Forest Protection and Rehabilitation cum Livelihood Project
within the Obu-Manuvu Ancestral Domain at Sitio Macatabo,
Brgy. Carmen, Davao City
2nd Quarter Report
Joshua L. Donato and Jayson C. Ibañez1
Cover Photo: The Obu-Manuvu forest guard poses with their Forest Protection Officer and two foreign volunteers during their regular monthly monitoring and patrolling (JLD/PEF).
For the past ten (10) months since the launching of the third phase of the Forest Protection and Rehabilitation cum Livelihood project within the Obu Manuvu Ancestral Domain in Sitio Macatabo Brgy. Carmen, Davao, the activities and the work of Obu Manuvu indigenous community and forest guards were very successful. The project rests on the same foundational assumptions and ultimate goals: that meeting biodiversity conservation and human needs need not to be limited. With this, we focused this year’s implementation on building local capacities and encouraging self-governance. With the new skill set and knowledge that they gain, we foresee genuine empowerment.
Together with investing on sustainable livelihoods to diversify income sources, the
project also helps alleviate poverty.
As of this writing, the PEF and the community have accomplished more than 50% of project activities. This report highlights was has been accomplished so far for the months of July-October 2015.
Project Facilitation and Management
Part of the work of Datu Paulino Landim and Bae Nilda Landim on the other hand focused on representing the community during tribal council meetings, LGU meetings, DCWD meetings, BLGU meetings and other public functions that concerns the IP’s. The couple was also active in facilitating planning for the proposed eco-tourism venture within the ancestral domain. In particular, they secured the documentary and other requirements so EGIP could purchase the lands of the Dayatdayatan’s for eco-tourism. They were also responsible for filing law suits against illegal loggers and land grabbers. As of this moment, two cases has been filed, one case of illegal logging and two cases of land grabbers. The agencies to whom the cases were reported to are the NCIP, DENR, CENRO-West, PNP and the BLGU-Carmen. Formal complaints and affidavits have been lodged and we are awaiting action from the concerned agencies. Project implementation for this phase was a success over-all. Indigenous Project Leaders Datu Paulino Landim and Bae Nilda Landim have effectively performance their project and political governance functions. The PEF maintained its facilitating role through Forest Protection Officer Joshua Donato, but he was also assisted by two Indigenous project officers. One of the Indigenous staff is Mr. Jovert Aggas who focuses on the environmental management component of the project (i.e. biodiversity monitoring, and species and site protection). Ms. Cresencia Manando-on on the other hand focused on Indigenous development concerns, such as economic development and governance (i.e. farm development at the Karilongan community farms, Almaciga enterprise feasibility studies, cooperative development and other NTFP initiatives).
We continued to strengthen local capacity for organizational governance. We continue to facilitate quarterly community assemblies as an exercise on transparency and participatory decision-making. We also continue to broker partnerships on behalf of the organization. Other specific activities include assistance with documenting cases of illegal logging, encroachment and land-grabbing within the domain, filing of cases and making follow-ups.
In addition, we also provided technical assistance advise in the maintenance and upkeep of the community nursery and their community farms at Karilongan. We engaged volunteer technicians and foresters to assist them. They were assisted as well with respect to documenting their work, including writing reports and letters using their desktop computer. We have also engaged volunteers during weekends.
Biodiversity Research, Monitoring and Management
Biodiversity monitoring and patrolling has been the effective way of collecting reliable and up-to date information on the state of the Obu-Manuvu ancestral forest resources such as forest area change, biomass inventory, assessment of floral and faunal species and others. This has been the backbone of the project which aims to protect their remaining forest from several forest and wildlife threats. This has been also the effective approach not only on saving Philippine Eagles and other species but also conserving their natural habitat.
Data on Obu-Manuvu forest guard’s regular foot monitoring and patrolling have been accumulated, many lessons have been learned, several milestones achieved and new protocol has been refined to monitor the status of the biodiversity in the area as well as minimize the disturbance of floral and faunal species that naturally thrive in.
