>Table 2. Socio-cultural orientation and the environment.

other dominant cultures. Table 2 shows the socio cultural observation of the respondents and its relationship to the environment.

For indigenous peoples, forest preservation is a tool for cultural survival. The socio cultural practices of IP related to their environment is shown by a mean average score of 3.94 verbally described as high awareness. The community as their tribal territory and source of livelihood is strongly linked to their cultural orientation of “strong family ties”. The family ties has a mean score of 4.04 or high awareness. These cultural practices are now disturbed by climate change. The diminishing volume of harvests and the commercialization in the area gradually prevents the observance of some of their cultural practices connected to agriculture.

There are socio-cultural practices that are traceable to their source of food and the environment. The Da-ngah is a community practice which is characterized by labor sharing during planting and harvest seasons. This exchange of labor is highlighted by the Ubbo or serving of food to the workers. The women are assigned to planting while men are involved in soil plowing. This traditional role of women in livelihood is threatened by the inability of the harvests to provide for their needs. Some women migrated to nearby city to work as errands or domestic helpers.

Another cultural belief linked to the environment is to consider the forest as a place where spirits of dead relatives roamed. The finding is supported by the evidence of a mean score of 3.92 or high awareness. Other than resting place for deceased ancestors, forest trees provide fuel wood and wood used to make coffin for their dead relatives for it is a taboo for them to use commercially manufactured coffins. It is their belief that the presence of metal in locally manufactured casket would impose extra ordinary weight on the spirits that prevent them from ascending to heaven to find spiritual salvation. Due to this belief, the Calanguyans resolutely protect the forest from where raw materials for building casket are derived. Climate variation affects this cultural practice. Soil erosion caused by strong typhoons disturbed the graves and memorials of their ancestors. It also immensely affects the flora and fauna of their habitat. The extinction of indigenous animals, plants, and species forced some to leave their community to work in the nearby city, approximately 60 kilometers from their ancestral domains to find jobs to live. The denudation of a portion of the forest caused by illegal logging activities of businessmen from nearby province of Nueva Viscaya altered the ecological conditions. It depleted the sources of water endangering some species such as plants and animals like rattan plants, takadang, pintok, opay, kalet, lawad and mushroom to name a few. Environmental destruction not only threatens the extinction of their living resources but some of their cherished traditions as well. The inability of the economic environment to support their subsistence living encourages migration of the IPs to other places for a living. Many of their members (38%) have been acculturated and married to members of other indigenous communities. The vanishing of their culture is also exacerbated by the lack of keepers and bearers of tradition. The indigenous youth’s lack of knowledge on customary laws and practices will eventually lead to the death of their unique culture. Interviews pointed out that young generation Calanguyans are no longer aware of their cultural traits. Their pattern of behavior distinct from other groups is also threatened by the culture of the low land dwellers, such as the Tagalog, Ilokano, and Visayan.

4. Tribal Initiative to Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

4.1. Initiative to Organize for Forest Protection and Preservation

The Philippine island is endowed with God-given forest resources in danger of extinction. As mentioned, rainforest covered 53% of the total land mass. But tremendous denudation caused the reduction in area to barely 1.2 million hectares. Lack of attention to community organizing has been identified as a factor hindering effective forest management [26] [27] including the lack of cultural integration in forest protection. The past two decades showed a shift in forest protection strategy. Local communities are involved and active in ensuring the sustainability of forest management. Local community (IP) is an important element of sustainability. There are three components of sustainability: community organizing, community building and community development. In Southeast Asia, such community based organizing has been recognized; the panchayats of India, Nepal’s cooperation with international funding agency led to sound forest protection; Malaysia’s Longhouse Associations and Chipko and Appiko Movement in India strengthened local control over local resources; and the Arfak Mountains Nature Reserve in West Papua [28] . In the Philippines, community- based forest resource management is not new, the Ikalahan reforestation program was successful in developing source of quality water and increase the income of indigenous peoples of Cordillera [29] . Table 3 presents the responses on the existence of indigenous community organization to protect the environment and preserve the cultural integrity. A weighted mean score of 4.12 interpreted as high awareness is shown. Also, the responses proved that it is an ethical concern of Calanguyans to protect the environment. This is revealed by average mean score of 4. 18 described as high awareness.

Table 3. Initiative towards community based forest resources management.

This led to the organizing of tribal members into a political and social unit with the legal duties to protect the environment. The Wishful Ancestral Domain Association of Kalanguya (WADAKA) is an organization intended to uphold customary laws and pattern of cultural traits which are considered component of their legal system. Some of their customary laws are also recognized by the Philippine laws, to wit: 1) the right to develop lands; 2) the right to stay in the territory; 3) the right to clean air and water; 4) right to resolve conflict; 5) the right to claim parts of reservation; and 6) right to ancestral land [30] . The desire of the community to organize is supported by a mean score of 4.12 verbally described as high awareness. The WADAKA adopts a traditional system of governance. This finding is supported by the observance of their customary justice and peace process, the cooperative system known as the og-ogbo, the authority of the Council of Elders or Nangka-ama to implement policies and ordinances, and the use of Tongtongan or peace building processes to resolve conflicts and trial of grave cases. Some of the functions of WADAKA are to protect the ancestral domain and monitor the use and development of natural resources. This is done by designating an Ancestral Domain Monitor.

