, Kalongkong Upland Farmers Associations, Inc. with assistance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), local government units and other members of the Buenavista Upland Development Advisory Council (BUDAC).

Through community participation and financial support, significant parts of the once marginal portion of the project site are now developed into plantations and agro-forestry farms. The natural and secondary forests are protected from illegal entry and poaching. Enrichment planting is undertaken within regenerating forests thus improving stocks.

The implementation of CBFM is guided by a land-use and forest/biodiversity management plan and a local level system of monitoring and evaluation. Five teams composed of members of the federation and other BUDAC representatives monitor progress and impact of the project based on verifiable indicators and evidence under the following criteria:

Enabling policy and other institutional support;

Forest resources security;

Forest protection, biodiversity and soil and water conservation;

Sustainable flow of forest products; and

Socioeconomic and cultural well-being.

The project started in July 1998 and management was turned over to the federation in June 2002. The experiences, lessons and recommendations of the project are shared with other CBFM practitioners, students, researchers, trainees and foreign visitors. Foreign missions on forestry, fire management and plantation management came to the area last year. On Feb. 20, 2003 a JICA study mission on enhncement of CBFM visited the site.

Last year, the project won the award for "Model Sustainable Development Project" given by the Provincial Council for the Sustainable Development of Nueva Viscaya. It was also chosen as the winner in the regional model search. The Regional Council for Sustainable Development will give the award to the federation on March 10, 2004 in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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