For this stage, four major activities were done so far by the Obu Manuvu forest guards namely; (1) monitoring the threats “hot spot” around their ancestral domain, (2) constructing trails (soft and hard “loop” trails) from Sitio Macatabo to their community farms in Karilongan Area as farm-to-market trail and for possible cultural/eco-tourism venture project sites , (3) monitoring of flora and fauna key species and features within the ancestral domain using SMART-LAWIN System and (4) continuous monitoring of released Philippine Eagle “Matatag”. The following are the details of the said activities:
1. Monitoring of threats “hot spots” on Obu-Manuvu Ancestral Forest
The Obu-Manuvu forest guards identified and pin pointed threats “hot spots” around their ancestral domain where illegal activities such as timber poaching, land grabbing, illegal logging, encroachment of non-Indigenous settlers, illegal wildlife hunting and trapping, and kaingin are rampant and presently occurred. Those “hot spots” are part of their foot patrols route where they will spend time and efforts concentrating in controlling, preventing or mitigating threats within their ancestral domain.
Based on the result of the foot monitoring and patrolling, almost 70% of the forest and wildlife threats has been stopped, controlled, prevented and mitigated. For the remaining threats, the Forest Protection and Management Committee (FPMC) has apprehended and filed cases to the illegal loggers, encroachers and land grabbers. They submitted a complain/report with attached photos to the concerned agencies such as DENR, NCIP, Obu-Manuvu Tribal Council, City Government of Davao and BLGU-Carmen. As of this writing, those cases are still on the process of investigation though the forest guards believed that concrete actions will be dealt to those wrong doers.
As of now, aside from the bureaucracy system that our government have in terms of responding to the cases they have filed, the unending encroachment of non-IPs, illegal harvesting of rattans and illegal hunting/trapping are some unresolved problems around their ancestral domain forest though appropriate actions are now properly taken by the Forest Protection and Management Committee (FPMC) to the proper authorities and for effective lobbying. They are still investigating who did such actions and settle the issues.
2. Construction of Trails
One of the main components for this year’s project was the maintenance of the ancestral domain in preparation for cultural/eco-tourism activities. Building and maintaining trails, observation posts, mark and prepare trails (soft and hard “loop” trails) and camp sites for the eco-tourism venture are some activities that the FPMC and Obu-Manuvu forest guards focused on. As proposed and requested by the majority of the members of the community to Forest Protection and Management Committee, constructing of trails from Sitio Macatabo to Karilongan Area where most of the member of Obu Manuvu community established their farms (common access area) are their priority since most of them find difficult to transport their farm products from their farm going to the market road (Sitio Macatabo). The hard and loop trails were constructed starting along the riparian forest of Panigan River going to their community farm where they also established their agro-forestry nursery and going down again passing Karilongan Area.
This hard and loop trails were also intended in preparation for eco-tourism activities such as birdwatching, mountain climbing, forest walk and farm and nursery visits. According to Mr. Adrian and Trinket Constantino- a husband-and-wife team who both have an extensive experience of birdwatching in the country and are co-founders of Birding Adventure Philippines, the area was potential as birding site because aside of the presence of Philippine eagle, there are also some endemic birds such as the three species of hornbills. They visited the area during the birdwatching training with PEF staff, volunteers and community partners sponsored by DOT-ADB Canada. They also added that area was good because of the existing cultural practices and traditions that the Obu-Manuvu community have.
The status of the biodiversity in the Obu-Manuvu Ancestral Domain forest and the refinement of the new monitoring protocol have been effective so far for the past ten months of biodiversity monitoring and assessment. This time, forest patrols specifically the monitoring of flora and fauna was complemented by the use of SMART-LAWIN (Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool/Landscape and Wildlife Indicators) monitoring schemes in partnership with B+Wiser Philippines and was supported by USAID and DENR. This automated system of monitoring uses new technology in identifying culturally important and triggers species and takes video recordings and pin point threat “hotspots” within the domain. Tables below showed the list of flora and faunal species (birds and mammals) documented using SMART-LAWIN monitoring system in Obu-Manuvu Ancestral Domain in Brgy. Carmen:Table 1. List of Culturally Important and Trigger species of Birds documented in Obu-Manuvu Ancestral Domain in Brgy. Carmen using SMART-LAWIN monitoring system.
