TARGET 2: By 2028, there will be no net loss in natural forest cover.
Forests are important ecosystems that serve as habitats for many terrestrial species and provide vital resources for our social, environmental and economic well- being. The forestry sector also directly and indirectly employs many Filipinos. However, the socio-economic contribution from forest resources has decreased due to massive deforestation in the past two decades (5NR, 2014). In the past five years alone, its contribution decreased from an average of 0.07% from 2003-2008 to an average of 0.04% at current prices from 2009-2013 (NSCB, 2013).
Perhaps, more importantly, forests sequester carbon and serve as a natural defense and protection against disasters brought about by landslides and storm surges. It is estimated that the Philippines has 664 million metric tons of carbon stocks in living forest biomass and that, in 2011, the country’s forests sequestered 1.3 percent of the Philippines’ greenhouse gas emissions (Global Forest Watch, n.d.).
Tracking changes in forest cover (from 2003 to 2010 to 2015) provides vital information for improved and more holistic management of forests across all scales of governance. Such knowledge can help spur action, cooperation and collaboration at the national and sub-national levels, as well as at the regional and global levels. Information on stock changes in forest ecosystem services could inform policy and program direction and prioritization, promote creation of new sources of conservation and management funds through payments for ecosystem services, and provide opportunities for private sector investment to complement public sector management.
From 2013 to 2014, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) as the National Technical Focal Point for the Convention on Biological Diversity, conducted a multi-stakeholder process of formulating the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP) 2015-2028 through national and regional consultation-workshops. More than 800 individuals participated, representing nearly 200 organizations from national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), academe and research, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector. The PBSAP is the country’s roadmap to conserve its biodiversity and achieve its vision - “By 2028, biodiversity is restored and rehabilitated, valued, effectively managed, secured, maintaining ecosystem services to sustain healthy, resilient Filipino communities and delivering benefits to all.” It has nine strategic priorities -three direct interventions and 6 indirect interventions- with 113 actions translated into 20 national targets with respective indicators that conform to the global Aichi Biodiversity Targets, which includes this particular target-Target 2. The interventions are meant to deliver key results to achieve the 20 national targets and contribute to the overall human well-being (see page 86 of PBSAP 2025-2028 Full Version). In June 2016, the DENR issued Department Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2016- 12 adopting the PBSAP and authorized the BMB to coordinate the implementation and mainstreaming of the PBSAP into the plans and programs of concerned national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs), including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs), and state universities and colleges (SUCs). This was reinforced in November 2017 with the issuance of Department Memorandum Circular (DMC) 2016-745 integrating biodiversity conservation in the planning, implementation and monitoring of all development projects and tenurial instruments issued by the DENR. The PBSAP integrates the Philippines’ obligations under the CBD into the national development and sectoral planning frameworks, and contributes to achieving the current administration’s 10-point agenda which are reflected in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2016-2022 (see PDP 2016-2022) . It likewise contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (see page 18 of PBSAP 2015-2028 Abridged Version).