INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE ON FOREST PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT: FOCUS ON OBU-MANUVU OF DAVAO CITY

The understory growth of Obu-Manuvu ancestral domain forest in Barangay Carmen

The understory growth of Obu-Manuvu ancestral domain forest in Barangay Carmen

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Forests are crucial for the health and well-being of people, wildlife, and our planet. But, forests, and the people who depend on them are now under tremendous pressure worldwide. Deforestation in many parts of the world continues to occur at an alarming pace and remain as a major environmental issue as the result of agricultural conversion and expansion for food and industrial crops such as oil palm and rubber, livestock production, mining, and energy and industrial infrastructure development.

Forest degradation that includes shifting cultivation, cash cropping, firewood collection, unsustainable logging and anthropogenic fires intensified by exceptional droughts is even more widespread leading to the loss of breeding and foraging habitats and shelter for forest biodiversity, forest structure, ecological functioning and provision of ecosystem services. Further, biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution, water shortages, and environmental conflicts lessen the capacity of forest landscapes to provide the environmental goods and services that support food security and other basic human needs (Parrotta, Yeo-Chang, Camacho, 2016). This also puts every household and community at greater risk, particularly from natural disasters and the losses in livelihood, lives, properties, and health that it brings. Studies showed that the underlying causes of these problems are poverty, over-population, inequitable land tenure regime, misguided policies, weak governments and debt burdens (Aguda, 2016). Humanity faces an exceptional challenge of eroding natural resources and declining ecosystem services due to a multitude of threats (Pandey, 2000).

Faced with these problems and the current situations, considering also their origins, many questions whether the science and technology that presently shape our lives and the management of natural resources is up to the task of building a truly sustainable and manageable future. Perhaps, as Albert Einstein suggested: “ The world as we have created it, is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking” (Parrotta, Yeo-Chang & Camacho, 2016).

The good news is that solutions to these unending dilemma still exist and subsist from our ancestors, it is in our culture. Culture encompasses the way of life of a people. The culture that includes their customs, practices, values, and norms. Forests are also home to many cultures including the indigenous people. Indigenous communities surrounding forest areas and other protected areas have developed patterns of resource use and management that reflect their intimate knowledge of local environments and ecosystems (Fernandez-Baca & Martin, 2007). From generation to generations, indigenous knowledge have been used to shape skills, develop best practices and beliefs of human beings with and towards nature and its natural resources. A good example of the use of indigenous knowledge to inform forest management planning is presented by Cummings and Read (2016). Their study demonstrates how indigenous knowledge of Makushi and Wapishiana Amerindians of Southern Guyana used as part of forest inventory to identify and classify tree and palm species and how they are used for provisioning, cultural and supporting ecosystem services (Cummings and Read, 2016). Anderson (2003) also proved that the application of indigenous knowledge is vital for the sustainability of natural resources including forests, water, and agroecosystems (Anderson, 1993). Indigenous knowledge systems have been found to contribute to sustainability in diverse fields such as biodiversity conservation and maintenance of ecosystems services, tropical ecological and biocultural restoration, sustainable water management, genetic resource conservation and management of other natural resources. Indigenous knowledge significantly influences environmental (e.g. forest) degradation and management in developing countries (ESSC, 1999a). It is also been found useful for ecosystem restoration and often has ingredients of adaptive management (Pandey, 2002).

Some scientists, researchers and conservation communities also argued that most of the places that are still inhabited by indigenous people are often the best and perhaps last-remaining places rich in wildness and biological diversity (Stevens, 1997). Most specifically, indigenous communities who have lived off their land for centuries, have managed to develop their own identity, culture, way of life that go around the forests they live in and near (Anderson, 1993). Their inextricably linked to the state of their country’s natural forests are evident and potential for indigenous forest stewardship as an entry point for sustainable forest protection and natural resource management (Donato & Ibanez, 2015 unpublished).

Notwithstanding the transformations of many indigenous knowledge systems in the Philippines, there remain intact traditional forestry practices that help promote sustainable forest management. In Europe, long before the development of modern forest science and ‘scientific’ forest management in the early nineteenth century, local and indigenous communities throughout the country managed forests and associated landscapes in countless ways that sustained their livelihoods and cultures without jeopardizing the capacity of these ecosystems to provide goods and services for future generations (Parrota et al., 2016). In the selected communities in the Delta State of Nigeria, the role of traditional belief systems in the conservation of natural resources has been studied and proven as very useful tools in natural resource management. The knowledge, innovations, and practices of these communities changed through several experiences gained over a hundred years under changing environmental, economic, political and social conditions (Rim-Rukeh et al., 2013). In the Philippines, on the other hand, one of the evidence is the Ifugaos in Cordillera Mountains for example, that continue d to thrive in their relatively remote yet self-sufficient communities. Their traditions promoted sustainable forest management as expressed in their respect for customary laws pertaining to land rights, upland farming practices, biodiversity protection, and others. (Camacho et al., 2016). It also described key indigenous practices in woodlot or watersheds or collectively known as muyong for the sustainable management of the Ifugao forests (Camacho, Gavena, Carandang & Camacho, 2015). Moreover, the Maeng tribe in Tubo, Abra has already observed ‘kaynga’, their term for taking care of nature along with people long before the sustainable natural resource management became a byword. Their indigenous resource management system has been practiced since the time of their ancestor’s such as sustainable hunting and mining, gathering, fishing and dealing with solid waste (Molintas, 2014).

Nowadays, many indigenous communities still reside in remote, sparsely inhabited areas, with relatively unspoiled nature, including forest resources (Stevens, 1997). Based on a recent report by the indigenous rights organizations, there are more than 370 million indigenous people around the world, (UNDP,2014) 70% of them live in Asia and constitute around 5% of the world’s population (UNDP, 2014). Tand the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) also revealed that the indigenous traditional land which also known as ancestral lands possess about 80% of the world’s biodiversity. Around 75% of these are known as key biodiversity areas and the indigenous people themselves hold profound, holistic and locally rooted knowledge of their environment; hence indigenous people have the potential to play an important role in managing biological resources.

However, the use of indigenous knowledge, in general, has declined because of the interaction of mainstream science, technology and education, the knowledge, management practices, and the historical and cultural contexts of indigenous and local communities have been marginalized for generations. There are also limited studies on the relevance of this indigenous knowledge and practices in the sustainable management of the indigenous forests. Thus, it is important to properly document and study this indigenous knowledge before it is eventually lost without proper documentation and records. Further, indigenous knowledge, especially on forest protection and management, is rarely documented or incorporated into science-based or any government-run conservation planning (IFAD, 2012).

The goal therefore for this study is to document and understand indigenous knowledge and practices which are still being retained within the Obu-Manuvu indigenous communities in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City and its value on sustainable forest protection and management.

Statement of the Problem

This study aimed to document and understand the indigenous knowledge of the Obu-Manuvu in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, in Davao City specifically on forest protection and management as a tool and source of knowledge for natural resource management. This study determines the answer to the following questions:

1. What are the indigenous (local) knowledge of the Obu-Manuvu cultural community in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, of Davao City with regards to forest protection and management?

2. How is this indigenous knowledge generated, accumulated, and shared among community members?

3. What are the social mechanisms supporting indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management generation, accumulation and transmission?

4. What are the “best practices” or “highlighted cases” on the application of indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management that can be used as an example or model on how it used to achieve desired sustainable natural resources management outcomes?

5. What are the contributions of Obu-Manuvu indigenous knowledge to forest protection and management among their remote indigenous communities in Davao City in terms of natural resource management?

Objectives of the study

The overall objective of this study was to document and understand the indigenous knowledge of the Obu-Manuvu of Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City on forest protection and management as a tool and other sources of knowledge for natural resource management.

The goal also of this study was to contribute to a healthy and continuous interrogation of the indigenous knowledges and practices describing what we see as potential “best practices” and “highlighted cases” in forest protection and management, particularly with marginalized indigenous peoples in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City in general and possibly, in the Philippines as a whole. It also discussed the history, foundations, and results of Obu-Manuvu indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management.

This study particularly aimed to provide an example or model on how indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management can be harnessed to bring about the desired sustainable natural resources management outcomes. It demonstrates both the value of natural resource management and the challenges that indigenous communities face in conserving, fully utilizing, and passing on their knowledge and wisdom to younger generations.

Significance of the Study

With 7,000 islands and unique archipelagic structure, the Philippines is home to 126 ethnolinguistic groups. In terms of indigenous knowledge, it is varied as the number of known ethnolinguistic groups retained a substantial portion despite the colonization. Credit is given to the vigilance of diverse Indigenous Peoples who persevered in protecting and promoting their this knowledge to the younger generation (WIPO, 1999). However, it needs to be documented and incorporated into science-based or any government-run conservation planning as suggested by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for sustainable resource management. Thus, this study was significantly important to:

Obu-Manuvu Community of Barangay Carmen. This study will provide an understanding of the indigenous knowledge of Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City on how they protect and manage their forest resources. Documenting their practices of forest protection and management not only answers to their long aspiration to have a written account on their knowledge but may also encourage the establishment of more community-based managed forests in other areas or tribes in the city or in the country as a whole. Community-based managed forests help indigenous members draw necessary benefits that support their livelihoods. Their tribal leaders and elders of the community will also gain from greater understanding on how their communities interact, perceive and use their own type of resources for protection and management, and therefore be able to work with them or draw on their experience in protection and management activities in the future.

Decision Makers and Conservation Communities. The study of indigenous knowledge can contribute to global change and can be used as a guide or can be incorporated into decision-making regarding the management and conservation of biodiversity (Berkes, 2012). Such practices can include species and wildlife monitoring, proper resource utilization, temporal or total protection of species or habitats, species management and the social mechanism such as cross-scale institution, taboos and regulation, rituals or ceremonies, and social and religious sanctions, among others (Berkes, Colding & Folke, 2000). This study may also help provide a framework for conservation that allows the integration of indigenous forest protection and management in large and mainstream science-driven conservation initiatives. Indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management will also provide a broader and clear understanding of changes that have happened in the areas for effective interventions. It will also serve as a basis for the implementation of the programs and conservation planning strategies not only in the City of Davao but for the whole country.

Academe and Concerned Agencies. The results of this study will be used also to enrich university and professional curricula by expanding current intellectual boundaries and provide necessary information and avenue for the government (e.g., DENR & NCIP), stakeholders and other concerned agencies (WMC and several NGOs) in finding ways and to look further on how to resolve environmental issues and implement programs based on the indigenous knowledge and best practices from large population of indigenous people in the city and in the country for sustainable natural resource management.

Unified Obu-Manuvu Tribal Council of Leaders and Elders. This study will document and codify the long-practices of the tribe in achieving biodiversity conservation and will correct the misconception that these Indigenous people group has no concept of conservation. It will also showcase a new brand of conservation in protecting our environment and its natural resources. More so, this will help them not only in popularizing their practices and keep it alive for their young generation to read, understand and emulate but also revitalizing their losing traditions and even their identity.

Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study focused on the documentation and understanding of the indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management of the Obu-Manuvu of Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City who are considered as one of the original settlers of the city long before it became a chartered city.
Originally called “Tahaurogs”, the Obu-Manuvu is a sub-tribe of the Bagobos.

Key informant interviews (KII), group interviews, focus groups discussions (FGD) and use of literature as secondary data will be the methods of this study. In the course of this study, the procedures, rituals, necessary permits, contracts and other required documents stipulated in Administrative Order No.1 series of 2012 of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) known as “The Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSPs) and Customary Laws (CLs) Research and Documentation Guidelines of 2012.”will be strictly followed. Further, the data that will be gathered will be validated by the respondents, tribal leaders and elders, and the concerned agencies such as NCIP. But since the researcher has currently involved in the project with the Obu-Manuvu Tribal Council of Elders/Leaders of Davao City and its employer, the Euro Generics International Philippines (EGIP) Foundation some necessary documents will just need validation from the tribal council and some concerned agencies to go on with the research.

This study will also be was also limited to how the indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management of the Obu-Manuvu in Davao City conserve, utilize and pass the knowledge to the next generations.

A questionnaire will be prepared on key informant interviews (KII), group interviews and focus groups discussions (FGD) that will also be validated by the tribal leaders/deputy mayors and the NCIP to make sure that the right of the indigenous people on giving valuable information will be protected before it will be published. Transfer to Chapter 3

Definition of Terms

The following terms were defined operationally as follows :

Ancestral Domain.
This refers to all lands, forest, territories, and resources generally belonging to ([Indigenous Cultural Communities)] ICCs/IPs (Indigenous Peoples) held under a claim of ownership, occupied or possessed by ICCs/IPs, by themselves or through their ancestors, communally or individually since time immemorial continuously up to the present which are necessary to ensure their economic, social and cultural welfare as defined in the Indigenous Peoples’ Right Act or Republic Act 8371 Section 56.

Ancestral Lands. This refers to all land occupied, possessed, utilized by individuals, families, clans who are members of the ICCs/IPs since time immemorial continuously up to the present by themselves or through their ancestors as defined in the Indigenous Peoples’ Right Act or Republic Act 8371 Section 56.

Culture.
This refers to the knowledge, experience, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired and shared by the tribe in the course of generations through individual and group striving.

Focus group discussion – refers to a method where the respondents are gathered together from similar backgrounds and experiences and guided by a moderator (group facilitator) who introduce a specific topic of interest or theme for discussion and helps the group to participate in a lively and natural discussion amongst themselves.
Forest-. This refers to a large area dominated by trees and considered as the sacred dwelling place of the twelve spirits of the Obu-Manuvu tribe.
Forest Management. This refers to the overall administrative, economic, legal and social aspects, as well as scientific, traditional and technical aspects for conservation, protection and forest regulation applied in an indigenous community.

Forest Protection-. This refers to the preservation or improvement of a forest threatened or affected by natural or man-made causes, thus, in this study, is protected with a combination of traditional knowledge and mainstream science.

Indigenous People (IP). This – refers to any group of people or homogeneous societies identified by self-ascription and ascription by others, in this study, the Obu-Manuvu tribe in Barangay Carmen, native in a particular community that united by a common culture, tradition, or sense of kinship, which typically have common language, institutions, and beliefs, and often constitute a politically organized group.

Indigenous Knowledge. This – refers to a knowledge that the Obu-Manuvu indigenous community or individual accumulates over generations of living in a particular environment and refers also to the understandings, skills, and philosophies developed by the tribe with long histories of interaction with their natural surroundings. It also involves language, systems of classification, resource use practices, social interactions, ritual, and spirituality living on a particular land or territory. It also includes forest protection and management practices.

Key Informant Interview – refers to a research method and qualitative in-depth interview to document and understand the indigenous knowledge of Obu-Manuvu tribe on forest protection and management; collect valuable information to a wide range of people to attain the objective of the study.
Natural Forest. This refers to – refers to a forest that originates from original forest cover which has spontaneously generated itself on the location and which consists of naturally immigrant tree species and strains. It can be more or less influenced by culture, e.g. by logging or regeneration techniques, but the forests must not have been subject to regeneration by sowing or planting.

Natural Resource Management (NRM). This refers to an interdisciplinary field of study that considers the physical, biological, economic and social aspects of responsible supervision or handling natural resources. It also involves putting resources to their best use for human purposes in addition to preserving natural systems.

Social Mechanism. This – refers to a natural or established process or a mechanism-based explanation of social phenomenon or event to give an account of why it happened or what happened, or in this study, explain the changes or provide results on how indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management can be harnessed to bring about the desired sustainable natural resources management outcomes.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE AND RELATED STUDIES

This chapter deals with the review of related literature and studies. It also contains the theory base that guided the study. The literature was gathered from books, previous research works, past and present reports of the existing projects in the specific Obu-Manuvu community, journals, and internet reading materials and articles.

Review of Related Literature and Studies

Indigenous knowledge is a very broad topic and present information that varied substantially (Saway, 1998). It is therefore important to understand the relationship between indigenous people and conservation and how indigenous forest protection and management emerged around the world and in the Philippines nowadays. This study also highlighted the state of the Philippine forest and Davao City and its diverse people and culture. This study concluded with the Obu-Manuvu of Davao City and their ancestral lands more specifically on the indigenous cultural community of Barangay Carmen as the primary respondents and the importance of the forest to their community.

Indigenous peoples and conservation

Indigenous peoples are described as any given people, ethnic group or community that native in a particular place or region that united and holders of unique languages, knowledge systems and beliefs, sense of kinship and possess invaluable knowledge of practices for the sustainable management of natural resources (United Nations Development Program, 2014). According to recent findings and reports by some indigenous organizations such as the Cultural Survival, there are more than 370 million indigenous people around the world, 70% of them live in Asia some are in Africa, Americans, and the Pacific. Some of them still reside in remote, sparsely inhabited areas, with relatively unspoiled nature, including forest resources and in many cases, most of them still rely on forests for their livelihood (Stevens, 1997). More specifically, indigenous communities who have lived off their land for centuries, have managed to develop their own identity, culture, way of life that resonate around the forest they live in and near (Anderson, 1993). The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) reported that indigenous traditional land possess about 80% of the world’s biodiversity, and the indigenous people themselves hold deep, holistic and locally rooted knowledge of their environment; hence, they have the potential to play an important role in managing biological resources (IFAD,, 2012).

Unfortunately, indigenous communities and the natural environment are increasingly under constant pressure from a multitude of threats created by the unprecedented growth of population and consumerism (Butler & Laurence, 2008). But, indigenous communities surrounding the forest areas have developed a pattern of resource use and management that reflect their intimate knowledge of the local environment and ecosystem (IFAD, 2012). They also developed land-use systems and traditions that limit resource destruction and partition resource utilization among communities, groups, clans, and households. In addition, indigenous communities managed to eliminate intruders who exploit their natural resources (Stevens, 1997). However, Berkes (2012) argued that not all indigenous people and communities are conservationists by virtue of their possessed knowledge. Changes in lifestyles, values, the demographic and global economy can significantly alter the indigenous societies’ values and consequently impose impacts on biodiversity conservation and ultimately managing their natural resources (Berkes,,2012).

In the Philippines, about 14-17 million of the total population are indigenous peoples belonging to 110 ethnolinguistic groups mainly concentrated in Mindanao (61%), Northern Luzon (33%) and with a few groups in the Visayas area (UNDP, 2010). Then, according to International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), as of 2011, at least 156 Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) has been awarded to the Indigenous people in the Philippines. Republic Act 8173 or Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) Law respects, recognizes, protects and promotes the Indigenous way of life including their right to own and manage their ancestral domain and all its natural resources.

With this, many of these indigenous people can be found in remote forested and hilly uplands. Some of them stood their ground successfully and maintained a close link with their ancestral past. Some of them also observe their customary laws that lay the foundation for justice, management of their natural resources, peace, and unity within their tribes. However, the unabated influx of migrants into several ancestral domains contributed to gradual changes in many local practices and beliefs (Molintas,, 2004).

Indigenous forest protection and management around the world

In this emerging era of climate change, environment and natural resources (ENR) around the globe are threatened with destruction to an extent rarely seen in earth’s history. The mitigation of the pernicious effects of climate change compels government, conservation communities, Mother Earth advocates and many more to adopt an integrated approach to ENR planning and decision making. Constructive engagement, international partnerships, and collaboration with the different sectors of society are forged not only to preserve our limited resources but more so to create an enabling policy environment that would enhance institutional and regulatory capacities. Since the 1980s, global environmental conservation policies and dialogues have been increasingly influenced, either verbally or practically, by the idea that conservation demands the coexistence of humans and nature (Adams et al. 2004, Wells and McShane, 2004). Indigenous and rural communities have developed strategies aimed at supporting their livelihoods and protecting biodiversity. This approach of protection and conservation emerged in different places starting in Asia, and later in Africa and Latin America, as a response to forest degradation and over-exploitation of forest resources.

In Nepal, Community Forests are important for environmental vitality and supporting local livelihood. Back in the 70s, the Nepal Government was unable to police and protect forests. Because of this, the management of their remaining forests was handed over to the communities for management (Government of Nepal, 2013). Since then, a community forest in Nepal has shown significant and positive results with regards to forest conservation and environmental protection. Further, in some part of India, indigenous knowledge had always contributed to their modern medicine and health care. For centuries, some indigenous communities such as the village of Mendha in Gadhchiroli District of Maharashtra were used to surviving and adjusting their agriculture, fishing, and hunting in the event of changes in climate. They renewed their efforts at biodiversity conservation. They decided that no commercial exploitation of the forests, except for Non-Timber Forest Produce, are allowed. Further, they also regulate the number of resources they could extract from the forests and undertake measures to tackle soil erosion. By those actions, their forests did not set on fire and encroachment are prevented (Chhibber, 2008). This precludes areas where indigenous peoples have retained the most cultural autonomy and indigenous institutions (Clay, 2000).

In Latin America, it is estimated that the surface area to which indigenous peoples have acquired legal rights, or where these rights are in the process of being adjudicated, is almost ten times greater than the surface area of all existing protected areas (Redford and Mansour, 1996). One of these is the indigenous eco-tourism conservation in Brazil that aimed at exploring historical and recent social-ecological events important for local livelihoods and the preservation of forests and biodiversity has protected at least 1000 forest reserve and provide a livelihood to more or less 6000 inhabitants mostly from ecotourism activities, i.e., production and selling of handicrafts. They promote the needs of asserting ownership and control over their indigenous territory and recovering cohesiveness and identity as indigenous peoples in protecting their biodiversity. Like other communities, community incentive-based in Mexico was established as a result of colonization programs that brought landless people from other states to their uninhabited region (Haenn, 2011). The indigenous community, partially located in the buffer area of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, was recognized as an ejido by the federal government in 1996. An ejido is a form of social property that combines household-managed and formally owned lands with collective management of shared natural resources, such as pastures and forests. Moreover, in Bolivia, indigenous forest conservation was very successful. Some communities maintain their traditional resource management practices and become increasingly concerned with forest conservation.

In Africa, particularly in Tanzania which is known as an agrarian society with predominantly rural populations that depends on the forest to meet their daily livelihoods demands, has about 33.5 million hectares of forest and woodland areas (about 38% of mainland area). Out of these, about 0.4 million hectares (0.9%) are forests reserved for management by the community and indigenous groups (White & Martin, 2002). Through the Tanzania Forest Act, their government recognizes forests managed by traditional means. And even though the forest management in Tanzania has experienced a paradigm shift from customary approaches (Meroka, 2006) to state-managed (centralization) (Sunseri, 2009) to participatory management approaches, the protection of their forest was still achieved by the use of indigenous knowledge and belief systems (Meroka,, 2006), whereby, their government retained the ownership and management of forest resources to the indigenous communities. This also happened in the selected communities in Delta State, Nigeria in which the role of indigenous knowledge and beliefs systems in the conservation and management of natural resources has been highlighted and recommended.

Nowadays, it is globally documented and acknowledged that indigenous development, through their own language and terms and in harmony to their values and traditional beliefs has contributed in the conservation and management of natural resources (Jojola, 2008). However, an assessment that would provide valuable insights into the changing values of local people in relation to the protection of forests and other natural resources is highly advisable. Reversing the degradation and deforestation using the structure of local conservation efforts may be able to bring the science to the indigenous community to build long-lasting solutions from their deep connection to the forest, and provide a mechanism for communication that can persist into the future.

Indigenous forest protection and management in the Philippines

In the Philippines, Republic Act 8173 or Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) Law respects, recognizes, protects and promotes Indigenous way of life including their right to own and manage their ancestral domain and all its natural resources. The law also encourages their exercises of rights to create indigenous plans for natural and human resources development within their ancestral domains. The formulation of ADSDPP (Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan) is prescribed in the law which contains (i) the means on how their ancestral domain will be protected, (ii) development programs in relation to sustainable livelihood, education, infrastructure, self-governance, environment protection, social services and others, (iii) community laws and policies on how the desired development programs and projects will be implemented, and lastly, (iv) the management scheme and system, including how benefits and responsibilities are shared (IPRA, Section 2, No.2).

However, there are several issues for indigenous development and ancestral domain management in our country today. Several ancestral forests of the indigenous communities were threatened by agricultural expansion, timber poaching, and encroachment by non-Indigenous prospectors. Deforestation and forest degradation puts the poor and disadvantaged indigenous households at greater risk, particularly from natural disasters and the losses in livelihood, lives, properties and health that it brings. As the traditional owners of the forests, the indigenous communities in the country believed that they are the rightful stewards of the forests. Some of them were able to uphold their culture and traditions as reflected in their music, dances, rituals, folklore, wood carvings, agriculture, and forestry practices. Unfortunately, inadequate planning, the lack of economic incentives for forest protection, and limited application of their indigenous knowledge for forest management because of the existing and mainstream science and technology that prevent them from performing such role. Those indigenous knowledge are slowly declining and no records or documents that will provide mechanism supporting the effectiveness and examine the contribution of indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management (Donato & Ibanez, 2015, unpublished).

In Cordillera, Northern Philippines, indigenous knowledge has been recognized to contribute to the sustainability of production systems, having been validated for their technical and scientific soundness by many investigators. Different knowledge systems for natural resources management in the region has been practiced by the people with different beliefs, culture, and traditions such as muyong and ala-a systems of the Ifugaos; lapat among the Isneg and Tingguians; inum-an, gen-gen, day-og, balkah, kinebbah, tuping and pamettey of the Ikalahans. These knowledge systems have been practiced by these indigenous peoples and have been transmitted from generation to generation, making their way of life in harmony with their physical and social surroundings. While culture is environment-specific, adoption or transfer of some indigenous technologies that may be fitting to other cultures and communities, with a little modification to suit their needs, we’re also done (Camacho, Combalicer, Young, Combalicer, Carandang, Camacho, De Luna, Rebugio, 2012).

State of the Philippine Forest

The Philippines, known for its unique archipelagic structure, has a total land area of 30 million hectares. This was classified into two classifications; (i) the forestland which consist of 15.80 million hectares and (ii) the alienable and disposable land with 14.20 million hectares. By the year 2003, the forest cover of the Philippines was more than 7 million hectares. However, among the 10 ASEAN Member States, only the Philippines and Vietnam registered a positive increase in terms of forest cover (Aguda, 2016).

The Philippine forest is generally described as tropical rainforest due to the location of the country just below the equator which is characterized by the abundance of rainfall all year round. In terms of biodiversity, the Philippines is considered a megadiverse country. It is the largest archipelago next to Indonesia considered both as mega diversity country hosting 70 – 80% of the world’s biodiversity. Because of tropical location, high species diversity and high-level endemism have been experienced (Heaney & Mallari, 2000). For floral species, 13,500 species of plants representing about 5 percent of the world’s flora are found in our country; 8,000 species are flowering plants while at least 3,200 species are unique or endemic to the country. We have about 3,500 tree species. In terms of fauna, the country is home to 1,084 species of terrestrial vertebrate wherein 179 species are mammals of which 110 species are endemic to the country, 558 species of birds of which 171 species are found only in the country, 252 species of reptiles of which 159 are endemic in the country composed of 126 species of lizards, 112 species of snakes, 10 species of turtles, 2 species of crocodiles, and 95 species of amphibians (Heaney, 2002).

The Philippine government is aware of the uniqueness and exceptional diversity of the country’s natural resources. Diversity in our archipelago is made more interesting and one of the most striking aspects of the Philippines because of its enormous number of islands, (more than 7000) as the island groups originated from different landmasses millions of years ago before isolation as individual islands; serious evolution went on in each island and further in isolated mountains or habitats (Heaney,, 1986). However, the country’s biodiversity is increasingly under constant pressure from a multitude of threats created by the unprecedented growth of population and several government unresolved issues on government protection. Thus, as the rightful steward of the forest, indigenous communities have the privilege for forest management and protection considering also their economic incentives (Donato & Ibanez, 2015 unpublished).

Forests are among the most valuable natural resources in the Philippines. They provide a range of ecosystem services, ranging from the provision of food crops, livestock, and fish to providing recreational experiences. In 2013, the forestry sector contributed PhP5.26 billion (0.12%) to the national gross domestic product (GDP) (Philippine Statistical Yearbook, 2014). Forests also serve as a significant carbon sink and are vital for biological conservation and environmental protection, locations for education and research, habitat for indigenous flora and fauna, and resettlement areas. According to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), forests serve as home to some 12-15 million indigenous peoples and provide a livelihood to many families (SEPO, 2015).

Davao City and its diverse forest and culture

Davao City is geographically one of the biggest cities in the world with a total land area of 244,000 hectares, or 8 per cent of the land area of Southern Mindanao Region or Region XI and home to about 1,632,991 million people based on the 2015 census, the third most populous metropolitan area in the country (Philippine Statistic Authority, 2015). According to the City Planning Development Office (CPDO), of the city’s total land area, agricultural lands comprise more than 50 percent, about 15 percent or about 7,500 hectares has consumed for residential use, six (6) percent for agro-forests, and 26 percent is for conservation or the “no-touch” areas such as the watershed areas. Further, based on the Comprehensive Land-Use Plan of Davao City (2013-2022), there are around 39,000 hectares of forest or an area covered with the woody type of vegetation whether natural or planted forest in the city which is most extensive in Baguio, Marilog and Paquibato District (Padillo M., 2018).

Davao City is also the home of Mount Apo, the highest mountain in the Philippines and home to many bird species, 111 of which are endemic to the area including the world’s largest eagles, the critically endangered Philippine eagle, the country’s national bird. Plant species include the orchid waling-waling, also known as the “Queen of Philippine Flowers” as well as one of the country’s national flowers, which are also native in the area. Fruits such as mangosteen (known as the “queen of fruits”) and durian (known as the “king of fruits”) grow abundantly in the tropical forest of the city (CLUP 2013-2022 Davao City, 2013).

Dabawenyos, which is how local residents of the city are called, are mostly Visayans. the rest of the population are indigenous people (IP) belonging to different ethnic groups that boast unity in diversity among the city’s population. Last 2010, the City Government of Davao recognized at least 11 tribes namely; the Ata, Klata-Guiangan, Matigsalug, Obu-Manuvu, Bagobo Tagabawa, Iranun, Kagan, Maguindanaoan, Maranao, Sama, and Tausug (Davao City Administration Office, 2017).

The Obu-Manuvu Tribe of Davao City and its ancestral lands

As mentioned above, the Obu-Manuvu tribe are considered as one of the recognized tribes of Davao City. The city is known for being a melting pot of diverse ethnic cultures. Historically, according to some researchers and anthropologists unlike other indigenous cultural communities which have definite records, there is nothing known about the history of the Obu-Manuvu tribe. Their domain has never been reached by writers nor students of society until an anthropologist named Arsenio Manuel who authored the book “Manuvu Social Organization” conducted research and an actual visit to several Obu-Manuvu communities. His research revealed that the Manuvu is a distinct ethnic group, however, belonging to the more generic Bagobo tribe of Davao (Garvan, 1931).
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The Obu-Manuvu is a sub-tribe of Bagobo so that the tribe’s compound name (Obu-Manuvu) is derived from what is ascribed to it by the other two sub-tribes (Bagobo Klata or Jangan and Bagobo-Tagabawa) and by its self-ascription, both ascription being combined together. Originally, the Manuvu of Davao were called “Tahaurogs” (Masendo, 2015).

The Manuvu are scattered in three provinces: Southeastern Bukidnon, Northeastern Cotabato, and Northwestern Davao. In Davao, the Obu-Manuvu can be found in all highland areas north of Tammuhan (now Tamugan) River and west of Davao. Specifically, these areas are; Dalag Lumot, Magsaysay, Salaysay, Marilog Proper, Bantol, Malamba, Suawan, Tamugan, Tambobong, Gumalang, Tawantawan, Baguio, Malagos, and Carmen (ADSDPP of Obu-Manuvu tribe, n.d., 2016).

According to the Obu-Manuvu leaders and elders, even before the Philippine Government came into existence, their aboriginal ethnic brothers through their ancestors were already in occupation of lands and were peacefully living therein within the concept of their respective territories or ancestral domains where their socio-cultural, political and economic aspirations normally surround. But by virtue of Indigenous Peoples’ Right Act or Republic Act 8371, last September 2, 2008, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, through the Commission En-Banc Resolution No. 73-2008-AD formally approved and awarded CADT No. R11-DAV-1108-091 to the Obu- Manuvu Tribe with a total land coverage of thirty-six thousand seven hundred thirteen and fifty-two ( 36,713, 052) hectares (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Obu-Manuvu Ancestral Domain Administrative Map.

Figure 1. Obu-Manuvu Ancestral Domain Administrative Map.

In general, all of the barangays covered by the Obu-Manuvu ancestral domain can be readily reached from Davao City via any type of vehicles like buses, jeepneys, and motorcycles. While some of the remote areas can only be reached by foot, the travel is quite rough and in some instance, even dangerous. Based on the recently done Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) of the tribe, Barangay Marilog Proper has the largest area in terms of an ancestral domain covered barangays in Davao City with their corresponding total area in hectares followed by Magsaysay which covers all its areas as part of the ancestral domain. Barangays Salaysay and Dalag Lumot have both larger sizes. The least number of hectares is Barangay Bantol but it should be noted that 264.20 hectares of Barangay Baganihan and 242.21 hectares of Tamayong are included under the claim (Table 1).

table1

Furthermore, based on the recently done Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) of the tribe, almost 40% or more or less than 143,000 hectares of their ancestral lands are classified as protection forest, almost 50% or more than 15, 000 hectares are classified as conservation areas, while the remaining 10% which is more than 3,000 hectares are classified as agro-non-tillage and; all are considered as environmentally critical areas. For the areas classified as Agricultural Non-Tillage, Barangay Salaysay has the most number of hectares with 2,601.72 hectares followed by Marilog with 540.87 hectares. In the conservation areas, Dalag Lumot has 3,724.42 hectares and Barangays Tambobong and Carmen follow with 2,797.74 and 2,644.68 hectares, respectively. In the protected forest areas, Tambobong has 2,211.49 hectares followed by Magsaysay and Carmen with 2,135.80 and 2,087.16, respectively (Table 2).

table 2

Further, the Obu-Manuvu ancestral domain is mostly tropical forests and known as critical habitat of globally endangered biodiversity such as the Philippine Eagle and the Philippine brown deer, and also have a two (2) major important watersheds of the Talomo-Lipadas and Tamugan-Panigan Rivers of Davao City. Talomo-Lipadas and Tamugan-Panigan watersheds cover areas with a total of 8,441.54 hectares while sub-watershed areas total to 24,874.409 hectares in the Tamugan-Panigan watershed. Barangay Carmen covers an area of about 2,402.74 hectares while Barangay Tambobong covers an area of 2,939.32 hectares. It is also worthy to note that the Obu-Manuvu ancestral domain is a unique home of flora and fauna species of the Philippines.

Of 36,713.52 hectares of ancestral lands, 4,085.79 are identified as alienable and disposable while the rest is forest lands based on the Comprehensive Land-Use Plan classification of Davao City. Barangay Marilog Proper has the largest forest land with 8,029.50 hectares while some parts of Barangay Tamayong, at 116.09 hectares, are the smallest. On the other hand, Barangay Dalag has the largest alienable/disposable land with 1,430.54 hectares while, other than the 1.45 hectares in Arakan, Barangay Suawan has the smallest alienable/disposable land with 8.17 hectares. Barangay Magsaysay and Barangay Baganihan have no alienable/disposable land areas since all are considered as forest lands (Table 3).

table 3

The Obu-Manuvu Community of Barangay Carmen and their ancestral forest

The Indigenous Cultural Community (ICCs)/ Indigenous People (IPs) of Barangay Carmen, Baguio District consisted of some 55 Obu-Manuvu households and more or less 400 in population. Most of these families came to settle or returned to Barangay Carmen in Sitio Macatabo in the 1990s when roads were constructed and electricity and water became available. Most of the community were farmers and owned at least 0.5 hectares of agricultural land in Kalirongan. But not everyone was able to improve their farms. There are households that solely rely on manual labor for income. Most have a water system and have pipes from the source going to their homes but only a few have their own access to electricity. Most households depend on tap connections from these few households.

Based on the Community Development Plan (CDP) of the community, many members also of their community feel that it is very difficult to access services provided by Non-Government Agencies (NGAs) since they are not literate. They are also not familiar with the process in availing important services such as free seeds and seedlings from the Department of Agriculture (DA) and medical assistance from LINGAP (the City government’s medical assistance program). The community never felt that there are services lacking but the consistency and inclusiveness of many projects and livelihood interventions were considered a problem. IPs were usually not prioritized (Community Development Plan, PEF 2011).

The Barangay Carmen indigenous community was located in Sitio Macatabo, approximately 50 kilometers away from Davao City and 20 kilometers away from Calinan Proper and situated within Mt. Apo Key Biodiversity Area. Barangay Carmen is one of the upland barangays in Davao City. Estimated elevation ranges from 500-1700 meters above sea level located at N 07°07.507’; E 125°21.202’ (Figure 2).

The Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City is currently headed by their Tribal Chieftain, Buyahhon Paulino M. Landim who is also the head of their Forest Protection and Management Committee (FPMC), a committee who is responsible in implementing their forest protection and management project.

Figure 2. Location Map of AD Claim of the Obu-Manuvu Community of Brgy. Carmen.

Figure 2. Location Map of AD Claim of the Obu-Manuvu Community of Brgy. Carmen.

The Barangay Carmen ICC’s part of the overall Obu-Manuvu Ancestral Domain is consist of 2,928.11 hectares out of 36,713.52 hectares (CADT No R11-DAV-1108-091) of which 1,000 HAs is the virgin forest, 1,300 HAs is the secondary forest, 400 HAs is for reforestation, and 200 HAs is allocated for agricultural lands. It also includes forest skirting the Mount Apo Natural Park. It is bounded to the northwest by the Kalatong River that separates it from Barangay Tambobong. The Talomo River separates its southern border from the Bagobo-Klata claim. The political boundary of Davao City and North Cotabato represents its western border. Their ancestral domain covers mostly of tropical forests and known as critical habitat of globally endangered biodiversity such as the Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi) and the Philippine brown deer (Rusa marianna), and also important watersheds of the Talomo and Tamugan-Panigan Rivers of Davao City.

Profile of the Respondents

A total of 50 members of the Obu-Manuvu Indigenous Cultural Community of Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City were interviewed and participated in a separate focus group discussions from different user groups (tribal leaders and elders, women, youth and forest guards) out of which were 18 females and 32 males. Age range for tribal leaders and elders was above 50 years old and stayed in the community for more than 30 years (13 individuals), youth is from 16 years old up to 21 years old (8 individuals), women (18 individuals) and other forest user groups such as the forest guards (36 individuals) are from 18 years old and above. In addition, three tribal leaders and elders from the Unified Obu-Manuvu Tribal Council of Leaders and Elders, the highest policy-making body of the tribe was also interviewed for their role and role of their institution specifically on forest protection and management, and its social mechanism.

The main economic activity of most participants was farming. Most owned at least 0.5 hectares of agricultural land in Sitio Karilongan, their identified community farms. Their average monthly income was Php 2,000.00 a month, which is unfortunately below the 2 USD per day World Bank threshold for poverty. Most of them were married and had no formal education. Many of them can even barely write their names. But despite this, they have been very passionate and consistent with protecting their ancestral domain and preserving their traditional knowledge for the next generation.

The Importance of the Forest to the Obu-Manuvu Community in Barangay Carmen

For the Obu-Manuvu of Barangay Carmen, as traditional owners of the few remaining forests at Mount Apo (Apo Sondawa), their lives and cultural ways was offered in protecting nature and their natural resources. They believed that as rightful stewards of the forests, the protection of the forests and its wildlife are integral to the culture of their community. In order to survive, every member of the community needs to keep sustain and nurture the harmonious relationship with the various elements with their forests where most of them still rely on for their livelihood. Further, indigenous community involvement in forest management serves a dual purpose; it helps improve forest conditions while supporting the livelihoods of the communities (Saway, 1998). They all agreed that once the forest is lost, so do the customs and traditions that they all kept for generations.

Direct Benefits

Most members of the community mentioned several benefits associated with their closeness to the forest. Such benefits include a place for ritual practices, source of food, traditional medicine bank, source of building poles, rain and water, provide clean air, home of different wildlife and even source of their firewood and protein needs. The forest also contains trees important for their livelihood such as Almasiga (Agathis philippinensis) for their resin enterprise initiative and making tools for farming. They also said that their forest is an important watershed for Davao City and can be the next source of drinking water for the whole Davao metropolis.

As of this writing, the eco-cultural tourism initiative of the tribe is currently on-process for its operation that aims in providing economic benefits and improvement of living conditions of the tribal community, promotion, and conservation of the natural endowments as well as strengthen community awareness and participation in respect of environmental protection.

Indirect Benefits

Indirect benefits generated from the forest are shared by all community members through community development projects such as their tribal hall and learning center with the help of some non-government organizations (NGOs) and government agencies. Example of the indirect benefits is in terms of building materials obtained from the forest to support the construction of community development projects. Recently, the monthly allowance they received from the City Government of Davao and EGIP Foundation in exchange for the environmental services that have done to protect their ancestral forest and known watersheds. If they continue to protect their forest and the watersheds, they will continue to receive an allowance from the government. Other than that, several community developments and sustainable livelihood projects were also enjoyed and experienced by the whole community.

This relatively new approach serves as an opportunity for sustainable forest initiatives and economic development for some of the indigenous communities. Just recently, a farm-to-market trail was constructed through the outside support that helps the Obu-Manuvu farmer in Barangay Carmen transport their farm product (cacao, coffee, abaca, banana, etc.) from their farm to the main road that facilitates quality products and increased in their farm income.

Related Studies

This study was made because of the motivation by the Obu-Manuvu community to the researcher who spent with them for almost ten years. It has been the aspiration of the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen and the whole Obu-Manuvu tribe in Davao City to put into writing their indigenous knowledge and practices especially on their forest protection and management system for their younger generation to read, understand and even experience on their own. Based on the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP), historically, there are no definite records about the history and knowledge of Obu-Manuvu tribe in Davao City until an anthropologist named E. Arsenio Manuel conducted a research to investigate the social system of a pagan group in central Mindanao. The intention of his study is to describe the ‘Manuvu’ social system as it functions in the ethnographic present and as it has functioned during the recent past (up to and until 1941) in the important aspects of its social (family system and kinship system), economic, ritualistic, legal, and tribal organizations. However, in terms of forest protection and management knowledge and practices, it was never given a precise description and definition that make it difficult for the whole tribe to have a written account or records.

This study was developed from the “Disaster Preparedness and Climate Change: The Indigenous Knowledge of Selected IP Groups in the Davao Region”, a joint undertaking of University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP) and Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology (DOSCST). This publication specifically provides not only valuable information on indigenous knowledge and practices on disaster preparedness caused by a changing environment but also reflect the top-bottom approach indigenous political structure of the Obu-Manuvu tribe that was useful in identifying key informants for an interview and focus group discussion on this study. Further, the said study also followed the required documents and procedures pursuant to Republic Act No. 8371 (IPRA Law) and other pertinent and applicable laws that were also applied to this research.

The method of this study was also based on the study by Camacho, Gavena, Carandang & Camacho (2015), on “Indigenous knowledge and practices for the sustainable management of Ifugao forests in Cordillera, Philippines” where the authors used focus groups discussions and key informant interviews among 50 local farmers from the municipalities of Ifugao to identify and describe key indigenous practices in the woodlot and watersheds collectively known as muyong in Ifugao communities. They also used purposive sampling to identify the respondents.

Results and discussions of this study were supported by the dissertation study of Sirima (2015) entitled “The Contribution of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge in Conservation of Enguserosambu Community Forest, Tanzania”, where they concluded that indigenous knowledge support conservation of the forest though there are external threats interfering with its effectiveness. The study also used themes and coding procedures to analyze the data.

Theory Base

This study recognized the nature-human balance by acknowledging and restoring the traditional interactions that people had with nature (Hostetler, 1999). Hence, human presence is crucial for ecosystem balance, recognizing change is a fundamental concept of landscape component (Forman & Godron, 1995). Although humans are regarded as the primary source of structural and functional changes in the ecosystem, very little research has been done to analyze the combination of human processes into the ecological studies that aim for integrated approaches to conservation (Hostetler, 1999).

This study will also integrate integrated both social and biological studies as an important arena to understand how the ecosystem functions, as well as how people interact with their environment (Pickett & Rogers, 1997). Thus, understanding indigenous people’s knowledge is very useful, especially where human livelihood needs are inextricably linked with natural resources (Henson et.al, William, Dupain, Gochohi, Muruthi, 2009). It was also supported by several researchers and conservation communities that human especially those who live in the tropics, whereby for many people, “nature has only utilitarian value, as an immediate source of wealth and livelihood”. Furthermore, indigenous people have a significant role to play in the conservation of biological resources (Mauro & Hardison, 2000).

This study followed the provisions of the NCIP Administrative Order No.1 series of 2012 also known as “ The Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSPs) and Customary Laws (CLs) Research and Documentation Guidelines 2012” pursuant to Republic Act No. 8371 and other pertinent and applicable laws.

METHODOLOGY

This chapter provides a detailed description of the method used, sources of data, an instrument used in data gathering, sampling techniques, the procedure of the study and how the data were analyzed.

Method Used

Descriptive research was adopted for this study to ensure that the issues in question were thoroughly explored within the context through a variety of lenses which allow for multiple facets of a phenomenon that were understood (Stake 1995; Yin, 2009). Purposeful sampling to recruit research participants/respondents that could provide information rich in detail about indigenous forest protection and management practices in the study area was used to answer and attain the objectives (Sirima, 2015).

Sources of Data

Purposive sampling was used to get information from key informants or the respondents. Respondents include the following: (1) community members who have stayed in the areas continuously for not less than 30 years; (2) community members responsible for knowledge accumulation, protection, and sharing; (3) community members who are part of different forest user groups; and, (4) community members who are part of indigenous or local institutions responsible for forest protection and management. Representation of each group was acquired and must belong to a different and broader group that includes customary elders, famous leaders, tribal datus, forest hunters and collectors, women, traditional nurses and doctors, and forest guards.

Literature review, key informant interviews (KII), group interviews (GI), focus group discussions (FGD) and field observation (FO) were used as sources of information to attain the objectives. To know the brief history, foundations and results of indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management of the tribe, focus group discussions and group interviews were conducted with the tribe’s customary leaders and elders and the forest user groups. To document and understand the social mechanisms supporting indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management generation, accumulation and transmission, focus group discussion (FGD) and key informant interview (KII) were obtained from the information during the interview process. To identify potential best practices and highlight cases on the application of indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management, interviews with the customary tribal leaders and elders, field observations and photo documentation was a big help to this study. It was used also to provide an example or model on how it used to achieve desired sustainable natural resources management outcomes. This method helped the researcher observe and discover their retained social mechanism and determine several success stories specifically on forest protection and management on the specific indigenous community. This also supports the researcher to examine the contribution of indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management among the Obu-Manuvu communities in Davao City.

Data Gathering Instrument

Data were gathered according to the nature of information needed from the field or from research participants. As mentioned above, literature review, key informant interviews (KII), group interviews, focus group discussions (FGD), field observations (FO) and photo documentation were used as an instrument to gather the needed data.

Key informant interviews (KII) and group interviews were used as a data collection because it can provide a better understanding of opinions, values, feelings and the things that the people have in common (Arskey and Knight, 1999). It also helps to uncover drivers of behavior that is not always seen and measured using other techniques. Interview both key informant interviews (KII) and group interviews were conducted in informal settings that are convenient to the interviewee using a local language. When the use of a translator is needed, it is the responsibility of the researcher to provide one who can speak a local language of the identified tribe. The interview consisted of three steps- life history of the respondent, description of the discussion topics, and reflection and meaning of the topics to be discussed following interviewing technique as described by Seidman (2006).

On the other hand, focus group discussion (FGD) was conducted with some members of the forest user groups consist of women, parents and youth, forest hunters and collectors, traditional nurses and doctors and forest guards. It is also important to have a separate discussion with customary elders, tribal leaders and community conservation trust members with the aim of describing and understanding collective meaning and interpretations of their role in forest protection and management. Focus group discussion was chosen as an ideal method by the researcher because individuals in the indigenous communities are believed to share values and beliefs and will work together towards the same goal (Liamputtong P., 2009).

A questionnaire was prepared for key informant interviews (KII), , group interviews and focus groups discussions (FGD) that was validated by the tribal leaders, the Barangay IPMR (Indigenous People Mandatory Representative) and the NCIP to make sure that the right of the indigenous people on giving valuable information was protected before it will be submitted or published. Both interviews and focus group discussions used the local language (Bisaya), if some can not understand and need to use the local language, a translator from the tribe was provided. Further, interviews and focus group discussions were audio-recorded if the respondent will allow, if not, the researcher will write their responses on the field notes. The respondents or the identified tribe will have a copy of this study after it was validated and approved for thesis submission for their records, reference, and future use.

Sampling Techniques

As getting the indigenous knowledge requires trust, several field visits, and community immersion were conducted. Fortunately, the researcher has already established a relationship with the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen as part of the researcher’s work in the past and present. The researcher has an on-going project with the above-mentioned indigenous community since 2011.

To correct and prevent biases, three techniques were used. To correct internal bias, the researcher based on the past and previous report from the on-going project as sources of data. To correct external bias, the researcher used the recording device during interviews and focus group discussions if allowed. If not, the responses were written in the field notes. Voice recordings provide access to the original file for clarification at a later stage or when needed. Multiple sources of data such as literature and secondary data were used to obtain information needed for the study. This help assesses consistency and ensures data richness, robust and comprehensive in terms of fulfilling research purpose. All data were collected by the researcher and his field assistant/s for cross-checking of information at the end of every activity to make sure that nothing was left out or taken out of context.

Techniques for collecting data varied according to the kind of data needed from respondents. Indigenous knowledge in relation to forest protection and management was documented in order to understand the context and how indigenous knowledge is accumulated and shared among society members. To understand the indigenous knowledge within each community, group interviews were conducted with the customary elders and tribal leaders, women, and youth. Meanwhile, institutional data both formal and informal in the area was identified to understand the role of local institutions in forest protection and management. An institution refers to a set of accepted rules and norms that define the user groups, shape resource use decisions, elaborate how conflicts are resolved, and how resources are exploited and monitored (North, 1991). For example, the Enguserosambu society in Tanzania, customary elders are responsible for setting rules pertaining to forest utilization, and they are also responsible for conflict resolution within (Sirima, 2015). Therefore, individual and group interviews, as well as focus group discussions were used as techniques to obtain information from local and indigenous institution members. Field observation and document review that will support and complement the information was the other techniques.

Procedure of the Study

In this study, the procedures, rituals, necessary permits, contracts and any required documents stipulated in Administrative Order No.1 series of 2012 of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) known as “The Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSPs) and Customary Laws (CLs) Research and Documentation Guidelines of 2012.” was provided and strictly followed.

A letter of intent and the research proposal containing the purpose, methodology, procedure of the study were submitted to the Obu-Manuvu community of Barangay Carmen until a letter of intent (Annex A) and a resolution of acceptance was issued by the community (Annex B,) and a certification from the Unified Obu-Manuvu Tribal Council of Leaders and Elders was also issued (Annex C) before it was submitted to NCIP office.

Further, a questionnaire was prepared for key informant interviews (KII), semi-constructed interviews, group interviews, and focus groups discussions (FGD) that was checked and validated by the customary elders, tribal leaders and the NCIP to make sure that the right of the indigenous people on giving valuable information was protected before it will be published.

After the completion of this study, the researcher presented the results to the community for validation. The team from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) facilitated the validation. A certificate of validation or Certificate of Pre-Condition was issued after the study and before its publication. The respondents or the tribe were given a copy of this study for their reference, records, and future use.

Data Analysis

Data analysis was an on-going process throughout the duration of this study. This involved a descriptive survey design whereby the same information was gathered from an unbiased representative group of interest. Data were analyzed in order to provide a better understanding of the objective of the study. During fieldwork, the researcher developed memos and notes to formulate ideas around a particular theme. After completing the data through interviews and focus group discussions, transcription was done. All data collected was translated and transcribed by the researcher. Then the researcher organized the data according to the group that each individual belong i.e. customary elders, tribal leaders, forest user groups, etc. so that the researcher can compare similar groups across the village.