|Common Name||Local Name||Scientific Name||Status||No.of Individuals|
|Apo Myna||Tugkaling||Basilornis miranda||Near Threatened||2|
|Philippine Fairy Bluebird||Borowing||Irena cyanogastra||Near Threatened||1|
|Short-crested Monarch||Kalinsawi||Hypothymis helenae||Near Threatened||3|
|Philippine Eagle||Banog||Pithecophaga jefferyi||Critically Endangered||0|
|White-eared Brown Dove||Alimukon||Phapitreron leucotis||Least Concern/Culturally Important||13|
|Southern Rufous Hornbill||Kalyawa||Buceros mindanensis||Vulnerable||6|
|Writhed Hornbill||Ong-ngik||Rhabdotorrhinus leucocephalus||Near Threatened||2|
|South Philippine Hawk Eagle||Kapp’i||Nisaetus pinskeri||Endangered||2|
Table 2. List of Culturally Important and Trigger species of Mammals documented in Obu-Manuvu Ancestral Domain in Brgy. Carmen using SMART-LAWIN monitoring system.
|Common Name||Local Name||Scientific Name||Status||No.of Individuals|
|Philippine Warty Pig||Baboy Mabun’os||Sus philippensis||Vulnerable||8|
|Philippine Deer||Sa’arung/Binaw||Rusa marianna||Vulnerable||2|
|Philippine Flying Lemur||Kaa’bah/Kagwang||Cynocephalus volans||Least Concern||1|
|Mindanao Tree Shrew||Tingkul’let/Salumbaboy||Urogale everetti||Least Concern||4|
|Mindanao Tree Squirrel||Laksoy/Kadsik||Sundasciurus mindanensis||No information yet||2|
|Malay Civet||Musang/Marang||Viverra tangalunga||Least Concern||4|
Table 3. List of Culturally Important and Trigger species of Plants documented in Obu-Manuvu Ancestral Domain in Brgy. Carmen using SMART-LAWIN monitoring system.
|Common Name||Local Name||Scientific Name||Status||No.of Individuals|
|Philippine Maple||Gutok-kasili||Acer laurinum||Vulnerable||32|
|Philippine Cinnamon||Kalingag/Kaningag||Cinnamomum mercadoi||Vulnerable||41|
|Igem||Igim||Dacrycarpus cumingii||Least Concern||21|
|Tanguile||Bau’rong||Shorea polysperma||Critically Endangered||11|
|Mayapis||Lawaang Pula||Shorea palosapis||Critically Endangered||8|
|Rattan||Uway||Calamus sp.||Least concern||105|
Biodiversity Monitoring and Assessment using SMART-LAWIN monitoring system results strongly indicate the presence of substantial forest biodiversity within the Obu- Manuvu ancestral domain. All of the species listed as culturally important and trigger species for biodiversity conservation are observed in the area except the Philippine Eagle which is very usual since even the monitoring team saw the eagle in the area occasionally.
For bird species (See Table 1 above), the white-eared brown dove (Phapitreron leucotis) is the most common species seen and heard as expected. This is very abundant in the area and culturally important species to the tribe as sources of different omens or signs. The calls of white-eared brown dove locally known as “Alimukon” would sign whether the hunter will proceed with his hunting trip or not. Forest guards typically identify the bird with their native or local names. Some can also identify birds through their calls. They used also the “Bird Guide of the Philippines by Kennedy et.al as reference as well as the photographic guides printed by PEF.
Meanwhile, mammals, in particular, were hard to find because they are too sensitive and tend to flee at the sight of people. In this case, forest guards used indicators of their presence, such as faecal droppings, leftovers in feeding grounds, wallows, roosting sites, hoof tracks, and any animal derivatives like hair and bones. These indicators were photographed and recorded. Other species that were hard to identify, such as rodents and bats encountered at night, were also noted. Other traits such as their estimated size, length, color and other distinct features were also described. For species of mammals (See Table 2 above), the existence of Philippine Warty Pig (Sus philippinensis) was very common where hoof tracks are almost seen everywhere inside the domain. This was also supported by the information and observation of one of our Forest Guard Mr. Loreto Bangcas, an Obu-Manuvu elder and past hunter during one of our forest patrols. According to him, there was a massive increase of the presence of the wild boar in their domain since foot monitoring and patrolling started which showed evidence that they are now protected from illegal hunting that uses hand-made air guns and other non-traditional methods.
