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EO Clinic: Ecosystem-Based Management in River Basins in the Philippines



EO Clinic support requested by: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Philippines Office
Requesting activity: Ecosystem-based management and application of ecosystem values in two river basins in the Philippines (E2RB)
Requesting activity type: Grant

EO Clinic relevant Thematic Groups: TG1 (Agriculture), TG6 (Forestry)

Work Order number: EOC0016
Work Order status: Completed
Work Order start: 2021 May 26
Work Order end: 2021 Sep 23


River basins provide habitats and resources for threatened species and at the same time, livelihood for people within the basin and adjacent areas. However, they are subjected to degradation through uncontrolled and excessive exploitation caused by increasing population and unsustainable management of natural resources. This poses a threat to the country’s economy, social and human well-being, and environment. The use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change, or in short Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA), together with effective governance and integrated ecosystem-based management of watersheds and their resources are overarching solution to these problems. The GIZ project Ecosystem-based management and application of ecosystem values in two river basins in the Philippines (E2RB) therefore supports the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and local communities in the Philippines to strengthen ecosystem services, protect biodiversity and reduce vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters in the Ilog-Hilabangan River Basin in the Visayas Region and the Tagum-Libuganon River Basin in Mindanao through integrated management and application of ecosystem services valuation and ecosystem-based adaptation measures. The project supports national policies and contributes to improved coordination and integration of sectors through an ecosystem-based approach. It will provide impetus for improving the fragmented water governance regime and aims at using the values of ecosystem services as a basis for the private sector buy-in, to contribute to the financing of conservation and protection measures that help to maintain ecosystem services.

The GIZ support to the Philippine government foresees the development of a system that would alert DENR about the likelihood of evolution of landscapes from forest to agriculture, based on the model developed by Nowosad and Stepinski (2019) [1]. The system/tool would enable DENR to identify these hotspots and act timely – for example by implementing stricter monitoring and protection measures.

Problems to be Addressed and Geospatial Information Gaps

The land cover maps of the Philippines are updated every 5 years and are rarely assessed for accuracy at the local level (accuracy assessment is implemented at national level). Currently any recent satellite-based information are considered to be more reliable than the available 2015 national land cover maps. More frequent land cover maps (e.g. twice per year) with an estimated accuracy of at least 80% would be sufficient for local stakeholders such as DENR regional offices, to determine where to assign their limited human and other resources in terms of protecting specific forest areas that are likely to experience rapid forest loss.

An additional requirement originates in the Philippine forest definition, where tree crops such as coconut palm, banana, etc. should not be considered as forest. The team is also seeking support for a clear approach for handling the dynamics of the losses, i.e. determining when the tree loss becomes more rapid, according to the aforementioned scientific paper.

Information Services to be Delivered

  • Service 1: Long-Term Forest Dynamics
  • Service 2: Forest Loss Rate Methodology

Project Documents


[1] J. Nowosad, T. F. Stepinski (2019) “Stochastic, Empirically Informed Model of Landscape Dynamics and Its Application to Deforestation Scenarios”. Geophysical Research Letters 46 (23): 13845-13852.


Prime contractor