Tenure Reform and Its Impacts in the Philippine Forest Lands

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"This paper examines the tenure reform in the Philippine forestlands through a historical analysis of forest policy development from the colonial period to the present with emphasis over the last three decades. It also analyzes the impacts of tenure reform and the associated policy and related changes in terms of the LIFE indicator (livelihood, income, forest condition and equity) based on review of published and grey literature, results from case studies, and the outputs of multi-sectoral assessments on CBFM. "Despite seemingly radical efforts to restructure forest management, our initial analysis of the impacts of tenure reform in forest lands in terms of the LIFE indicator shows that the anticipated positive impacts are yet to be fully realized on the ground. The issuance of the different tenure instruments have benefitted the government more by effectively recruiting local communities to take on forest management and protection responsibilities - tasks which the government were expected to perform before the tenure reform took place. However, livelihood and income of forest communities have not significantly improved in most cases. The combined effects of unstable policies and overly bureaucratic procedures and requirements, none recognition of communities' use rights over forest resources, and inadequate government assistance prohibit genuine tenure reform from taking root. These factors thwart the accrual of benefits to the upland poor and may impede the promotion of sustainable forest management in CBFMA areas."



CBRM, livelihoods, forest management, income distribution, equity, IASC