4.1.1. Capacity Building

The Calanguya respondents believed that trainings and seminars are provided by the organization to increase their capacity to protect the environment. It is revealed by a weighted mean score of 3.75 verbally described as high awareness. Through the WADAKA, livelihood training and cooperative management and development are launched by the Local Government Unit, National Government and Non Government Organization. Various skills trainings are available to them. Among which are basic accounting, bookkeeping and communication writing. The WADAKA also led in the management of small geothermal power plant supplying electricity to the indigenous people living within the periphery of national road. Many of the members of the community specially women, are involved in the production of rattan crafts and sell the same to travelers traveling along the highway. Small business enterprises are observable in the area. The WADAKA entered into agreement with the National Government Agency (NGA) for forest protection and preservation program. The NGA program provided WADAKA approximately 500 hectares of forest reserve for reforestation and protection in exchange for the government financial incentives [31] . The 1.5 billion trees for 1.5 million hectares program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources adopted the WADAKA as their community partner. It is also through WADAKA that seedlings bought by the National Government are raised and maintained and after planting in the forest, they are given the exclusive right to enjoy the fruits of the trees they raised, planted and maintained.

4.1.2. Mitigation and Adaptation Practices through WADAKA

Climate Change threatens the lives of indigenous peoples. Threats they had experienced long before the world has experienced them. Indigenous people respond creatively on the phenomenon and adapt measures based on their traditional knowledge and technologies. The WADAKA adaptation activities are intended to: 1) reduce adverse effects of climate change; and 2) exploit opportunities that climate change may bring. Based on observation and interviews the following are observed: 1) Diversification of crops from rice to root crops planted in between forest trees; 2) adjusting activities based on changing environmental patterns (December to January); 3) adaptation of appropriate technique for food preservation( the use of sodium chloride and sunlight); 4) migration to a new location while not farming (nearby San Jose City); 5) changing place of cultivation (to prevent soil erosion); 6) adaptation in (planting of cassava instead of rice to lessen the use of water for irrigation); 7) adaptation in exchange of economic commodities (National Greening Program of the government); 8) environment resources management (formation of WADAKA); 9) protection of soil and water shed(declaration as prohibited area). The observation and interview results confirmed that the Calanguyans adapted varying techniques in farming to lessen the effect of climate change. They adapted a new system of planting, transplanting and weeding of species within and around forest reservation as evidenced by a weighted mean score of 3.74 verbally interpreted as high awareness. This is reinforced by personal observation in the community, applying several environment-friendly system of farming such as the use of organic fertilizer produced through the process of vermin culture. According to the chieftain of Calanguya, they observe the practice of “Kulpi” or limitation of fishing in the river. The members are “allowed only to fish for a few days until the harvest season, so that fish would have enough time to breed and propagate”. On the other hand, the Latang is also observed or a day’s observance of no hunting policy. This is to protect the animals and other endangered species and give them enough time to recover and reproduce (interview notes). Furthermore, the community through the WADAKA adopted the pudong. It is a sign board warning people to pick or hunt only in specified area in the forest near their source of water. All activities are forbidden in the area in order to protect the water supply. The Bahwak is the place where they pitch water. At present the Calanguyans are being supplied by mini-hydro for their potable water needs and electrification. Table 4 presents the perspectives of IP on the existing operations of the community based forest resource management organization in terms of capacity building, funding support and socio-political network.

Table 4. Existing practices of community organization.

4.1.3. Funding Support

Among sectors of society the IP is the most vulnerable to the effects of climate variation. But despite their vulnerability, they are not getting the help they need. Even the national government sometimes overlooked its support to indigenous peoples. Table 4 shows the perception of IP that there is funding support for them that comes from government organization and non-government organization. The mean scores of 3.38 and 3.48 are arrived at and interpreted as highly aware and moderately aware respectively. The funding support for the operation of the organization is also derived from the organization Income Generating Activities consisting of sale of seedlings and from donation of student organizations visiting the area during field trip, research, and community immersion purposes. Tourism in the area also contributes to the income of the organization. The development of tourist spots (historical sites) and four watershed areas are still in the planning stage to prevent exerting undue pressure to the forest area. Knowing that tourism project provides pressure on the environment where it is developed, thus must be reasonably planned, evaluated [32] and used to effect sustainable rural development.