Content analysis of transcription was conducted to generate topics that were combined into meaning units and then from these, themes were developed. According to Braun and Clarke (2006), “ a theme captures something important about the data in relation to the research questions and objectives and represent some level of patterned response meaning within data set”. Coding procedures as described by Patton (2002) and Miles & Huberman (1994) was also adopted for data analysis. Both quantitative and qualitative data come through the questionnaires from key informant interviews (KII), semi-constructed interviews, group interviews, and focus groups discussions.

PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS, AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA

This chapter presents a summary of the gathered data from the purposely identified respondents. The presentation directly answers and elaborate on the research questions. The data are displayed generally in topic headings and specifically in themes generated from interview and discussions transcripts.

The Indigenous Knowledge of Obu-Manuvu on Forest Protection and Management

A.Obu-Manuvu Indigenous Knowledge vs. Nature

The indigenous knowledge of the Obu-Manuvu community, like all Indigenous peoples, exists in harmony with nature. Their knowledge relates to the total way of life and survival of the tribe that is anchored on the total elements of nature such as land, water, plants and wildlife, air sun, light and energy, sounds and several spirits. They believed that Manama (their Supreme God) gave these to their ancestors to take care of, and they too entrusted these to them. According to some tribal leaders and elders, any significant change that occurs in their environment critically affects the total conditions of the cultural personality of the whole tribe. The environment is their life and the forest is the home of their culture and faith.

“Apo Sondawa” (Mount Apo) plays a very big part of the Obu-Manuvu history and culture. Most of the ancestral domain of the tribe was part of Mount Apo Biodiversity Conservation Area. They considered it as an extension of their life as a tribe and home. According to their elders, this is also the home of Apo Tuwaang, their elder and considered it as sacred ground. They also considered it as grand “Pusaka”.

B.The “Pusaka” Philosophy

The indigenous knowledge Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen is defined in a framework called “Pusaka”. According to Lipatuan, an Obu-Manuvu Tribal Leader and Ancestral Domain Management Team (ADMT) head, Pusaka is a long-standing practice and institution of the Obu-Manuvu tribe of sanctifying items, animals and lands- all that are considered valuable to their life and history. Although a long-standing practice, it was never given a precise description and definition. This makes it difficult for them to decide as a group which entities can be declared as Pusaka.

A Pusaka is common among the tribe’s families and clans. The “Buyyahon” who is the Obu-Manuvu Tribal Chieftain of Barangay Carmen said that their community has practiced Pusaka since time immemorial, but has yet to articulate it in writing. “Buyyahon” is equivalent to the Muslim title Datu, who is a leader with integrity and impressive track records among the member of their tribes. He also added that they extended this practice to the ancestral forests that they want to protect as a common property of the tribe. Sanctifying a Pusaka is not an act of a single person alone, but must be based on family, clan, or tribe consensus. Just like building a house, it takes all members of the family to agree on how it should look like. It is a representation of the tribe. Declaring something as sacred requires deliberation about its worth to their history, faith, and culture. It must be treated with value and respect. This is similar to “Lapat” system, an indigenous natural resource management system of the Isnags in the municipalities of Apayao (Sadao, 2010). “Lapat” is still practiced by the elders of Isnags to declare a body of water, plantations, forests and residential lots as sacred in honor of a dead member of the family. These areas are preserved by the bereaved family within a year or two by imposing penalties to intruders, thus making the area untouched within the prescribed period. Lifting of the “Lapat” is commenced through the “say-am” or a grand festivity with many rituals usually held within 3-5 days to a maximum of one week celebrated by all members. By application and through consistent practice by the Isnags, “Lapat” has contributed significantly in preserving and conserving the natural resources in the province including the nesting Philippine Eagle in the area.

C.The Criteria of “Pusaka” and its Current Threats

Currently, the Obu-Manuvu tribe has identified the criteria to determine if an entity is a Pusaka. These include historical value, relevance to their faith, cultural importance, economic benefits and its value to their ancestral domain. They consider water systems, mountains, hunting grounds, landmarks, rivers and streams, caves and cliffs, burial grounds and sacred places as Pusaka. They also consider animals that can be found inside their ancestral forests such as the Philippine Eagle (Banog), Philippine brown deer (Saa’rung), Philippine flying lemur (Kaa’vah, ), wild pig (Bavoy’t mavonnos), monkey (Ova’ah), palm civet (Lakivut), hornbills (Kol’yawa), doves (Simal’lon) and woodpeckers (Togkos). They strongly believe that once something is sanctified as Pusaka, no one should harm or violate it. A Pusaka must be treated with value and respect. If a certain part of their forest is declared as Pusaka, no one can hunt in that area unless a traditional ritual is known as “Panuvad-tuvad” is performed. The ritual is one way of communicating to spirit owners of Pusaka; whether they can proceed with their journey or not. They respond through omens.

Population increase, increased agricultural activities and deforestation, illegal logging and timber harvesting, massive hunting and poaching, land grabbing and encroachment of non-IPs into their domain are some identified threats that caused changes to their forest and to their Pusaka as a whole. Because of this, the tribe created the resource-use policies that conserve biodiversity, such as protecting huge trees in the forest and allowing traditional hunting only at certain places. Within their ancestral domain, some sites are off-limits to timber harvest and hunting.

The policies and rules set by the tribal leaders and elders are well-respected and observed especially by those members of the tribe. As of now, there are no written ordinances governing them but the fear of punishment by nature and the spirits that exist in the forest is the main factor for their discipline. But sometimes, it was violated especially by some outsiders who did not know that the rules and the traditional laws existed. With this, they designated a group of traditional leaders who shall enforce these policies; they also have the power to impose restriction such as the trees and wildlife harvesting inside the ancestral domain, for example. This group was called as “Pusaka Council” which is composed of their Indigenous leaders and elders from their community. They also organized, trained and deputized their own local forest guards who monitor wildlife and conduct regular foot patrols around their ancestral forests.

The Obu-Manuvu of Barangay Carmen currently has 36 deputized forest guards. Since 2011, this group of forest guards had passionately and actively monitored their ancestral forests with support from non-government organizations (NGOs) such as the Philippine Eagle Foundation and EGIP Foundation and just recently, from the City Government of Davao.

Generation, Accumulation, and Dissemination of Obu-Manuvu Tribe Indigenous Knowledge on Forest Protection and Management

As Mauro & Hardison (2000), Indigenous people have a significant role in the conservation of biological resources. For the Obu-Manuvu tribe, they believed that they inherit the forest from their ancestors who were former forest custodians. Hence, it is their role to continue protecting the forest for coming generations.

A.Role of Tribal Leaders and Elders

According to some members of the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen, the tribal leaders and elders have an important role to play in creating/generating, accumulating and disseminating the traditional knowledge and ensure its survival for the future generation such as the Pusaka that has been practiced since their ancestors. However, it was never given a precise definition and attention, making it difficult to transmit the term to the younger generation.

There are some approaches that the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen tribal leaders and leaders use to transfer their indigenous knowledge to the younger generation. Aside from story-telling and traditional ceremonies, they teach their youth and children about their customs and traditions, culture and its relation to the forest, and other life skills such as endurance, patience, and self-respect. For some women, for example, they were taught by some of their elders about some important medicinal trees and plants in the forest and provided them with their will to protect the forest and ask them to share the knowledge to the youngsters when they get older. They also encouraged their youth to be more active in participating in the decision making in their community and protecting their forest by volunteering as forest guards. Being a forest guard place them in a better position to visit the forest regularly and witness most of what is happening inside their ancestral forest. The Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) and one of the many women forest guards in Barangay Carmen commented that the forest guarding initiative helped them become empowered in protecting their ancestral domain and made them appreciate their forests more.

Apart from the knowledge sharing mechanism, other forest management practices are also emphasized. Within their community setting, there is a team responsible for conflict resolution, as well as different committees responsible for overseeing environment and forest management practices in the community. Tribal leaders and elders, community members and forest user groups usually meet and agree on the land use plan and policies and oversee its implementation at the local level. A community member and an active forest guard mentioned that it is the responsibility of the community to protect the forest and build capacity in areas surrounding their ancestral forest.

In terms of forest protection and management, the Barangay Carmen tribal leaders and elders are not only responsible for creating/generating, accumulating and disseminating the traditional knowledge; they are also the model to their young generation particularly in obeying their traditional laws and policies.

B.Role of Women, Parents, and Youth

Based on the result of the interviews and group discussions specifically with the women group, according to them, they transfer their indigenous knowledge through story-telling and traditional ceremonies during some occasions and special events of their tribe. But today, according to one Bai, a known woman leader and neutralizer of the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen, the present generation is losing this tradition. However, she also added that they are motivated to keep it alive by making a written account that the young generation can read, understand and emulate.

For some parents, their role in transferring their knowledge to their children were as important as protecting their ancestral forest. They have to do their part for the younger generation to understand. For some instance, they even accompanied their children to participate in some traditional rituals and ceremonies and explain to them why they did that kind of activities within their tribe. They also let their children wear their traditional costume on every occasion in their community. Further, they also taught and let their children perform their traditional dances and songs which are mostly about the intervention of human (their tribe) and nature in every special event and celebration.

For the youth, aside from active participation in the decision making in their community and protecting their forest by volunteering as forest guards, they are also active in engaging in some traditional and cultural activities in their community. According to one of the elders, although most of their youth understand the value of their forest, they more often embrace the outside forces and opportunities that will reward them with more financial returns and different lifestyles. That is why, they are now encouraged and motivated to ask questions to their elders about their culture, knowledge and practices to experience and shared it to the younger ones.

Social Mechanism of Obu-Manuvu Tribe on Forest Protection and Management

Mahabbok, the administrator of the Unified Obu-Manuvu tribe who enforces plans and programs necessary to the development and progress of the tribe, explained the Pusaka- the sanctifying of entities, living or nonliving-is what their family, clan, or tribe consider as “very special”. These are “valuables” that reflect their history and culture. To protect their Pusaka, such as their ancestral forest, there are various strategies implemented in each community. Each community has its own rules and policies to follow. They have their own ways and specific strategies on how their Pusaka treated and implemented. But in general, it also follows the whole Pusaka philosophy, criteria and framework of the whole tribe even though it was not clearly described and defined until now.

A.Social Mechanism of Forest Protection in Obu-Manuvu Community in Barangay Carmen

For the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen, devising and identifying proper land use plans, marking of boundaries, using forest user groups as forest guards and proper enforcing of their traditional laws and policies on resource-use are some strategies that are effective to protect their forest and manage it properly. For example, the cutting of trees is not allowed near the bodies of water and in their identified protected areas. Offenders must perform a “pomaas”, a ritual performed to ask forgiveness for their violations wherein one must surrender 50 kilos of meat, rice and 1,500 pesos money to the tribal leaders or elders. Leaders or any members of the community who failed to report illegal logging or timber harvesting activity is also made accountable. If one must cut a tree, the violator or the cutter is required to plant 100 trees in a suitable area. This has been properly and strictly implemented in the Obu-Manuvu community that even the Barangay Captain of the said barangay who violated the law and cut one huge tree inside their ancestral forest was forced to plant 100 native trees and paid and performed the said ritual.

