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Climate and Environment

Forests, forest-dependent communities critical to climate action — group

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Forests, forest-dependent communities critical to climate action â group
Members of Upland Farmers Association of Brgy. Mamuyao, Inc. talk while walking toward the reforestation site on February 16, 2021.
Philstar.com / EC Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — Investing in the restoration and protection of forests is a critical component in strategies to mitigate climate change and adapt with its increasing risks, the Forest Foundation Philippines (FFP) said Tuesday.

Forests are widely recognized for their potential in mitigating the impacts of climate change by absorbing and storing planet-heating carbon dioxide.

But forests and trees do much more than that: They ensure water supply, regulate water flow, and protect communities from the impacts of heavy rainfall and strong cyclones.

“Forests will help reduce risks due to climate change and contribute to the resilience of forest-dependent communities by enhancing livelihoods, providing critical ecosystem services, or being shelters during times of storms,” FFP executive director Jose Andres Canivel said Tuesday on the International Day of Forests.

“Despite all those benefits, unfortunately, the Philippines continues to lose most of its forests and forest cover,” he added.

Anthropogenic causes, including large-scale logging and land conversion, are primarily driving forest loss.

The country’s forest cover went down to only 6.8 million hectares in 2010 from 17 million hectares in 1934.

Of the country’s total forestlands, only 6.8 million hectares remain forested as of 2010. This was a significant drop from the 1934 forest cover

Deforestation is compounded by the impacts of the climate crisis such as floods, landslides and storm surges.

New results framework 

FFP on Tuesday launched its 2023 to 2026 results framework, a four-year program that will empower organizations and individuals to protect and sustainably manage forests for land productivity, water and biodiversity.

The initiative also aims to improve forest-related climate action.

The framework will also continue the foundation’s grant program to conserve and protect critical forest landscapes such as the Sierra Madre, Palawan, Samar and Leyte and Mindanao.

Guided by the new results framework, FFP and its partners will seek to achieve the following outcomes: enhanced forested landscapes, improved multi-stakeholder engagement, strengthened cross-sectoral partnerships, and enhanced knowledge management.

“We aim that with the projects that we support, we’ll be able to demonstrate forest conservation actions that will develop communities or conservation actions that will have impacts on their lives, and on climate adaptation and community resilience,” Canivel said. 

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