Tenure Security: Underpinning Sustainable Landscape Management in the Philippines

A man carried a bundle of rice across a field in Quezon Province, Philippines

Program Summary

This activity supports the Government of Philippines to inform the procedures for clarifying tenure rights in forest landscapes.


The Philippines is considered a low forest cover country with about 24% forest cover. Illegal logging, volcanic activity, forest fires, extreme climate events, slash-and-burn agriculture are some of the many causes of forest loss.  Ensuring clear and sustainable custodianship of forests is a key factor in addressing these threats. In 2019, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that insecure land tenure affects the ability of people, communities, and organizations to invest in land and most importantly make changes that advance adaptation and mitigation. Rigorous scientific studies have further demonstrated that increased tenure security helped reduce deforestation by 10% in Brazilian Amazon and by 20% in Benin, and has shown to stimulate small-holder tree planting. Land administration and forest management in the Philippines is fragmented and hampered by inefficiencies. Conflicting systems and lack of coordination has resulted in unclear forest boundaries, long standing overlapping land claims as well as unclear and insecure tenure. Without clearly titled land, indigenous communities and small holder farmers are not incentivized to invest in long term sustainable management and are more likely to opt for excessive pesticide use or deforestation.


This PROGREEN activity aims to support institutions in their management of an estimated 138,000 hectares of agricultural land that has overlapping land classifications and allocations. Using SPLIT (Support to Parcelization of Lands for Individual Titling) as an entry point, this activity will support improving institutional procedures when formalizing tenure across multiple jurisdictional boundaries, particularly in forest landscapes. Specifically, by supporting a participatory and collaborative approach, it will fill the gap of new procedures being developed without comprehensive stakeholder input.

[Expected] Results

  • Inclusive Mapping and Verification:  Supporting SPLIT’s subdivision and titling efforts, this activity will first support clarification of land classification on a unified map.
  • Legal and Institutional Support: A review of the current legal/regulatory framework and institutional structures of DAR, DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples) related to recognition of land rights, forest land and tenure rights.