Bataraza, Palawan, Philippines, June 18, 2019.
By Jessie Cereno, Talakatha Creatives.
A woman farmer in Bataraza, southern Palawan walks through a slash-and-burn area of an agricultural section of Mount Mantaligahan, 140 kms south of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, Phiippines.
The Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape encompasses five municipalities, within these municipalities and bordering the protected area are 140,184 hectares of forestlands. The largely forested protected area and the forestlands around it provide various ecosystem services that benefit the local and indigenous communities. These ecosystem services include supplying water, food, medicine, scenic places, fertile soils, and wildlife habitats. The forest cover also prevents the occurrence of destructive forces like flash floods. Thus, it is in the best interest of the communities to have their forests and forestlands placed under an effective management system.
The USAID Protect Wildlife Project builds farmer capacities to use sustainable farming methods. The Project promotes planting a diversity of food crops, creating buffer zones of native trees around existing forest, and the reclamation of degraded land through reforestation and other practices.
Forests are still being cut down and burned to clear land for farming, ranching, and road building. Slash-and-burn contributes to climate change by releasing all the carbon that the forest trees have absorbed over their lifetimes.