The Landcare experience in the Philippines: Technical and institutional innovations for conservation farming

Sustainable land use is critical for the development of the Philippines uplands, where about 18 million people live. This paper relates our experiences using a participatory approach to develop agroforestry practices and institutions for conservation farming that ensure food security, alleviate poverty and protect the environment in Claveria, Northern Mindanao, Philippines. We found that natural vegetative strips provide a simple solution to the technical constraints of soil conservation on slopes. These are buffer strips, laid out on the contour, in which natural vegetation is allowed to regrow into a thick, protective cover. The strips also provide a foundation for developing more complex agroforestry systems including fodder, fruit and timber trees. The tremendous surge in adoption of these systems has been enhanced by the Landcare approach. Landcare is a movement of farmer-led organizations that share knowledge about sustainable and profitable agriculture on the sloping lands while conserving the natural resources. The Landcare movement is spreading rapidly to many municipalities in Mindanao and Visayan islands. This article is freely available as a chapter in Development and Agroforestry: Scaling Up the Impacts of Research