For plant species (See Table 3 above), some of these plants are used as herbal medicine, source of food, source of livelihood, home decorations and some are considered valuable to their tribe as symbol of their culture. Forest guards can identify these plants with their native or local names. They also used photographic guides printed by PEF. Rattan (Calamus sp.) and Almasiga (Agathis philippinensis) are the most copious species inside their ancestral forest. But, sad to say, there are also the most prone to illegal harvesting and cutting. Evidences of illegal harvesting of rattan, past timber coaching and cutting was also observed during foot patrols.
- Monitoring of Released Philippine Eagle “Matatag”
The Obu-Manuvu forest guards are now very active and continue their monitoring of the instrumented released Philippine eagle using radio and satellite telemetry techniques, observation and assessment of his condition, securing the safety of the bird within their ancestral forest as part of their .management of focal species. Aside from this, they also monitor some part of their ancestral forest daily with logistic and technical support from other funding agencies. With this initiative, they earn additional income while continuing their monitoring around their domain. They earned 300 per day for monitoring of released Philippine Eagle named “Matatag”.
With the tragic death of the Philippine Eagle “Pamana” in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Mount Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (MHRWS) in Davao Oriental last August 2015, this brought controversy in wildlife protection not only to the conservation community but to the entire country. This has challenged also to the Obu-Manuvu forest guards team to strengthen their efforts in looking after “Matatag” and ensuring his survival in the wild. With the supervision of PEF Field Biologists and volunteers, they intently monitor Matatag after almost a year of being released in Barangay Carmen, Davao City. Matatag is found approaching Barangay Tambobong where he was rescued with a gunshot wound in April 2011. With this alarming observation, they also intensified the information and education campaigns (IEC) in the area to inform the locals about the presence of Matatag. They also continue to conduct house-to house IEC and put some posters and tarpaulins in some strategic places.
They plan to monitor Matatag until he will able to find his mate/partner and until his safety is secured in the area.
Sustainable Livelihood and Agriculture
In order to protect and conserve their ancestral forest and the Philippine eagle, the project also recognized the need of the whole Obu-Manuvu Indigenous community and how they will provide the needs of their families (food, shelter, health and education). To attain this goal, generating supplemental and biodiversity-friendly sources income is part of the design of this year’s phase. Apart from this, this year’s phase also aim to find viable sources of income for a conservation fund that will be used to sustain protection and management activities within Obu Manuvu AD forest.
For this phase, backyard gardening and establishment of nursery for cacao seedlings is the focused of the Obu Manuvu community. As of this writing, 5000 cacao seedlings are already planted in their nursery in Karilongan area. This will be distributed to 55 farmers of Obu Manuvu community before the end of November this year in addition to their 95 banana each last quarter. The project also provides organic fertilizer (chicken dung) to their planted banana last month. Meanwhile, the community backyard garden which was planted with green onion in Macatabo nursery was now transferred in Karilongan area and it will be harvested later this month. They plan to sell the part of the harvest for the maintenance of their nursery while distribute and replant the remaining green onions.
In addition, for this year’s phase, the project aims to provide a direct response to the linked problems of rural poverty and forest degradation. The project will focus on at least two enterprises that have gained a reputation as being biodiversity friendly: (i) Almaciga resin enterprise and (ii) community-based eco- and cultural tourism. Last September 21-23, two Obu-Manuvu forest guards accompanied by their Forest Protection Officer attended an Almasiga Resin Enterprise Summit in Barangay Upper Tibanban in Governor Generoso, Davao Oriental where Almasiga resin enterprise initiative was successfully and currently done. They promised to provide technical assistance at no cost to this project and will conduct an actual survey in the area. As of now, the priority is to start a formal (yet cost-effective) Feasibility Study about Almaciga resin enterprise within the Obu Manuvu ancestral domain. For community-based eco- and cultural tourism, the Indigenous Project Managers are facilitating the acquiring of Dayatdayatan’s property such as processing the right of way of the lot and communicating with BLGU-Carmen for some documents needed to buy the lot.
