Quirino Forest Carbon Project

Antonio is a farmer in Quirino Province in the Philippines. He has been a farmer all his life. He does not know of any other way to make a living to support his wife and five young children than to grow corn and banana.

Crop yield from either corn or banana is like a gamble each year. Since it’s dependent on weather, Antonio is not always sure that he’ll have a good harvest. Things have started to become more difficult for Antonio, as climate change causes weather to be even more unpredictable and with severe weather like typhoons becoming more common. Antonio and his fellow farmers have no choice but to turn to the old-growth forest on the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range for a better source of livelihood, even if it is not a sustainable solution.

Facts & Figures

  • Project Type
    Forest Carbon
  • Country
  • Program
    Quirino Forest Carbon Project
  • Partners
    Conservation International

The Sierra Madre mountain range contains the largest remaining tract of old-growth tropical rainforest in the Philippines and is home to hundreds of wildlife species, many of which are unique to the Philippines, such as the Philippine eagle and golden-crowned flying fox. The area also contains the headwaters of the Cagayan Valley River basin, which supports major irrigation systems that hundreds of farming communities in Quirino and other provinces depend on. What Antonio and his fellow farmers do not realise, is that cutting down trees on this important watershed can have severe negative impacts on farming communities downstream. It also increases the risk of flooding and water quality becoming poor, and can accelerate climate change.

This project works directly with farmers like Antonio, helping them to reverse their forest clearing activities and instead, encouraging them to plant indigenous tree species on lands that they have cleared. Antonio has now become a ‘reforestation’ farmer and is financially compensated for protecting and managing the growth of the tree seedlings on his land. To supplement his income, we have also trained and provided capital for Antonio to begin Agroforestry, which is environmentally more sustainable than traditional maize farming.

This project has multiple benefits of protecting precious last tracts of biodiversity in the Philippines, protecting essential ecosystem services like flood protection, reducing erosion, and mitigating climate change by removing carbon from the atmosphere through the planting of trees. Antonio is much happier with this arrangement as well. He and his fellow farmers are protecting their natural resources that forms part of their natural capital on which their lives and lives of their children depend.

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