Understanding forest transition in the Philippines: main farm-level factors influencing smallholder’s capacity and intention to plant native timber trees

Abstract

The ‘when, where and how’ of decisions by smallholder upland farmers to plant trees as part of their use of natural, human and capital resources needs to be understood if policy support is to result in actual recovery of tree cover as part of a ‘forest transition’ trajectory. In large parts of the Philippines the turning point may be close. Data on resource access and tree planting decisions were gathered from a household survey, with a total of 148 respondents in four rural communities in Leyte Province in Central Philippines. Data were analysed using logistic regression analysis. Household-level results reveal that the outcomes of the decision-making processes primarily depend on the availability of land and access to remaining forest resources rather than socio-cultural or economic factors. The total area of land and number of parcels managed by the household plus security of land tenure through ownership was found to have a statistically significant effect on farmers’ decision to plant native timber trees. Access to surrounding natural forest is negatively associated with farmer tree planting.

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Acknowledgments

This study was conducted within the framework of the Smallholder Agroforestry Options on Degraded Soils (SAFODS), EU funded project (No. ICA4-CT-2001-10092), in close collaboration between the Forestry Department from the University of Cordoba (Spain) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). We also thank Mr. Suyanto in ICRAF in Indonesia for his constructive comments and suggestions.

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Correspondence to Fernando Santos Martín.

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Santos Martín, F., Bertomeu, M., van Noordwijk, M. et al. Understanding forest transition in the Philippines: main farm-level factors influencing smallholder’s capacity and intention to plant native timber trees. Small-scale Forestry 11, 47–60 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11842-011-9166-y

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Keywords

  • Agroforestation
  • Upland farmers
  • Household survey
  • Land management
  • Natural forest