Overview Objectives

In 1999, socioeconomic research on the degree of adoption of Australian tree species in the Philippines showed that, although there were large areas of cleared land in which forestry was probably the best form of land use, the uptake of forestry using both traditional and Australian species was low. This project was therefore commissioned to study landholder attitudes to farm and community forestry, as well as looking at land suitability and availability, sources of potential finance, the likely yields from various species and systems, and the extent of markets. Using data from these social and economic analyses, the project assessed the most suitable forestry systems for the development of both timber and non-wood forest products. The project aimed to examine the requirements and opportunities for a more rapid development of farm and community forestry in Leyte province in the Philippines and in Australia’s Atherton Tablelands.

Project Background and Objectives

Leyte Province in the Philippines and the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland have historically been home to major timber industries. In both cases the industry was once based on extensive logging of native forests, but more recently the remaining resources have been protected and a shortage of timber has ensued. Both regions experience relatively high rainfall and have farmland available for reforestation. The technology for tree establishment is established in both, and a wide variety of tree species (particularly hardwoods) will grow rapidly on moderate to high quality land in the two areas. The governments in both regions attach a high priority to reforestation and to private forestry, including agroforestry and community forestry. But, despite all this, the rate of reforestation has been disappointingly slow. It was clear that, rather than simply matching species to sites and other basic biophysical work, a wider analysis of the problem was necessary.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

The following is an update on the progress in 2002 presented on the basis of the research objectives listed in the project outline:

1. To identify and investigate the important social factors influencing participation in small-scale forestry by investigating landholder and community attitudes to small-scale forestry:

- remains a priority but data collection method has changed. In the original proposal it was proposed to use the participatory rapid rural appraisal process. Feedback from some members of the Project Advisory Committee (mainly Dr Bacusmo, Director or Research at LSU) resulted in a change to a more formal survey methodology using teams of interviewers.
- Nick Emtage has coordinated a survey of four communities. The survey was conducted by four teams of two people, with a further two people employed in a support role.
- An overview of the community survey is provided in Appendix 1. Data collection is complete and data summary and analysis are well advanced. A number of reports have been prepared to draft stage. The survey has produced a large amount of data which will useful in addressing all the outputs under Objectives 1 and 2.
- while the community survey will address all outputs listed under Objective 1 in Table 4 of the Project Outline, additional research will also be conducted by other members of the project team to supplement data gathered through the survey.

2. To identify and investigate the key economic factors affecting the uptake of small-scale forestry:

- remains unchanged from original proposal.
- the survey conducted by Nick Emtage has provided a large amount of economic data which will be used to address all outputs listed under Objective 2. Importantly, it has provided further insights into some of the key resource limitations of landholders.
- assessments of timber markets and marketing, non-wood products, and timber production potential are about to commerce. In particular, Mr Cedamon has developed a research proposal for investigating the issue of timber marketing.

3. To determine the support and facilitation measures needed to overcome impediments and promote small-scale forestry in Leyte province:

- a high priority but specific aspects have changed.
- a trial was undertaken on several nursery techniques (using various types of media, and Hyco trays vs poly bags) to investigate techniques to minimize J rooting. Analysis of the data from this trial has proved to be difficult due to poor layout of the seedlings in the nursery resulting in shading effects on some treatments. Advice is currently being sought from the statistician in NRAVS at UQ on how to address this problem.
- a planting trial involving seedlings produced from the various treatments used in the nursery trial is currently underway. Data have been collected for the past 18 months.
- the next phase of the nursery work will be to explore ways in which the technology can be transferred to communities (if at all) and to determine what the best setup is for producing seedlings for community and farm forestry (e.g. central nursery vs community nurseries). Additional nursery studies will also examine the role of nurseries in overcoming problems of lack of seedling availability and will explore the potential role of nurseries as a means of providing site-species matching information to landholders. Mr Gregorio has developed a research plan to address these issues. Data collection will commence in March 2003.
- discussions with various people have highlighted the role that Community Organisors play in facilitating community interest in forestry. Estela Estoria (a MPhil student at UQ) has designed a survey to examine the role of CO’s and NGO. This survey was to be undertaken in November and December 2002 but was delayed due to travel restrictions. It will now be undertaken in March 2003.
- work on property rights issues and locational efficiency of transport and processing industries using linear programming techniques is being undertaken by the Project Officer employed out of Philippines project funds. Due to other research commitments of this person, only limited progress has been made.

4. To enhance the capacity of local researchers to examine socio-economic aspects of small-scale forestry and policy development to support increased plantings:

- a training workshop on methods for socio-economic research was held in February 2002. This workshop was highly successful and was attended by 24 Filipino and six Australian researchers. The workshop covered socio-economic research methods, publication, career development and grant seeking strategies and programming in Simile. A list of participants is provided in Appendix 2.
- the workshop ran for six days and material was presented by five Australian academics (Harrison, Vanclay, Emtage, Suh, Herbohn) and along with Dr Mangaoang and Dr Vega.
- based on the material presented at the workshop, a manual for socio economic research techniques has been produced. This manual is a valuable resource for staff at Leyte State University and there are plans for the Department of Forestry to use it as a resource in academic courses. The manual is being published by the Rainforest CRC. Further details including a table of contents of the manual are provided in Appendix 3.
- Drs Harrison and Herbohn also spent time developing projects with Filipino collaborators during the February and May visits. Most of these projects have commenced and are being coordinated and undertaken by Filipino researchers.
- developing the ability of staff to publish research results has been identified as a critical. To this extent it a research paper series has been initiated in the Department of Forestry. Dr Mangaoang has taken a leading role in this and has indicated that a number of papers are pending. Three papers that have been prepared are:
Emtage, N.F., Review of community forestry programs in the Philippines: stakeholders roles, responsibilities and issues

