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Certificate Program Field Course: Conservation, restoration, and sustainable use in practice (Philippines)


This course is offered to current and past participants of ELTI's Tropical Forest Landscapes online certificate program

The Philippines is considered one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries and has been called “the Galapagos times ten”. Much of the country’s forests, however, have been cleared for logging and conversion to agriculture. To address the resultant loss of ecosystem services, the government is using an array of strategies including protected areas, community-based forest management, and reforestation. The results, however, have generally been disappointing. ELTI works with Visayas State University (VSU) to change the dominant conservation and restoration paradigm through a strategy of using native tree species for restoration known as Rainforestation. Rainforestation aims to fundamentally change the relationship between people, their land, and natural ecosystems.

Over six days, participants will deepen their understanding of tropical forest ecology by visiting a Key Biodiversity Area, learning about the origins of Rainforestation, visiting demonstration sites, conducting a site assessment, propagating forest tree species, helping develop a Rainforestation site, and learning about ongoing research and applied conservation and restoration efforts. They will also learn how the Rainforestation process addresses complex land tenure and other governance challenges. Participants will interact with local community members and community organizers who have implemented Rainforestation to understand their motives and experiences.

This course will be held at ELTI’s training landscape in Leyte, Philippines, which provides experiential, place-based learning opportunities, designed to facilitate engagement, and demonstrate the application of key concepts.



  • Meet and learn from local landowners and the leaders of community organizations involved in conservation and restoration.
  • Hike in the flora and fauna-rich Mount Nacolod Key Biodiversity Area.
  • Learn about the history and development of Rainforestation from the experts who created the strategy.
  • Collect and propagate critically endangered forest tree species.
  • Participate hands-on in the development of a Rainforestation site.

Location: Leyte Province, Philippines
Duration: 6 days
Cost: $2000 USD*

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1 – Arrival in Tacloban and travel to Visayas State University
Day 2 – Introduction to Philippine biodiversity, conservation, and restoration
Day 3 – Tropical ecology, nursery establishment, and seedling production
Day 4 – Site assessment, assisted natural regeneration, and Rainforestation research and monitoring sites
Day 5 – Site establishment and refining conservation/ restoration plans
Day 6 – Final discussions and return to Tacloban

*Fee includes in-country transport from the Philippines city of Tacloban, accommodations, room and board. The course fee does not include travel cost to and from your site of departure and Tacloban or other associated fees (such as visas and vaccinations). A limited number of partial scholarships are available to cover part of the course fee. There will be a short application process.