Special Grant Programs

Special Grant Programs - NED 2

Forest Foundation Philippines forged partnerships with various development organizations to strengthen its forest protection and conservation activities.

Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Area Landscape (MMPL) Endowment Fund

MMPL is the largest terrestrial protected area in Palawan, covering 120,457 hectares of land. Its expansive forest area is one of the 10 sites of the Alliance for Zero Extinction in the Philippines, and one of the 11 important bird areas in Palawan, as most of the threatened and restricted-range birds of the Palawan Endemic Bird Area are found in the Mantalingahan range. The mountain is also a sanctuary to a rich diversity of species — a number of which are important animals and plants endemic to the mountain. With the recent discoveries of several potentially new species of plants and animals in the area, MMPL represents a significant contribution to the known pool of Philippine and global biodiversity.

MMPL’s undeniable significance both to the country’s biodiversity and Palawan’s economy led Forest Foundation, together with the Conservation International Philippines, MMPL Protected Area Management Board, and other stakeholders, to establish the MMPL Endowment Fund in 2016. The trust fund, the first of its kind in the Philippines, provides sustainable financing for the long-term maintenance, protection, and enrichment of the biodiversity within the MMPL. It supports livelihood diversification programs for the indigenous peoples and the improvement of their well-being. It also ensures that the MMPL’s watershed can continue to provide fresh water to all residents of Southern Palawan. 

Philippine Sustainable Interventions for Biodiversity, Oceans, and Landscapes (SIBOL) Project

In 2020, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched the five-year SIBOL Project. In partnership with RTI International, SIBOL works with the Philippine government to introduce and scale up high-impact environmental interventions that support the sustainable management and governance of key natural resources, and reduce environmental crimes and unsustainable practices.

In addition to its national-level work, SIBOL has set up four sites in key protected areas:

  • Masinloc-Oyon Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape
  • Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park and Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve
  • Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape
  • Siargao Island Protected Landscape and Seascape

National policies, programs, and tools are adapted and rolled out at these sites, while local interventions and learnings inform national policies. 

RTI International leads a consortium of natural resource management (NRM) and biodiversity conservation experts. All interventions follow the project’s Planetary Health Approach, using cutting-edge science, coordinated and inclusive governance strategies, and powerful economic incentives to protect both biodiversity and the communities in and around targeted areas.

As one of the SIBOL partners, Forest Foundation supports innovative grants to fund strategic, targeted, and sustainable activities that work toward the project’s objectives. Moreover, the Foundation facilitates stakeholder dialogues and monitoring, and performance assessment to support the development of communications and knowledge management tools, and ensure sustainability of conservation actions.

The project’s commitment to meaningfully engage with government agencies, NRM bodies, communities, media, academic institutions, and research organizations will help conserve the Philippines’ biodiversity, and protect its precious landscapes and seascapes for future generations.

Sustainable and Inclusive Landscape Governance (SILG)

The SILG is a joint program of Forest Foundation and Tropenbos International. The goal of the program is to address the country’s need for proactive goal-setting to ensure sustainable and inclusive futures of the country’s landscapes. To do this, the program designed approaches and tools in facilitating landscape and national level dialogues. The dialogues are enhanced with science-based information and evidence from parallel assessments. This program was formalized in 2017 and focuses on three focal landscapes — Sierra Madre, Palawan, and Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental. As a collaborative program, the SILG aims to continue developing methodologies and tools that can help landscape stakeholders to co-create and co-implement landscape governance activities.

The National Environmental Dialogues (NED) are designed to provide policy pathways for landscape issues and recommendations. It serves as a platform for landscape stakeholders to engage national level agencies, such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Agriculture (DA), Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), National Water Resources Board (NWRB), and Department of Interior and Local Governance (DILG). Engagements from the national dialogue inspire local actions, such as revisiting policies and forming incentive mechanisms. So far, NED has brought forth a unifying realization among stakeholders: There are issues that cut across landscapes — like land conversion, water provisioning, and weak multi-stakeholder engagement in planning and governance, among others.

Since the SILG’s inception in 2017, eight landscape dialogues and two national dialogues have been conducted. In 2020, the dialogues were redesigned for online platforms and were participated by landscape stakeholders through Zoom. All the dialogues are outcomes-oriented and designed to help the landscape groups come together, co-create their common vision, and strengthen their advocacies in the landscape. One of its major outcomes include the creation of the Palawan Landscape Governance Core Group, which agreed to continue taking up landscape issues and formulating governance mechanisms.

SILG is on for another five years (2021-2025) as part of the international Green Livelihood Alliance (GLA). For this period, SILG will focus on Southern Palawan and Southern Sierra Madre towards establishing and accomplishing Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) mechanisms and outcomes.

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Partnership with the Association for the Asian Studies on Cultivating the Humanities and Social Sciences Initiative

With support from the Swedish Government, the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) launched a four-year project titled “Cultivating the Humanities and Social Sciences and Supporting Under-represented Scholars of Asia” to aid students, researchers, women and ethnic minority groups in South and Southeast Asia in conducting local research of relevance to poverty reduction and inclusive and sustainable societies.

Forest Foundation Philippines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the AAS in 2022 to strengthen forest conservation research through the lens of social science and the humanities. The AAS is a non-profit professional association dedicated to the principled advancement of the field of Asian Studies through international intellectual exchange, network building, publications, scholarly projects, support for research, teaching, public outreach and engagement, and career development, both within the academy and beyond. 

A special funding through its small grants program is made available by Forest Foundation Philippines to Filipino scholars, students (MS and PhD), and public intellectuals with projects related to forest conservation and restoration, forest communities and sustainable livelihoods, indigenous knowledge systems, forest policy and governance, (counter)mapping forest landscapes, and other approaches that foster knowledge co-creation, and transdisciplinary knowledge-making in any discipline of humanities and social sciences. Under-represented scholars, including indigenous scholars, women, and early-career researchers, especially from Palawan, Sierra Madre, Samar and Leyte, and Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental, are invited to apply. 

Furthermore, the partnership is expected to foster collaborative activities, such as knowledge exchange and production of knowledge materials, including articles and books related to the Philippine forest environment. It aims to build interdisciplinary scholarship on important issues, such as the sustainable management of forest resources and the protection of its biodiversity, among others.

Partnership with RECOFTC on Advocating for Forest Landscape Governance in Southeast Asia

Forest Foundation Philippines partnered with RECOFTC to advocate for participatory action research in forest landscape governance through Explore, a research network and community of practice dedicated to expanding and applying knowledge on forest landscape governance in Southeast Asia. As a pioneering research network in the world focused on forest landscape governance, Explore takes an interdisciplinary, participatory, and inclusive multi-stakeholder approach.

This partnership between Forest Foundation Philippines and RECOFTC supports landscape actors in applying high quality research into improving policies and institutional frameworks for inclusive and sustainable development. It aims to benefit forest landscapes in Southeast Asia, including the Philippines.

How To Apply For a Grant?

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