Capacity Building on Timber Legality Towards Achieving Sustainable Forest Management

The Caraga Region of the Philippines is considered to be the nation’s timber corridor. However, it is also the second poorest region in the country, which can partially be attributed to a focus on raw material extraction and a lack of local processing capacity and value-added industries. The lack of economic benefit accruing to timber producers in Caraga contributes to high poverty levels and illegal logging — the LAWIN Forest and Biodiversity Protection System employed by the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) has identified a high number of illegal logging hotspots in Caraga Region. These dual challenges of addressing illegal logging while alleviating poverty can be addressed through targeted and systematic capacity building and technical assistance to timber producers in Caraga— particularly Community-Based Forest Management Agreement holders (CBFMAs), private tree farmers and growers, Peoples Organizations (POs) under the National Greening Programme (NGP) and selected Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) holders on key aspects of legality compliance and local enterprise development. Enterprise development is critical, as local stakeholders in Caraga region send raw materials to other regions for export, rather than developing value-added products locally that can be exported.

The wood industry in the Philippines is a key contributor in the country’s economic development. According to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the agriculture, forestry and fisheries (AFF) sector accounts for 9% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), valuing at PhP 567 billion annually from 2008-2018. The furniture industry, in particular, which is 98% comprised of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)4, provides employment to 2.1 million indirect workers nationwide and provides business to 5.4 million in its supply chain.

The project identified the gaps between the existing governance framework (i.e. laws and policies), institutional mandates and ongoing initiatives, and on-ground community activities and challenges. Capacity-building activities were conducted, in which the workshop modules were specifically crafted to address the needs of the project beneficiaries to become sources of legal and sustainable forest products.

The FAO-EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Programme in the Philippines has developed a Roadmap that prioritizes capacity building and provision of support to community-based forest owners in its bid to promote legal sourcing and production of timber and timber products for local and international markets. This project is aligned with the Roadmap and also supports the priority areas identified under the FLEGT Action Plan’s Component 4.1. Support to Timber Producing Countries. The project, in particular, supports FLEGT Action Plan section 4.1.1. Equitable and just solutions by supporting community-based forest management and identifying and removing bottlenecks to their legality compliance, so that local people can contribute to legal timber production rather than being sources of illegal logging.

On the other hand, Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) is defined by FAO as “a dynamic and evolving concept, which aims to maintain and enhance the economic, social and environmental values of all types of forests, for the benefit of present and future generations”. This concept has been adopted by the DENR as the key strategy for conservation, management, development, and protection of forest resources and forestlands through the issuance of Executive Order 318 Series of 2004. To support this, SFM criteria and indicators were also established by DENR in 2003 to measure progress towards attaining SFM. These require a system of criteria and measurable indicators that served as a guiding framework for defining SFM through assessing the condition, management systems, and practices at the national and forest management unit levels. SFM promotes the protection of forests ensuring the quantity and quality of forest resources, as well as ensuring that forest-related activities will not compromise the health, well-being, and rights of local communities and forest workers. It avoids unauthorized activities such as illegal logging, illegal land use, illegally initiated fires, and other illegal activities. This project will focus especially on the latter point, by educating target stakeholders on key aspects of legal compliance, which is meant to support overall progress towards SFM.

The FAO EU FLEGT Programme promotes the implementation of the FLEGT Action Plan by improving forest governance, providing technical assistance, and building capacity through funding projects in eligible countries. In pursuit of these objectives, the FAO EU FLEGT Programme has agreed to support the project entitled “Capacity Building on Timber Legality Towards Achieving Sustainable Forest Management”.

General Objective
To capacitate the forestry stakeholders of Caraga Region, including CBFMAs, select IFMA/SIFMAs, NGP POs and private tree farmers and growers, to become legal and sustainable sources of forest products.

Specific Objectives

1) To identify aspects of legality compliance as basis for capacity building;
2) To conduct capacity building activities for forestry stakeholders on timber legality to promote achievement of sustainable forest management; and
3) To establish partnerships with legal and sustainable wood consumers and processors.

Project Team

For. June Alvarez, Executive Director
Ms. Maureen Grace Lebria, Programme Director
Ms. Marielle Erika Suficiencia, Project Officer
Ms. Alessandra Morado, Project Assistant
Ms. Brenna Semacio, Project Field Coordinator
Mr. Hanzel Aleria, Project Field Assistant
Mr. Kirk Patrick Loise Uy, Project Field Assistant

In Partnership with: