This paper presents a comprehensive review of the policy and practice of community-based forest management (CBFM) in the Philippines over the last three decades - one of the longest experiences in Asia. As a form of structural policy reform, CBFM may be viewed as radical and progressive. It replaced the century-old corporate mode of forest utilization where benefits flowed directly to an elite minority and attempts to institutionalize a more “people-oriented,” approach of forest management. However, progress on the ground in terms of achieving the CBFM's goals on sustainable and equitable forest management remains elusive. Unstable policy, overly bureaucratic procedures, CBFM viewed as a project and not as an approach to replacing commercial large-scale forestry, and weak institutional support system, deter effective implementation. Drawing from three decades of experience, the paper distilled emerging lessons for sustainable and equitable forest management that may be useful to other countries promoting community forestry.
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Vol. 9 • No. 4