4.1.4. Socio Political Networks

In other country, the repertoire of domination hinders the change impact of decentralization of power and control of the environments. In fact, in Botswana and Senegal, before a genuine community based forest protection and management took place, the community has to contend with the conflicting interests of the state institution, the bureaucracy and big business interests. In the case of Calanguyans, they perceived that the organization has a strong linked with the government organization and non government organization to sustain its operation. It assimilated well with the socio political actors having the traditional control of the forest resources. Though top to bottom planning remains the prevailing approach of the government when it comes to forest protection, the Calanguyans are able to assimilate with the traditional approach. It is supported by a weighted mean score of 3.48 or verbally described as moderately aware. The organization is recognized by the Local Government Unit of Carranglan and is given a seat in the municipal council. The LGU also assigned full time community workers in the area to establish strong linkage with the Department of Agri- culture, Department of Natural Resources and Environment. The WADAKA serves as nexus in the National Greening Program (NGP) of the national government [33] as community partners. It is a program funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Philippine Government. The bulk of the funds are part of a loan grant to the Republic of the Philippines by the JICA. Ninety Nine Percent 99% of the budget came from loan while 1% from the government allocation for forest protection. Selling of seedlings of fruit bearing trees needed for the DENR Reforestation Program and Protection is one of their alternative sources of income. As complementary livelihood project for the loss due to climate change, they received incentives from the NGP such as: proceeds from agro forestry program, conditional cash transfer, community involvement in rain forestation. They are also active in crafting souvenir items made of small pieces of wood that they sell to tourists and excursionists. They are also given the harvesting rights, livelihood support by the national government. Finally, the LGU where the ancestral domain is situated is given priority in infrastructure development projects. The efforts of the community bore fruits. From nearly 50% forest denuded area in the forest mountain of Caraballo in early 90s, the upland communities in the area including the Capintalan, are proud of reforesting almost 35% of the mountain land area. In addition to adoption of renewable sources of energy like mini-hydro electric power and solar powered lamp post within the periphery of the mountain along national highway.

5. Summary

By way of a summary, the Indigenous Peoples’ experiences in climate variation and their organizing strategy and organizational practices could be depicted by the diagram in Figure 3.

Figure 3 shows the interrelationship of variables for forest resource management paradigm. As shown, symbiotic relationship between indigenous community and the forest characterized the IP and forest relationship. One benefits from the other. The IPs are ecosystem people who live with and in the forest making them more dependent on it. Such dependency would make them more resolute and willing to protect it. They organized and adopted strategies to cope with climate change. Through their organization (WADAKA), they received supports from Non Government Organizations, Local Government Unit and livelihood opportunities from the National Government Agency. The experiences deviate from the usual approach where NGO, NGA and LGU implement programs they see fit to protect and preserve the forest. The hit and missed approach. The figure also shows that all efforts and resources should be channeled to indigenous community. They are in the heart of the problem thus, more

Figure 3. Indigenous people centered forest resources management paradigm.

determined to provide local and appropriate solution. The support mechanisms of the NGA, LGU and NGO/PO strengthened their capacity to protect and manage the forest resources and the organization. They coexist with the environment without leaving their ancestral domains, sacrificing their distinctive culture, and most of all, without abusing the environment in order to live. They entered into co-management of forest resources with the government. They assimilated rather than suffer from extinction due to the debilitating impacts of climate variation.

6. Conclusion

The study showed that the IPs are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Their contributions to climate change mitigation and adaptation cannot be undermined but must be documented and recognized. Because of their distinct socio-cultural orientation, many of their traditions and cultural practices are interlinked with the environment making them morally resolute in mitigating climate variation. Their exposure to the threats of climate change pushed them to put their acts together and organize towards forest resources management and protection. With the support of the National Government Agency, Non Government Organization and the Local Government Unit, the organizing strategy of the Indigenous People of Caraballo mountain in the Philippines made the community more resilient to the effects of climate change. But many need to be done. There is still a need to preserve and protect the ancestral domain rights from lowlanders migrating in the study area. The pattern of systematic displa- cement is beginning to uncover its face as the area has the potential to become a tourist spot. Consequently, businessmen and big interests may use the area as source of income which, if not regulated, exerts tremendous pressure on the natural environment. The distinctive socio-cultural orientation from the threat of extinction through the migration of other ethnic people blending their culture with the Calanguya and the problem of its lack of bearers of tradition might lead to extinction. The existing sustainable community based forest resources management, its organizational practices and the risk of corruption present in most developing countries, must likewise be protected against man-made and natural- made agents with the same resolve as the need to protect themselves from the devastating effects of climate variation.


Grateful appreciation is credited to the author’s students in the NEUST Graduate School, Public Administration Department, who are also employees of the DENR who provided the secondary materials for the study; and to his Environmental Science students who helped him gather data in the study area through interview and immersion.

Cite this paper

Gabriel, A.G. and Mangahas, T.L.S. (2017) Indigenous People’s Contribution to the Mitigation of Climate Variation, Their Perception, and Organizing Strategy for Sustainable Community Based Forest Resources Management in Ca- raballo Mountain, Philippines. Open Journal of Ecology, 7, 85-100. https://doi.org/10.4236/oje.2017.72007


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