Towards sustainable forest management and poverty alleviation in the Philippines. A case study on institutional constraints and possibilities in pursuing sustainable forest management and livelihood means on Sibuyan Island, the Philippines

Marie-Louise Olsson & Anders Kildegaard Knudsen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This thesis investigates the problems related to livelihoods and sustainable forest management on Sibuyan Island, the Philippines, and seeks to address institutional constraints and possibilities towards sustainable forest management and associated poverty alleviation. The Philippines is recognised as one of the worlds’ hot-spots, holding a large fraction of endemic species while being exposed to a high level of human pressure. Despite numerous outstanding policies, the Philippine natural resources are continuously threatened by overexploitation. Concurrently, the country faces a high incidence of poverty, which is particularly notable in upland areas. Thus, a challenge exists in managing the remaining natural resources simultaneously with addressing the task of alleviating poverty. The island of Sibuyan in the Romblon Province presents the case study for this thesis, through which we investigate the constraints and possibilities of ensuring sustainable forest management while addressing poverty alleviation. Sibuyan Island hosts one of the few remaining rainforest areas in the Philippines, home to many endemic and endangered species of flora and fauna. Simultaneously, many of the people of Sibuyan are directly dependant on the forest resources as part of their livelihood. The case study investigation on Sibuyan Island has in turn examined the constraints related to livelihood means and the extent to which the livelihoods may influence the forest resources of the island. In addition, the case study has examined the range of factors influencing the extraction of forest resource and to what extent this relates to peoples livelihoods. Furthermore, an examination has targeted the main institutional constraints in providing livelihood means for forest dependant people in order to approach sustainable forest management, and have sought to address the underlying causes identified in this regard. Key results indicate that sustainable forest management and poverty alleviation on Sibuyan Island is a complex and challenging issue encompassing several factors that need to be considered in order to approach sustainable forest management and poverty alleviation efforts. Access to livelihood means is constrained by several factors, thus increasing the pressures on the forest resources and further explains why people become involved in illegal logging. In addition, the demand from the external market creates an extra incentive for people to earn an income from illegal logging. As such, the pressures on the forest resources are not only due to peoples’ livelihoods alone, but further augmented by the demand from the external market. Investigating the diversification options of livelihood means provided by DENR and the LGUs show that the current programmes are incapable of addressing the illegal logging and lack of livelihood means. In explaining the underlying causes concerning the institutional constraints to sustainable forest management, mainly factors of politics and corruption combined with weak institutional capabilities are highlighted as main obstacles. These are partly explained through the inadequate institutional adjustments to decentralisation. Possibilities exist for institutions working towards sustainable forest management, provided that increased political will, cooperation and coordination is promoted among DENR, LGUs and barangays in order to realise the provision of livelihood means and preventive methods minimising the demand of the external market. It is likewise crucial to consider the aspects of improved social skills and capacity building in key institutions coupled with good governance practices to which NGOs, considering the local context, could make important contributions and promote the advancement of sustainable forest management and associated poverty alleviation.

UddannelserTekSam - miljøplanlægning, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jan. 2004
VejledereJan Andersen