Achieving sustainable landscapes and livelihoods in the Philippine uplands: the role of farmer and stakeholder aspirations and actions
Across many upland watersheds in developing countries, declining land health is constraining the land-use options that are available to farmers and the profitability of farming livelihood. In the Philippines, the government's land management strategies have varied in objectives and the extent to which they consider environmental and socioeconomic aspects. Demonstrated impacts have been patchy at best, especially with multiple stakeholders having different priorities on land-use and...[Show more]
|dc.description.abstract||Across many upland watersheds in developing countries, declining land health is constraining the land-use options that are available to farmers and the profitability of farming livelihood. In the Philippines, the government's land management strategies have varied in objectives and the extent to which they consider environmental and socioeconomic aspects. Demonstrated impacts have been patchy at best, especially with multiple stakeholders having different priorities on land-use and often-competing livelihood goals. This thesis uses an integrated assessment framework to understand and reconcile farmers' and external stakeholders' perceptions about the complexity and dynamics of land-use and livelihoods in the Cabulig watershed, southern Philippines. It aims to analyze the current land-use and livelihoods conditions and trends, investigate the drivers of land-use and livelihood change, explore the future that farmers and external stakeholders aspire to, and examine the willingness and capacity of farmers to adopt and invest in sustainable land-use. These are accomplished using a mixed-methods approach and a numerical modelling approach using Bayesian networks (BN). The research reveals the transition in the Cabulig watershed from swidden cultivation in forests to smallholder farming, and then into commercial and plantation agriculture. Current land-uses are usually not suitable for the landscape positions where they are located; this is true under existing management systems and, for most crops, even with the best management practices. Livelihoods have diversified from subsistence to a mix of on-farm, off-farm and non-farm activities. Farming alone is no longer feasible. While farmers' decisions and strategies are determined by their farms' biophysical conditions, available land, financial capital and labour, experience and knowledge, external factors also played a major role. Factors at the watershed level include demographic changes, governance relating to policies and institutions, and the recent shift to the plantation economy. Two types of farmers emerged based on their aspirations: 'prosperous' and 'survivalist'. Most farmers fall into the survivalist category and expressed a preference for agricultural crops. Decision-makers and researchers are supportive of the farmers' crop preferences but not their preferred agriculture-based land-use; they would prefer farmers adopt agroforestry/tree-based systems. Farmers preference reflects the watershed's current extension activities focusing on changing crops and not the systems. Farming aspirations, slope and perceived risks of typhoons are the most significant factors influencing farmers' willingness to change (WTC) land-use. Their capacity to do so is affected by their available financial capital, education, land-use values and reasons (for wanting to make a change). The BN model on farmers' WTC land-use revealed current land-use as the most influential variable while the capacity to change (CTC) BN model emphasized the availability of financial capital. Using a scenario of improved access to extension, the WTC model suggests that in villages currently with poor access to extension, the probability that farmers would be willing to change their current land-use into agriculture increases (at the expense of agroforestry/tree-based farms). The CTC model with a scenario of improved financial availability suggests an increased probability of farmers' CTC land-use. Development interventions in the Cabulig watershed needs to shift from the current focus on the technical aspects of land-use to improving farmers' livelihood capitals, especially financial. This needs to be matched with effective and appropriate extension program that promotes agroforestry/tree-based systems for restoring upland watersheds. These extension programs need to be more balanced and holistic considering farmers' livelihood needs, aspirations and capabilities as well as environmental sustainability.|
|dc.title||Achieving sustainable landscapes and livelihoods in the Philippine uplands: the role of farmer and stakeholder aspirations and actions|
|local.contributor.affiliation||Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU College of Science, The Australian National University|
|Collections||Open Access Theses|
|PhD_thesis_cdpinon_final_revised_2022.pdf||Thesis Material||6.45 MB||Adobe PDF|
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