1 Million Forest Sanctuary in Mindanao
Mindanao´s remnant forest estimated a million hectares left barely 10 percent of the island´s landmass. Continuous threat from invasive development of logging, mining and plantations fragmented them to half dozen blocks of lowland, mountain ecosystem and residual corridors. Key strategy identified to secure them is empowering forest tribal people to lead protection and development. Ancestral land titles and sustainable development plans are most popular to mainstream tribal people. Assistance in securing
these are provided by NGO´s and Philippine government´s indigenous people´s commission.
Various tribal people set up practical forest management regimes anchored on common cultural values such as; sacred sites, extraction-hunting-gathering areas and agroforest zones. Sacred sites are also designated wildlife sanctuaries. Extraction areas are set aside for rattan or NTFP harvesting, hunting and trapping wildfoods and medicinal plants. Agroforest zones are primarily food sufficiency swidden food-crop farms mixed with abaca, coffee, falcatta, fruits and other traditional commodity crops and livestocks.
Model wildlife sanctuaries established are essentially governed by tribal rules and agreements among elders and guardians. Barangay and municipal ordinances were secured and integrated in formal ancestral domain sustainable development and protection plans. Forest harvesting plans were agreed upon with tribal land owners and coordination permit with forestry agency. Ventures on abaca growing, processing and trading were executed by various tribal organization with entrepreneur,local government´s, agricultural institutes and NGO´s. Tribal gathering among them was taken and pledge of initial 660 thousand hectares forest under the regime was executed through tribal compact. An agreement forged by elders to strengthen each other through networking, alliances, exchanges and partnership with civil society and government.