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Rainforestation Training for Climate Resilient Recovery

Summary

On November 8, 2013, one of the strongest tropical cyclones ever recorded hit the central Philippines. Super typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda, wreaked havoc to the Eastern Samar and Leyte provinces, causing casualties and damages by the millions.  International and local aid immediately focused on relief operations to provide the basic needs of the 4.1 million people displaced by the disaster, such as relocation and temporary shelters, clean drinking water, food assistance, medical supplies and sanitation facilities.  Rehabilitation efforts followed with the rebuilding of homes, community infrastructures and livelihood. One of the main sources of income in this region is coconut production, being the 2nd highest coconut-producing region in the country with almost 270,000 hectares of coconut plantations just between the two provinces. The typhoon had damaged 33 million coconut trees, with an estimated 13 million totally destroyed in Eastern Samar and Leyte. This has greatly impacted over a million coconut farmers who are already among the poorest and most vulnerable in the country. Some of the farmers have replanted their lands with seedlings provided by aid groups and the national coconut agency, but, they still need to wait six to eight years for the trees to become productive. In the mean time, intercropping with vegetables and fruit trees is being promoted for subsistence and short-term income sources.

Rehabilitating natural ecosystems is also crucial in post-disaster recovery to support human livelihoods and to sustain the delivery of ecosystem goods and services, including a steady supply of water and protection from future extreme weather events. This is an integral part of a climate-resilient recovery strategy, where communities are not only provided with assistance to recover from climate change events but are also better equipped to deal with future disasters.  Realizing the need to address this gap in rehabilitation efforts, ELTI and the Institute of Tropical Ecology and Environmental Management of the Visayas State University (ITEEM-VSU) will conduct a series of site-based Rainforestation Trainings in Eastern Samar and Leyte. The training series aims to rehabilitate damaged watershed areas and augment the current farming system in the surrounding areas using the Rainforestation approach – a participatory, native species-based reforestation/agro-forestry strategy developed by ITEEM-VSU. The training will include in-depth discussions of the key concepts of Rainforestation, presentation of results of the initial site assessment (which is done in collaboration with ELTI-VSU training alumni from the area), a participatory planning process to develop a watershed rehabilitation plan and individual farm plans and a hands-on, step-by-step field demonstration in the watershed area.  This training series hopes to serve as a modest yet concrete contribution to the long-term rebuilding and 'building back better' initiative in the region.

Content

Day 1

  • Introduction to Philippine Biodiversity & Rainforestation
  • Preliminary results of Cabucgayan planting trials
  • Developing a climate-resilient agroecological production system
  • Development and presentation of individual Farm plans

Day 2

  • Development of Cabucgayan Rainforestation Demonstration Farm

Day 3

  • Demonstration on  nursery establishment and lay-outing, propagation techniques, wilding collection, and chambering

Day 4

  • Site visits: Patag Rainforest Association, Marcos, and VSU Nursery & demonstration site