Members of Malatgao United Riverside Farmers Association in Quezon municipality, Palawan province received their high-quality durian seedlings from the USAID-funded Protect Wildlife project in the Philippines. They are among the 600 local and indigenous farmers who were trained and engaged by USAID Protect Wildlife in 2019 to plant 44,000 durian seedlings in approximately 400 hectares of forestland in southern Palawan. This agroforestry and conservation agriculture initiative is a way for USAID to provide incentives to farmers who agree to plant high-value fruit trees in forestlands and buffer zones classified as production areas. When successful, this can contribute to increased tree cover in their area, enhanced climate resiliency through healthier forests, and improved conservation of local biodiversity.
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Indigenous women farmers in Bataraza, southern Palawan, Philippines, plant upland rice in now-controlled slash-and-burn areas. Bataraza is a municipality nestled in the foothills of Mount Mantaligahan, 140 km south of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan, Phiippines. Within the vast Mount Mantalingahan mountain range lies the Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape. Covering 120,457 hectares of forest, this protected area serves as the headwater of 33 watersheds and is home to many highly-endangered wildlife species. In terms of farming, slash-and-burn agriculture has been used by the local communities for many generations, but its effect in today’s diminishing state of natural resources has been destructive and unsustainable. The USAID-funded Protect Wildlife Project, in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, is helping indigenous people improve upland farming and strengthen local livelihoods so they won't need to expand their slash-and-burn areas or resort to wildlife poaching just to make ends meet. These women farmers have been taught the proper upland farming techniques, such as using a minimum land area for inter-cropping of vegetables and fruit trees. Slash-and-burn agriculture causes deforestation, accidental fires, habitat and species loss, increased air pollution and the release of carbon into the atmosphere, which contributes to global climate change. Photo taken in Palawan, Philippines on June 18, 2019.
In Sugodi, Barangay Cabayugan, Palawan, Philippines, newly cleared forest land for agriculture, with views of pristine forests protected by the CADC and park areas in the background.