Overview of Forest Sector

The Philippines’s total land area of about 30 million hectares is legally classified as alienable and disposable land and forestland. As of 2019, forestlands covered 15.8 million hectares or 52.7%, and alienable and disposable lands spanning 14.2 million hectares or 47.3% of the total land area. Of the 15.8 million hectares of forestland, which is mainly for forest use, it is further categorized into established timberland (33.5%), established forest reserves (10.9%), national parks, game refuge and bird sanctuaries, and wilderness areas (4.5%), military and naval reservations (0.4%), civil reservation (0.6%), fishponds (0.3%), and unclassified forestland (2.5%)[1].

The Philippine Forest Cover data for 2015 was released by the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA). The data was generated through satellite imageries and ground validation. The satellite imageries were from 2015 Land Cover Maps based on digitally classified LANDSAT 8 imageries with 30m resolution taken in 2014-2015. Based on the 2015 data, the total forest cover of the Philippines is estimated at 7.01 million hectares. Of the total forest cover, closed forest was accounted with an area of 2.03 million hectares, open forest with 4.68 million hectares, and mangrove forest with 0.30 million hectares [1].

Forests are considered one of the most valuable natural resources in the Philippines[2]. Forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services which are vital in building climate resilience in the country. Moreover, forests are essential in providing income and livelihood opportunities to upland communities. Upland families rely on forest resources for income and subsistence[3].

The Philippine Master Plan for Climate Resilient Forestry Development, the country’s guide in the development and sustainable management of forests and forestlands, envisions the forestry sector to have a “Climate-resilient and sustainably managed watersheds and forest ecosystems, providing environmental and economic benefits to society.” To achieve this vision, programs and strategies identified for the sector include strengthening the resilience of forest ecosystems and communities to climate change, responding effectively to demands for forest ecosystems goods and services, and promoting responsive forest governance[4].

Moreover, based on the submitted Nationally Determined Contributions of the Philippines, it is one of the priorities of the country to pursue forest protection, forest restoration and reforestation, and access to results-based finance in forest conservation[5].

[1] DENR-FMB. Philippine forests at a glance 2020 edition. Pages 2 and 3.
[2] Senate of the Philippines. 2015. Philippine forests at a glance.
[3] Rawlins et al., 2017.  Understanding the Role of Forests in Supporting Livelihoods and Climate Resilience:  Case Studies in the Philippines. World Bank: Manila, Philippines.
[4] DENR-FMB. 2016. Philippine Master Plan for Climate Resilient Forestry Development.
[5] Republic of the Philippines. Nationally Determined Contribution communicated to the UNFCCC on 15 April 2021.

[-] Laws and Policies. Forest Management Bureau, Department of Environment and Natural Resources website.

Forest Policy Archive

2021Strategy/PlanPhilippines' Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the UNFCCCLink
2021Strategy/PlanPhilippines' Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the UNFCCCLink
2021PolicyDENR Administrative Order No. 2021-04 - Guidelines in the Implementation of the Forestry Investment Portfolio Approach (FIPA)Link
2021PolicyDENR Administrative Order No. 2021-20 - Guidelines in Managing Untenured Forestlands with Plantations Established through Government FundsLink
2021PolicyDENR Administrative Order No. 2021-27 - Prescribing the Guidelines on the Issuance of Provisional Agreement for All Tenure Instruments Issued Under the Forestry SectorLink
2021PolicyDENR Administrative Order No. 2021-32 - Guidelines on the Operationalization of the National Forest Monitoring System for the Implementation of the Philippine REDD+ StrategyLink
2019PolicyDENR Administrative Order No. 2019-03 - Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Executive Order No. 193, Series of 2015: Expanding and Enhancing the Coverage of the National Greening ProgramLink
2019PolicyDENR Administrative Order No. 2019-06 - Adoption of the Philippine Master Plan for Climate Resilient Forestry Development 2016 - 2028 (PMPCRFD)Link
2019PolicyDENR Administrative Order No. 2019-22 - Adoption of the Forestry Investment Road Map (FIRM)Link
2018LawRepublic Act No. 11038 - Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System of 2018Link
2018PolicyDENR Administrative Order No. 2018-21 - Adoption of the Law in Forest and Biodiversity Protection System as a National Strategy for Forest and Biodiversity Protection in the PhilippinesLink
2018Strategy/PlanForestry Investment Roadmap 2018-2028Link
2016Strategy/PlanPhilippines' Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the UNFCCCLink
2016Strategy/PlanPhilippine Master Plan for Climate Resilient Forestry DevelopmentLink
2015LawExecutive Order No. 193, s. 2015 - Expanding the Coverage of the National Greening ProgramLink
2015LawRepublic Act No. 10690 - The Forestry Profession LawLink
2011LawExecutive Order No. 23, s. 2011 - Declaring a Moratorium on the Cutting and Harvesting of Timber in the Natural and Residual Forests and Creating the Anti-Illegal Logging Task ForceLink
2011LawExecutive Order No. 26, s. 2011 - Declaring an Interdepartmental Convergence Initiative for a National Greening ProgramLink
2010Strategy/PlanPNRPS Philippine National REDD-Plus Strategy Proposals for Responsible REDD-Plus in the PhilippinesLink
2009LawRepublic Act No. 9729 - Climate Change Act of 2009Link
2004LawExecutive Order No. 318, s. 2004 - Promoting Sustainable Forest Management in the PhilippinesLink
1997LawRepublic Act No. 8371 - The Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act of 1997Link
1995LawExecutive Order No. 263, s. 1995 - Adopting Community-Based Forest Management as the National Strategy to Ensure the Sustainable Development of the Country's Forestlands Resources and Providing Mechanisms for its ImplementationLink
1992LawRepublic Act No. 7586 - National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992Link
1987LawExecutive Order No. 192, s. 1987 - Reorganization Act of the Department of Environment and Natural ResourcesLink
1975LawPresidential Decree 705, s. 1975 - Revised Forestry Code of the PhilippinesLink
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