Harrison, S.R., Past and Present Forestry Support Programs in the Philippines, and Lessons for the Future

Aquino, Arlynn C., Challenges of Forest Management Policy to Indigenous Peoples and their Lands: The Philippine CADC Experience

The first two of these papers address the lessons learned from previous reforestation support programs, as needed under Objective 3 of the project.

5. To develop a structured methodology for examining the requirements for, and promotion of, more rapid adoption of small-scale forestry, which can be applied to other regions in the Philippines:

- additional training in Simile was provided during the February workshop and was used as a basis of developing an initial small-holder forestry model.
- this work was to followed up on a subsequent visit during the later part of 2002. This visit however was postponed due to travel restrictions imposed by The University of Queensland following DFAT travel warnings.

6. To examine the potential for re-establishment of a rainforest cabinet timber industry on the Atherton Tablelands of north Queensland (drawing on research on this topic already undertaken in the Rainforest CRC):
- Daryl Killin is working on industry development options for North Queensland. During 2002, Daryl produced two published conference papers outlining aspects of industry delevopment.
- Brian Sharp completed a project which developed a model of economic organization which could be applied to small-scale forestry. This work also included an assessment of the potential for venture capital being provided to fund industry development.

The project made significant progress towards completing the scheduled project activities during 2003. The project involves a series of interrelated studies, viz: a survey of smallholder households in four community; an investigation of the role and effectiveness of people’s organisations in facilitating community forestry; a study on the reasons why microfinancing of tree farms has failed; research into nursery production technologies and field trials; a survey of nursery operators; a study on carbon sequestration potential of smallholder forest plots; timber supply and demand studies; and the estimation of financial returns from forestry. Data collection and analysis was largely completed for each of the studies conducted as part of the project.

Project Outcomes

Results of the research indicated that Leyte tree farmers could receive much greater financial returns from their tree farms if they had better market access and knowledge of prices, produced greater volumes of timber per unit of cost, and produced better timber of appropriate species, log size and quality as desired by the market.

There are many institutional impediments restricting the ability of farmers to register trees. Such impediments act as a barrier to gaining access to markets and restrict timber sales to non-competitive local markets. In addition, many smallholders lack information about how and where to market their trees, and have no knowledge of their current market value. Smallholders also do not manage their tree farms to optimise the production of desired products.

Key impediments to forestry development, in particular a number of policy aspects (including problems with land tenure and property rights), were identified. Some landholders were unwilling to commit resources to forestry because they had no land titling and hence regarded their land tenure as insecure. Similarly, banks appear unwilling to lend to smallholders for investment in forestry, being influenced by lack of collateral associated with insecure land tenure. Therefore help through ‘how to’ guides for landholders impeded by a lack of education, and assistance with the costs of obtaining land title, would mean many more could obtain secure tenure.

In terms of property rights, there appeared to be little understanding by local governments of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) approval procedures for timber harvesting and transport, highlighting the need for improved communication including development of manuals of approval procedures. As well, some DENR policies appear to restrict property rights, and scope exists for designing alternative policies that achieve environmental objectives without placing restrictions on tree planting.

Researchers identified major problems with nursery propagation practices producing poor quality planting stock, which when planted had low survival rates or poor growth. In addition, decisions by nurseries on what to grow relied on species availability rather than what was best suited to local site conditions. New nursery practices were developed, then tested in a community nursery situation. Seedlings raised using different techniques were tested in field trials, which later became demonstration tree farms. The economic analysis of seedling production technologies used in the trials will provide guidance on cost-effective nursery practices.

Recognising the social context of forestry development is critical to the development of successful support measures. Researchers now understand how People’s Organisations can become more effective vehicles for implementing community based forest management. They have also identified four landholder ‘typologies’ or groups, each with distinct characteristics and different attitudes to forestry, and each likely to respond in different ways to initiatives to promote forestry development. Carbon sequestration models have been developed for some species used in smallholder forestry, and researchers have identified the payment methods preferred by smallholders for carbon sequestration by their forests.

The Australian component of the project investigated forest industry development in the wet tropics of north Queensland. Twelve preferred industry development options were identified from interviews with key industry stakeholders and these were assessed by expert panels. Timber markets were identified as a major issue, and participants at a workshop held later concluded that problems with the timber supply chain were the crucial limiting factors to industry development.

Project ID
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Commissioned Organisation
University of Queensland, Australia
Project Leader
Dr John Herbohn
+61 438 621534
Collaborating Institutions
Leyte State University, Philippines
Southern Cross University, Australia
Project Budget
Start Date
Finish Date
Extension Start Date
Extension Finish Date
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr Ken Menz