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Conference: Mainstreaming Native Species-Based Forest Restoration


Rainforests have been decimated throughout much of the tropics. Driven by land use policies that favor extractive activities, such as timber, mining, and conversion to agriculture, deforestation and forest degradation have resulted in the widespread loss of ecosystem services, including biodiversity maintenance, carbon sequestration, and watershed protection. In order to reestablish forest cover, many countries have embarked on large-scale reforestation projects. These efforts have typically been characterized by the use of a small number of fast-growing, non-native, timber species. A problem with these reforestation efforts, however, is that these exotics trees are often not particularly well-suited to the ecosystem where they are planted, being prone to disease outbreaks and characterized by higher susceptibility to extreme weather events. They also have limited value in terms of biodiversity maintenance and watershed restoration.

In response, a number of researchers and conservation organizations in the Philippines and abroad have been conducting extended studies on the propagation of native trees and the usage of those trees in forest restoration efforts. This conference brought together research scientists and practitioners who have been leading some of these efforts in order to discuss how to begin “mainstreaming” the usage of native tree species.



Welcome remarks: Dr. Emerlinda R. Roman / President, University of the Philippines

Opening remarks: Dr. Edwino Fernando / Professor, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines-Los Baños

Keynote address: Dr. Mark Ashton / Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology and Director of School of Forests, Yale University, USAThe Principles and Techniques for Understanding Degradation and Restoration of Tropical Rainforests, with Special Reference to the Mixed Dipterocarp Forest of Asia.

Speaker series

Thirty-Seven Years of Restoration Results and Future Prospects for the Miyawaki Method
Dr. Kazue Fujiwara / Professor, Yokohama City University

Restoring Tropical Forests for Biodiversity Recovery: Reconciling Ecological and Economic Considerations
Dr. Stephen Elliott / Senior Scientist, Forest Research Restoration Unit, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Rainforestation: Paradigm Shifts in Forest Restoration and Rehabilitation in the Philippines for Sustainability and Climate Change Mitigation
Dr. Pacencia Milan / Professor, Visayas State University, Philippines

Overcoming Knowledge Gaps in the Use of Natives Species for Reforestation and Watershed Rehabilitation: Lessons from PRORENA and the Agua Salud Project
Dr. Jefferson Hall / Staff Scientist, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama

Using Native Plant Species in Forest Restoration and Slope Rehabilitation in Hong Kong, China
Dr. Billy Hau / Assistant Professor, School of Biological Science, Hong Kong University, China

Indigenous Trees as Hedgerow Species in an Acid Upland Agroforestry System
Dr. Agustin Mercado, Jr. / Senior Scientist, World Agroforestry Center

Panel Discussion: Comparing Native and Exotic Species and Different Native Species Reforestation Approaches

Moderator: Dr. Edwino Fernando / Professor, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines-Los Baños


  • Dr. Mark Ashton
  • Dr. Kazue Fujiwara
  • Dr. Stephen Elliott
  • Dr. Pacencia Milan
  • Dr. Jefferson Hall
  • Dr. Billy Hau
  • Dr. Agustin Mercado, Jr.

Synthesis: Dr. Perry Ong / Director, Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines-Diliman


Opening remarks: Dr. Rex Cruz / Dean, College of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of the Philippines-Los Baños

Panel Discussion: Moving Foward with the Rain Forest Restoration Initiative

Moderator: Dr. Juliet Ceniza / Director, Institute of Tropical Ecology and Dean, College of Forestry and Natural Resources, Visayas State University


  • Dr. David Neidel / Asia Training Program Coordinator, Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative
  • Atty. Jose Andres Canivel / Executive Director, Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation
  • Ms. Belinda dela Paz / OIC Director for Operations & Head of Advocacy Division, Haribon Foundation
  • Mr. Godofredo Villapando / Program Development Unit Manager, Foundation for the Philippine Environment
Panel Discussion: Working with the Department of Environment & Natural Resources

Moderator: For. Marlea P. Munez / President, Women’s Initiatives for Society, Culture, and Environment, Inc.


  • Mr. Marlo Mendoza / Director, Forest Management Bureau, DENR
  • Ms. Mirza Samillano / Planning Officer, DENR PENRO Antique
  • Mr. Felix Mirasol / Protected Area Superintendent, Mt. Kitanglad Natural Park
Panel Discussion: Working with Local Government Units

Moderator: Atty. Jose Canivel / Executive Director, Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation


  • Mr. Eufracio Maratas, Jr. / Vice Mayor, Municipal Government of Pilar
  • Mr. Abdula Bansuan / Executive Director, Allah Valley Landscape Development Alliance
Panel Discussion: Working with Local Communities

Moderator: Mr. Marlito Bande / Instructor and Extension & Training Coordinator,  Institute of Tropical Ecology, Visayas State University


  • Mr. Renato Poliquit / Chairman, Cienda-San Vicente Farmers Association (Leyte)
  • Mr. Dolphy Luib / Agroforestry Committee Chairperson, Ihawan Spring Stakeholders Association (Tandag)
  • Mr. Apolinario Cariño / Executive Director,  Pederasyon sa Nagkahiusang mga Mag-uuma nga Nanalipud ug Nagpasig-uli sa Kinaiyahan Inc., Mt. Talinis People’s Organization Federation, Inc.
Panel Discussion: Working with the Private Sector

Moderator: Mr. Blas Tabaranza / Director, Haribon Foundation


  • Mr. Darwin F. Flores / Senior Manager for Community Partnerships, SMART Communications
  • Mr. Carson Tan / CEO & President, Aquabest; President, Water Quality Association of the Philippines
  • For. Estrella Pasion / Protected Area Associate, Conservation International-Philippines

Closing remarks: Dr. Nereus Acosta / Associate Professor, Asian Institute of Management & Ateneo de Manila University