Economic incentives to resolve conflicts in transboundary flows within watersheds: the case of the Cordilleras in the Philippines
When it comes to property rights, many Philippine forests are open access. This means that they are available to the general public for free. Utilization reduces availability for others yet it is not feasible to exclude others from use. This system usually leads to over-extraction and pollution, considering increasing pressure from a growing population moving to the uplands looking for better agricultural opportunities.
The Cordillera Administrative Region is one of many places in the Philippines with conflicting property rights on forest lands owing to overlapping national and customary laws. While it boasts exemplary traditional farming practices, some areas in the region are faced with continuous expansion and intensification of agriculture into forest land, resulting in degradation. For instance, people in Buguias, Mountain Province have mentioned a noticeable rise in temperatures in the area, which they attribute to changes in the landscape from pine forests to vegetable gardens. At least the community recognizes the importance of forests to climate regulation. Results of workshops conducted by ICRAF in the area in November 2019 showed that the farmers expressed high willingness to integrate trees into their farms to help improve ecosystem services.