Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape


Protecting Ecosystem Goods and Services

Integrated Approach to Biodiversity Conservation in a Philippine Protected Area

Photo Credit: USAID Protect Wildlife

Integrated Conservation Planning and Implementation in the Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape

Protecting Ecosystem Goods and Services (Honorable Mention 2020 Case Study Competition)

Protecting Ecosystem Goods and Services
Integrated Approach to Biodiversity Conservation in a Philippine Protected Area

by Randy Vinluan, USAID/Philippines Environment Office; Ernesto Guiang and Wilbur Dee, DAI Global/Philippines Protect Wildlife; Jeanne Tabangay, Conservation International Philippines

During the country strategy and activity design process, USAID/Philippines’s leadership and technical staff felt a holistic, integrated approach and collaboration across sectors and government agencies would be the most effective way to address threats and drivers to biodiversity. USAID/Philippines developed a theory of change that integrated strategic actions and clarified areas for collaboration and coordination among team members. The mission then shared the theory of change in a series of meetings with national and local government and other stakeholders, a process that took approximately six months.

Empowering the local governments of five municipalities that straddle these forests and mountain range is a long-term and proven approach in addressing the threats to this conservation landscape.

One of the many scenic views when passing by Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape in southern Palawan. Despite being a mighty, rugged mountain range that spans five municipalities, Mount Mantalingahan and the many biodiverse habitats and species within it have to contend with old and emerging threats to its environment. Photo credit: USAID Protect Wildlife.

Former Protect Wildlife Chief of Party Ernesto S. Guiang (standing) leads a team of stakeholders during discussions at the Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape post-assessment planning meeting. Photo credit: USAID Protect Wildlife.

Southern Palawan local government representatives chart and trace their forest land use plans for their respective community forest lands during a participatory mapping workshop for forest land use plans. Photo credit: USAID Protect Wildlife.

Lessons Learned:

Integrate Purposely

Start with a situation model and robust theory of change when adopting an integrated approach. Use a robust theory of change to show how integrating various interventions, usually in different sectors, contributes to a common result. Use a collaborating, learning, and adapting (CLA) approach to adjust, modify, or even completely abandon planned activities over time as intermediate results come in.

Integrate from the Start

Communicate the theory of change to stakeholders as early as possible to increase understanding of the activity from the beginning. Engage with stakeholders early to facilitate buy-in of the integrated approach and increase understanding of the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholder groups. Reflect assumptions in the theory of change.

Engage Stakeholders and Encourage Participation

Work with local stakeholders and employ participatory processes as these are key to the success of an integrated approach. The buy-in of local governments, national government agencies, and communities is critical, especially in adopting policy-consistent and technically-sound land uses, enforcing wildlife laws and zoning ordinances, and directing livelihood and infrastructure support for the marginalized upland communities and indigenous peoples.

Integrate Together

Define team members’ unique roles and their contributions to achieving activity objectives. Designate a person, or a group of persons, that coordinates all integration efforts. Remain open to learning from team members during planning and implementation. Share knowledge and lessons with each other and collectively reflect on necessary actions to achieve integration objectives.

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