CBFM continues to benefit upland farmers

The Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) continues to bring benefits to upland farmers through the implementation of livelihood and agro-forestry projects in the Bicol Region.

In its 2011 report, the Forest Management Service (FMS) disclosed that thirty-three (33) CBFM projects had been implemented regionwide with seven already turned over to the Regional Office and the others are on its project phase. The CBFM project in the region covers a total of 1,849 hectares benefitting 1,884 upland farmers.

With poverty alleviation and hunger mitigation as its core objectives, the
CBFM, since 2007, has provided financial assistance from the Agrarian Reform Fund (ARF) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to support the upland development initiatives in Bicol. The projects under CBFM are carried out to: improve the productivity of upland communities by generating additional income; and to promote food security.

Among the project’s accomplishments are: establishment of agroforestry plantations -Agroforestry farm development is the planting of forest trees combined with agricultural crops; establishment of nursery, propagation and composting; and purchase and distribution of carabaos to members of organized groups.

“These multi-faceted goals and results espoused by the CBFM-CARP program have enticed more People’s Organizations (PO) to join the project and become forest stewards” DENR Bicol Regional Executive Director Joselin Marcus Fragada said.

Foresters involved in the CBFM-CARP program said that in 2012 they are expecting to add more projects as more POs have signified intent to enter into an agreement with the DENR.

The CBFM program was adopted in the Bicol Region in 1994 pursuant to Executive Order No. 263 adopting CBFM as a national strategy to ensure the sustainable development of the country’s forest resources. On October 10, 1996, DENR Administrative Order 96-29 was issued to implement the CBFM strategy.

The objective of CBFM is to empower and train people or communities to become effective partners of DENR in the sustainable management of forest resources. The DENR also seeks partnership with Local Government Units (LGUs), NGOs, and other groups in the implementation of CBFM program.

CBFM applies to all areas classified as forest lands, including allowable zones within protected areas not covered by prior vested rights.

Participants in the program are people actually residing within or adjacent to forest lands. They could actually be tilling portions of the area or traditionally using the forest resources for livelihood. The participants are organized into people’s organization which represents the interest of the members, protect and maintain forest land entrusted to their stewardship. The DENR and LGU identify CBFM areas, and organize and prepare CBFM communities.

In the Bicol region, there are now 117 Community-Based Forest Management Agreements (CBFMAs) covering 49,140.33 ha with 117 people’s organization, and benefiting  9,327  individual household members from the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon. 

Press Release: February 24, 2012