Landcare on the poverty-protection interface in an Asian watershed
Garrity, Dennis P.
Catacutan, Delia C.
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This paper presents an integrated approach to natural resource management (INRM) that addresses both conservation of biodiversity and development to increase incomes and well-being in impoverished, fragile regions. The new approach suggested by the authors focuses on grass-roots movements to increase sustainable development. In the case study region, which is situated in the buffer zone of the Kitanglad Range Natural Park in the Manupali watershed, central Mindanao, the Philippines, there was successful widespread implementation of tree farming and conservation farming agroforestry techniques. The growth of fruit tree and timber farming increased tree cover in the buffer zone, and the use of buffer strips both decreased soil erosion and runoff and increased crop productivity. Local farmer-led Landcare groups helped to enhance conservation, restoring stream-corridor vegetation and contributing significantly to the 95% decrease of encroachment in the national park over three years. To resolve the overlapping, sometimes conflicting, management roles of the park, the ancestral domain claims of the indigenous people, and the local governments, the involved institutions are now developing a negotiation support system. The INRM applied to this region can serve as a national model for sustainable local natural resource and watershed management. The success of this approach, which worked with a very limited budget, suggests that projects based on high local commitment and involvement with "drip-feed" funding are preferable to large projects with generous external funding.