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Development Pathways in the Philippine Uplands: Impacts and Influences on Forest Resource Management and Human Well-Being

The poor performance of various people-oriented forestry projects has prompted the government to adopt the Community-based Forest Management (CBFM) program as the development pathway for addressing upland poverty and deforestation. The Program is based on the premise that if local communities were given access to, control of, and benefits from forest resources, they will be transformed into responsible stewards and partners in the promotion of sustainable forest management.

This paper documents and evaluates the impacts and influences of the CBFM strategy on upland development pathways, forest resource management, and the well-being of upland communities. Findings were derived from household and key informant interviews of 20 People's Organizations that were awarded CBFM projects in various areas.

The well-being of CBFM participants improved, as evidenced by the marked increase in income over the benchmark income before they were awarded a CBFM project; acquisition of several household and farm assets, which were before uncommon to forest-dependent communities; and generation of employment in the community. The CBFM program has achieved an increase in forest cover compared with past reforestation projects. Policy implications on development pathways in the uplands were also drawn.

Vol. 7 No. 2, December 2010

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