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Conserving the last forests on Negros through supporting local people

Negros forests, Philippines

The island of Negros, in the West Visayas of the Republic of the Philippines was nicknamed 'isla dulce' by the Spanish colonialists because the land was perfect for growing sugar cane. Unfortunately, due to the high demand for sugar throughout the world, many hectares of original forest have been cleared to make way for sugar cane plantations. Now only around 4% of the original forest survives and species such as the Negros bleeding heart dove, Visayan warty pig, rufous-headed hornbill, taritic hornbill and Philippine spotted deer - all endemic and threatened with extinction - are contained in the limited forested areas remaining.

Working through a fully participatory process such that any 'solution' is fully owned and managed by the local community - with support - a sustainable development project has been designed and is being implemented.  'Project Lasang Habagat' is based on a Theory of Change model developed over several years of consultation, discussions and agreements.  You can read full details of Lasabang Habagat by downloading the project documents (English and Cebauno versions available).

 

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Naubo Community Farmers' Association

Clearing forest for fields to grow crops is the long-established paradigm for livelihoods of rural, forest edge communities. The people in the village of Naubo are no different in this from their forefathers. But with the help of Landscape Conservation and under the banner of 'Lasang Habagat' (which means 'forest of the south' in the local language - Cebauno), the villagers have formed the Naubo Community Forest Association (NFCFA) to undertake new ways of living - ways that do not need new fields to be constantly carved out of the forest. The goal of Lasang Hagabat is development through sustainable use of natural resources, and changing to new ways of livelihood, such as thrading in new products or offering new services to existing markets, such as bird-watchers, who already frequent the area due to the presence of the Negros striped babbler: the Canaway Valley, close to Naubo and part of the Cuernos de Negros forest, is one of the only places in the world that bird-watchers can be pretty well guaranteed to see this elusive and much-sought after bird species.

 
Situation in the Canaway Valley, Negros forest

A Short Video of the challenges in conserving landscapes for future generations