Bataraza, Palawan, Philippines, June 18, 2019.
By Jessie Cereno, Talakatha Creatives
A woman farmer sows rice seeds in what used to be a slash-and-burn area of Mount Mantalingahan in southern Palawan, Philippines. Slash-and-burn farming has become rampant in the mountain, aggravating occasional timber poaching and hunting of threatened species like the talking mynah and blue-naped parrot, which are popular pets even among the locals.
To establish and strengthen financing support for sustainable agricultural production in target communities within the Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape, the USAID-funded Protect Wildlife Project holds capacity-building workshops for local farmers in project sites. These farmers are now learning how to make their ancestral land more productive.
Protecting the forest and stopping illegal wildlife trade is a livelihood issue. One cannot just tell the person to stop hunting birds without offering alternative livelihood. By introducing a better source of income or livelihood, controlling the spread of slash-and-burn areas, the project hopes to reduce the human pressure on Mount Mantalingahan, so that the protected area can perform its natural functions in helping mitigate climate change.