Engaging local staff increases the chances of success for these projects because they share the same culture and values of the community, it is easier for the local organizers to express information and muster support from the community. It also aims to develop and strengthen the skills, instincts, abilities, processes and resources that the communities needs in order to survive, adapt, and thrive in the fast-changing world.
For this project, local project staff will be trained, engaged and remunerated by the PEF staff. Indigenous project managers Datu Paulino Landim Sr. and Bae Nilda Landim will be also engaged and capacitated to oversee, supervise and manage day-to-day project activities. This initiative (actively engaging and coaching locals) is part of the strategy to build local capacity in preparation for the eventual “turning over” of project management over to the community in the near future.
As of this quarter, the local community staff has been very active and participative in all coaching and training activities done by PEF. For local staffs who is assigned for environmental management component, the PEF Forest Protection Officer personally did a hands-on training on the proper way of biodiversity monitoring, how to organize forest patrols, what to do during the foot patrolling, teaching the proper protocol on monitoring and how to use the tablet for SMART-LAWIN monitoring system. On the other hand, the local staffs who is assigned for enterprise development and governance was very active in managing the activities in the development of farms in Karilongan. She is also tasked to oversee the community backyard garden project, establishment of nursery and taking good care of the development intended for cultural/eco-tourism activities such the trails and camp sites. Both local staff including project managers was also taught how to facilitate meetings, evaluations and community assemblies. They are also taught how to make a report.
A simultaneous monitoring of a released Philippine Eagle is also being undertaken by three forest guards at a time. They were actively involved in monitoring the instrumented eagle using radio and satellite telemetry techniques, observation of the focal species as good conservation trigger species, and observing the status of the forest where eagles usually go where they can complement efforts to prevent destructive activities within the domain. Another thing is, PEF also invited some members of the Obu-Manuvu community for some trainings conducted that includes birdwatching training and cultural dances and enhancement training in preparation also for their cultural and eco-tourism venture of the project.
Below are the priority activities for next quarter of the project:
- Distribution and planting of cacao seeds of 55 farmers of Obu-Manuvu community.
- Plant other perennial crops after they harvest the green onion in their backyard garden.
- Training on tapping of Almasiga resins.
- Training on cooperative development.
- Continue to follow-up with the NCIP and DENR for the re-deputation of the forest guards.
- Start a formal (yet cost-effective) Feasibility Study about Almaciga resin enterprise within the Obu Manuvu ancestral domain.
- Follow-up on a filed cases against violators (e.g., recent encroachment in Kalatong and Tabak Area and land grabbing case in Karilongan area) caught by forest guards.
- Follow-up on the eco-tourism venture (Dayatdayatan’s property e.g. right of way dilemma)
- Continue on forest monitoring/patrolling using tablet donated by B+Wiser Philippines in the other part of the domain.
- Maintaining the trails in Karilongan area for possible test run of eco-tourism venture including birdwatching, forest walks and farm and nursery visits.
- Testing of use of conservation drone to complement foot patrolling and facilitate court cases with definite proof of violations.
We would like to extend our gratitude to Datu Paulino Landim, to the officers of FPMC, to the 38 forest guards and to the 55 families of Obu-Manuvu community who are very supportive throughout the whole duration of the project. We are likewise indebted to Unified Obu Manuvu Tribal Council of Elders/Leaders, Ancestral Domain Management Office (ADMO), NCIP and the Barangay Council of Barangay Carmen headed by Barangay Captain Alfredo Austral for their usual support for the project specifically in helping the Obu-Manuvu community in Dayatdayatan case. The 37th IB for our security during our forest patrols.
We are also thankful to Stefanie Grace Ang, Mark Johann Mabalot, Tristan Seranillos, Rosemarie Badillo of FPE-USEP, Alejandro Legor and David Perez of Spain for assisting the community in agro-forestry project and during the quarterly biodiversity monitoring and assessment. We are also indebted to B+Wiser-USAID, Flora and Fauna International (FFI) and DENR for allowing the Obu-Manuvu forest guards to use the tablet for SMART-LAWIN monitoring system.
This project was supported by EGIP Foundation.