Forest protection and community development are closely linked. Much of the pressure on a forest and its bio-diversity comes from local communities who make a living from forest products. Most of them are indigenous people. Usually the forest is located within their ancestral land domain. Increasing population and dwindling forest resources cause much strain on available food and may lead to famine, disease, and other hardships. The introduction of alternative livelihoodprograms can do much to alleviate these hardships and simultaneously decrease the pressure on the forest and give it more time to rehabilitate.
The forest conservation component of the Project consists of an area of around 2,000 hectares, which is part of the Obu Manuvu Ancestral Domain (AD) portion of the Carmen Indigenous Cultural Community (ICC). The total AD area is approx. 35,000 hectares to be managed by several ICCs and stretches from Baguio to Marilog Districts in the uplands of Davao City. The domain area belonging to the Carmen ICC is located at the edge of the forest. Inhabitants live under poor hygienic and economic circumstances. The Carmen ICC comprises of a total of 176 people divided over 39 households. The Project is intended for a period of 10 years. Success of the Project may have a positive spin off for the conservation of the remaining forest area within the domain and the economic uplifting of its population.