Proper land-use plans and marking of boundaries is used to protect the watershed, important trees, sacred places, and areas significant for the Pusaka. In Barangay Carmen, the indigenous community uses land cover to identify the use of their lands. Figure 3 below shows the land use map of the Obu-Manuvu community of Barangay Carmen.

Figure 3. Land Use Map of the Obu-Manuvu Community of Barangay Carmen.

Figure 3. Land Use Map of the Obu-Manuvu Community of Barangay Carmen.

The map shows different colors that show the different uses of land in the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen. The dark blue is the mossy-montane type of forest and was identified as the forest protection zone of the community where any activity is prohibited. The light blue color is the buffer zone of the community where limited activities are allowed. Seasonal hunting and gathering of rattan are some allowable activities. The green one is identified as the production zone of the community where timber harvesting, hunting, and gathering of some non-forest timber products were allowed but on a limited scale. This is also identified as a reforestation site of the community. The brown color is the communal/community farm where everyone is allowed to tilt the land allocated to them. The yellow color refers to titled land owned by non-IPs in the community and was awarded to them before the IPRA Law.

Buyahhon of Barangay Carmen said that their traditional land use plan help to reduce conflict in the resource utilization on their community. They identify what can and cannot be done in the particular area, reduce resource use conflict while allowing for sustainable extraction of resources, all have spatial and temporal attributes and allow the setting aside of denuded areas to recover. Marking of boundaries such as planting of fast-growing trees such as madre cacao and bamboos was also done to identify the boundaries from one place to another and different zones. This also prevent land grabbers and non-IPs encroachers to enter into their domain. This also allows the local forest guards to create a route for their regular wildlife monitoring and foot patrols and possibly apprehend and report timber poachers, wildlife hunters and non-IPs that encroach into their ancestral lands.

B.Social Mechanism of Forest Management in Obu-Manuvu Community in Barangay Carmen

For the management aspect, the Obu-Manuvu tribal council of leaders and elders of Barangay Carmen was very strict in implementing their policies based on Pusaka. Based on the interviews and group discussions, two main approaches are used to punish offenders of their Pusaka; traditional laws and through the government-existing laws. Traditional laws are exercised by their Pusaka Council which is composed of their community leaders and elders. Aside from performing “pomaas”, the violators or the offender must give the traditional fines that include 50 kilos of meat, rice and 1,500 pesos amount of money to the leaders and elders as mentioned above. Then a solution will be sought. If the issue is unresolved in the Pusaka Council or the offense is grave, the case will be taken to the Barangay Captain and then to the legal courts, if necessary. Cases like encroachment by ‘outsiders’, traditional laws are also used. However, the procedure is handled at the local government offices and concerned agencies with the possibility to advance to ward and court level depending on the type and magnitude of the offense committed.

In some cases, petty environmental crimes like forest clearing, wildlife hunting, and poaching are resolved by the traditional Pusaka rules and by-laws. Their respect to the elders and the fear of punishment by nature and the spirits that exist in their forests is the main factor for their discipline. But, in terms of grave or serious environmental crimes like burning hectares of forest and killing of the Philippine Eagle, our national bird, the tribe will eventually and directly file cases with the help of concerned agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP). One example is the shooting of a released Philippine Eagle in Barangay Tambobong where the offender was directly put to prison for his violations against Republic Act 9147 or Wildlife Protection and Conservation Act.

Best Practices and Highlighted Cases of Obu-Manuvu Tribe on Forest Protection and Management

Several best practices and highlighted cases were observed by the researcher and listed from the interviews and group discussions. Most of it is strategies implemented to protect their forest and its resources.

A.Best Practices on Forest Protection within the Obu-Manuvu Community in Barangay Carmen

For protection, some of the best practices observed in the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen was devising proper land use plans and the enforcement of traditional laws using forest user groups as forest guards. Their traditional land use plan is similar to urban planning structure or zoning in protected areas management. A good example was with farm allocations in the community. Farms are controlled and shared equally among community members. According to their Tribal Chieftain, Paulino Landim, distribution of farms according to the agreed farm size ensure fairness to all members. Fairness in farm allocation also reduces the pressure of opening new farms when demand increases. Though their implementation is not that perfect due to lack of a clear mechanism for its operation, the method is effective to prevent rampant land grabbing and encroachment into their ancestral lands. They also identified their forest protection zone, agricultural/production zone, and area for reforestation.

B.Best Practices on Forest Management within the Obu-Manuvu Community in Barangay Carmen

One of the best practices for forest management in the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen is the forest guard initiative of the community and the whole tribe. Because they treat their ancestral domain as Pusaka, they are more determined to protect their lands. Pononag, another important leader of the Obu-Manuvu commented that the biodiversity of their lands is diminishing because of human-induced destruction, and this gave them the motivation to organize and train their own local forest guards and have it deputized by the concerned government agencies. This bolstered their confidence, especially with undertaking forest patrols and wildlife monitoring inside their ancestral domain and made them appreciate their forests more. Further, this also allows them to apprehend and confront timber poachers, wildlife hunters, illegal loggers and non-IPs that encroach into their ancestral lands. Offenders or violators must be punished through the Pusaka policies and laws by the Pusaka council of the community. Pononag is the peacekeeper of the people and the ancestral domain of the Obu-Manuvu tribe.

C.Highlighted Cases on Forest Protection within the Obu-Manuvu Community in Barangay Carmen

One of the highlighted cases on forest protection of the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen is the policy in hunting the Philippine brown deer (Rusa marianna), an endangered species but one of the most important species of the tribe during the celebration of their special events since time immemorial. The community allows the hunting of the said species only during the annual anniversary of the tribe which means they can only hunt the Philippine brown deer, once every year. Another example is the harvesting of frogs as a source of protein of the tribe. The community was only allowed to harvest the frogs during rainy seasons or when the moon is said to be dead. The community was allowed to harvest the frogs just for consumption only not for commercial purposes. Once members of the community or the outsiders violated the above policies, traditional laws will be imposed properly. Even the outsiders are not excused from the policies implemented in their community. If somebody or someone from the outside (not a member of the community) was caught violating any of the traditional policies, he/she will have to deal with the agreed and existing traditional laws.

D.Highlighted Cases on Forest Management within the Obu-Manuvu Community in Barangay Carmen

Codifying and popularizing the long-standing practice of the tribe, the Pusaka, is one of the highlighted cases not only in the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen but also in the entire Obu-Manuvu tribe in Davao City. This does not only help them achieve biodiversity conservation but also correct the misconception that the Indigenous people have no concept of conservation. Lipatuan commented that their traditional beliefs and practices on resource uses are sustainable. However, the public does not know about this. Popularizing their knowledge systems and practices keep them and their culture alive. Through the Pusaka framework, they created resource-use policies in each and every community and enforce traditional laws effectively. One of the best examples is the traditional tree-harvest regulation within the Pusaka site where you need the approval of your request not only from one person but to the whole Pusaka council.

Tribal leaders and elders, community members and forest guards argued that they are better protectors because they actually use their territory and the available resources that they have. When they visit their own ancestral lands from place to place, they acquire a detailed and intimate knowledge of the flora and fauna, allowing them to note changes better than an outside monitor would, and help drive away invaders like illegal loggers, hunters, poachers, treasure hunters, land grabbers, and encroachers.

Contribution of Indigenous Knowledge of Obu-Manuvu in terms of Natural Resource Management

Indigenous knowledge is more than a knowledge of the land. It includes the knowledge of resources, its management and ecological processes associated with it (Boven & Morohashi, 2002). For this study, the researcher found out that the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen have developed patterns of forest use and management that reflect their intimate knowledge with their local environment.

A.Contribution of Indigenous Knowledge of Obu-Manuvu on Forest Protection

From the result of this study, aside from the direct and indirect benefits that their forest provide, it is clear that the Obu-Manuvu community of Barangay Carmen and the whole Obu-Manuvu tribe of Davao City have a clear knowledge about resource utilization, and practices that ensure long term forests resource protection. This action keeps our remaining forest in Davao City intact and important watersheds preserved. Though most of the public and the concerned agencies do not know about this, the Obu-Manuvu tribal leaders and elders are actually active in institutionalizing their indigenous knowledge systems and practices with the help of some outside support that does not only help them in reinforcing their customary ways, but also strengthen them as a tribe, knowing that people are slowly recognizing and respecting them as they exist today.

Based on the ADSDPP of the Obu-Manuvu Tribe, the Obu-Manuvu of Barangay Carmen alone have more or less 2,000 hectares of protection forest out of more than 13,000 hectares from the whole Obu-Manuvu tribe in Davao City ancestral lands. If this forest were protected plus the reforestation projects that they currently initiated, there is a possibility that the Davao City metropolis and its younger generation will still enjoy and experience the direct and indirect benefits that the Davao City forest can offer.

B.Contribution of Indigenous Knowledge of Obu-Manuvu on Forest Management

The Pusaka initiative of the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen and their whole tribe in Davao City is another brand of conservation that can be a useful tool for natural resource management. As of now, they already get help from the public and receive positive commendations from different offices and concerned agencies. They are now given the chance to speak in forums and conferences that helped them articulate their own brand of conservation which is much more effective in terms of natural resource management compared to the existing mainstream brand of conservation. In doing so, it helps the general society appreciate their Indigenous identity and culture. This also contributes not only to the conservation and management of the forest but also to the enrichment of their identity as the Obu-Manuvu.

The Pusaka philosophy and framework of the Obu-Manuvu tribe is primarily tied to their lands. This result can be supported by the study conducted by Fernandez-Baca & Martin (2007) that majority of the conservationist believed that indigenous people with their knowledge and practices are the best conservation allies because of their permanent presence in the area and their strong ties to their ancestral lands (Fernandez-Baca & Martin, 2007).

The Indigenous knowledge of Obu-Manuvu in Barangay Carmen on forest management contributes not only on poverty alleviation but also decreases the rate of deforestation. The knowledge and practices that they have for Pusaka provide valuable long term sustainability of forest products and support landscape conservation strategies such as the muyong for the sustainable management of the Ifugao forests (Camacho, Gavena, Carandang & Camacho, 2015).

SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION

This chapter contains a summary of findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Summary

The aim of this study was to document and understand the indigenous knowledge of the Obu-Manuvu of Davao City specifically on forest protection and management as a tool and source of knowledge for natural resource management. Specifically, this study determined to answer the research questions which were: a) what are the indigenous (local) knowledge of the Obu-Manuvu cultural community in Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City with regards to forest protection and management?; b) how are these indigenous knowledge generated, accumulated, and shared among community members?; c) what are the social mechanisms supporting indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management generation, accumulation and transmission?; d) what are the “best practices” or “highlighted cases” on the application of indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management to achieve desired sustainable natural resources management outcomes?; and, e) what are the contributions of the Obu-Manuvu indigenous knowledge to forest protection and management among their remote indigenous communities in Davao City in terms of natural resource management?

Descriptive research was adopted for this study while purposive sampling was used in choosing the key informants or the respondents. Literature review, key informant interviews (KII), group interviews (GI), focus group discussions (FGD) field observation (FO), site surveys and community immersion was used as sources of information to attain the objectives. In this study, the procedures, rituals, necessary permits, contracts and any required documents stipulated in Administrative Order No.1 series of 2012 of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) known as “The Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSPs) and Customary Laws (CLs) Research and Documentation Guidelines of 2012.” was provided and strictly followed. Data analysis was an on-going process throughout the duration of this study. This study recognized the nature-human balance by acknowledging and restoring the traditional interactions that people had with nature.

A total of 50 Obu-Manuvu community members of Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City participated in the interviews and focus group discussions. Based on the result of this study, aside from the direct and indirect benefits that their forest provide, it is clear that the Obu-Manuvu community of Barangay Carmen and the whole Obu-Manuvu tribe of Davao City had knowledge about resource utilization, and practices that ensure long term forests resource protection and proper management. The indigenous knowledge of the Obu-Manuvu community like all Indigenous peoples exists in harmony with nature and clearly defined in a framework called “Pusaka”.

Pusaka is a long-standing practice and institution of the Obu-Manuvu tribe of sanctifying items, animals and lands- all that are considered valuable to their life and history. Although a long-standing practice, it was never given a precise description and definition. The tribal leaders and elders have an important role to play in creating, accumulating and disseminating the traditional knowledge and ensure its survival for the future generation such as the Pusaka that has been practiced by their ancestors. However, other than story-telling and traditional ceremonies during some occasions and special events of their tribe, several approaches motivated the Obu-Manuvu community to transfer their indigenous knowledge to the younger generation that includes the women, the parents, and their youth.

To protect their Pusaka, such as their ancestral forest, there are various strategies and social mechanism implemented in each community. For the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen, devising and identifying proper land use plans, marking of boundaries, using forest user groups as forest guards for forest protection and proper enforcement of their traditional laws and policies on resource-use for forest management are some strategies that are effective to protect their ancestral forest and manage it properly.

Several best practices and highlighted cases on forest protection and management were also observed by the researcher and listed from the interviews and group discussions that can be replicated and harnessed to attain a truly sustainable and manageable future.

The Indigenous knowledge of Obu-Manuvu in Barangay Carmen on forest management contributes not only on poverty alleviation but also decreases the rate of deforestation. The knowledge and practices that they have for Pusaka provide valuable long term sustainability of forest products and support landscape conservation strategies. This also contributes not only to the conservation and management of the forest but also to the enrichment of their identity as the Obu-Manuvu.

Recommendations include the enrichment of university and professional curricula by integrating indigenous knowledge in the curriculum and expanding the current intellectual boundaries. Also, collaboration with a different government, stakeholders and other concerned agencies who look into the protection and biodiversity conservation and conduct more studies and researches together on indigenous knowledge that can be integrated to the mainstream knowledge for effective forest protection and management. Further, taking accounts of the information and provide avenue for the government (e.g., DENR & NCIP), stakeholders and other concerned agencies (Watershed Management Council and several NGOs) in finding ways and to look further on how to resolve environmental issues and implement programs based on the indigenous knowledge and best practices from large population of indigenous people in the city and in the country for sustainable natural resource management.

Conclusions

In terms of forest protection and management, the indigenous knowledge of the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen clearly supports conservation and management of natural resources. The Pusaka framework of the specific indigenous community and the whole Obu-Manuvu tribe can be an effective method on resource utilization, and showed practices that ensure long term forests resource protection.

In this study, several “best practices” or “highlighted cases” within the Obu-Manuvu community on the application of their indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management can be replicated to achieve the desired sustainable natural resources management outcomes. However, there are external threats interfering with its effectiveness which can be prevented. Being traditional does not mean being static. This is evident because the communities kept changing their practices, and tribal leaders and elders assess changes to integrate new ideas and ways to transfer the knowledge to the next generation.

Indigenous knowledge such as the knowledge of the Obu-Manuvu community in Barangay Carmen is usually acknowledged but not incorporated in rules, regulations and general planning and management of resources. For example the Pusaka of the Obu-Manuvu tribe. The tribe has practiced this since the beginning of their history. But just recently, with the help of some NGOs and other agencies, this initiative gets the attention of the public and receive positive commendations. The tribe was now given a chance to speak in forums and conferences that helped them pronounced their kind of conservation. However, the pace is always slow.

In the Philippines, conservation planning decisions are often derived based on ecological and scientific evidence focusing on large scale research. Rarely does the micro-scale knowledge such as the indigenous knowledge get incorporated equally in conservation planning as a means to a more holistic and multi-scaled approach that takes into consideration on what happens at the local level (Saway, 1998).

Further, indigenous community involvement in forest management serves a dual purpose; it helps improve forest conditions while supporting the livelihoods of the communities. Through ‘learning by doing’, the Obu-Manuvu communities through their local institutions such as the Pusaka philosophy have succeeded to protect their forest although not to their full potential due to several impediments such as lack of incentives, extreme poverty, limited management skills and lack of technical expertise.

Recommendations

Based on the results of this study, the following are recommended;

For the Obu-Manuvu community, popularizing their knowledge systems and practices keep them and their culture alive. Their indigenous knowledge and practices on resource uses are proved to be sustainable. Therefore, popularizing their Pusaka philosophy and its current framework can be a useful tool in protecting our remaining forests and its natural resources.

Further, collaboration with different government and concerned agencies who look into the protection and biodiversity conservation and conduct studies and researches together on indigenous knowledge that can be integrated to the mainstream knowledge for effective forest protection and management. Integration of scientific and mainstream knowledge with the local knowledge which the indigenous communities have is important since they each provide context for the other. Local communities through their indigenous institutions and the support from other existing local institutions were capable of making necessary arrangement with regards to forest resource utilization and management.

This study also suggests enriching university and professional curricula by integrating indigenous knowledge and expanding their current intellectual boundaries. Then, provide information and avenue for the government, stakeholders and other concerned agencies in finding ways and to look further on how to resolve environmental issues and implement programs based on the indigenous knowledge and best practices from the large population of indigenous people in the city and in the country for sustainable natural resource management.

Taking accounts of the results of this study as a basis for the implementation of the programs and conservation planning strategies not only in the City of Davao but for the whole country. However, this requires policies geared towards nurturing, building their capacity and improving social capital to ensure that the involvement of indigenous communities is effective and results into both local and national level impacts.

Lastly, similar studies and researches in a different Obu-Manuvu community in Davao City and if possible, on the other forest-dwellers tribes in the city is highly recommended to assess and compare their indigenous knowledge on forest protection and management. By doing so, it will not only help them codify their concept of conservation but also provide additional information and practices in protecting our environment and its natural resources.

DEDICATION

To the Obu-Manuvu Community of Sitio Macatabo, Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City, to the Unified Obu-Manuvu Tribal Council of Elders and Leaders of Davao City, and to the late Dr. Hubertus van Dierendonck, the Founder of EGIP Foundation.

Acknowledgment

The researcher gratefully acknowledges and expresses heartfelt gratitude to the following persons who extended guidance, support, love, and encouragement for the fulfillment of this study;

To Professor Gladys Florangel I. Ortiz, his thesis adviser, for her guidance, considerations, and technical assistance provided for the completion of this study;

To his Thesis Advisory Committee; Professor Elizabeth R. Espejo, Dr. Mary Grace Z. Agbas and Ms. Shirley B. Iguianon of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP XI) for their expertise, pieces of advice, corrections and brilliant ideas for the improvement of this paper;

To the Obu-Manuvu community of Barangay Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City (where the researcher stayed for almost nine years since working with their project with the Philippine Eagle Foundation until his present employer, the EGIP Foundation) headed by their Tribal Chieftain Buyahhon Paulino M. Landim and his wife Bae Nilda A. Landim for their support and active participation during the interviews and focus group discussions;

To the Obu-Manuvu Tribal Council of Leaders and Elders and Ancestral Domain Management Office (ADMO) for allowing the researcher to conduct this study especially to Lipatuan Joel Unad, Mahabbok Luis Lambac and Pononag George Mandahay, for their active participation during the key informant interview, several discussions and for providing the researcher the secondary data and the necessary information about the Obu-Manuvu tribe;

To the National Commission on Indigenous People XI (NCIP XI) headed by their Regional Director Atty. Geroncio Aguio for their support during the conduct and validation of this study especially Sir Cris Ingay, Ma’am Nenita Amban, and their staff;

To the Philippine Eagle Foundation headed by its Executive Director, Mr. Dennis I. Salvador; their Research and Conservation Director, Dr. Jayson Ibanez and the whole RAC Staff for their technical assistance and for allowing the researcher to use the past and previous data/reports of the project;

To his Bosses from the EGIP Foundation, Sir Alec van Dierendonck, Ma’am Bing van Dierendonck and Sir Wiebe van Rij; and his officemates namely: Kristine, Earl, Gladys, Rhea, Grace and Ma’am Inday for their encouragement, understanding, and moral support;

To his MSERM batchmates, groupmates and classmates for their help and encouragement since day one of the class up to the conduct of this study namely, Gold, Marielle, Melaida, Shanel, Ben, Johmar, Clint, Loie, Norhamen, Ivy and some others whom he may have failed to mention;

To his MSERM professors for the knowledge and expertise they shared namely; Ma’am Mel Martinez, Sir Popoy Gonzales, Sir Joseph Sumabal, Sir Reynilo Garcia and Ma’am Gladys Ortiz, his MSERM Program Head.

To his loving parents and family for their patience, love, prayers, guidance, and support; and,

Above all, the Almighty Father, our God, for the unconditional love and countless blessings He provides. Thank you also for the wonderful things and for wisdom and strength.

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ABOUT THE MAIN AUTHOR

joshuaMr. JOSHUA L. DONATO is currently the Field Biologist/Forest Protection Officer of Euro Generics International Philippines (EGIP) Foundation-a Davao based NGO which focused on sustainable development initiative for rehabilitating and protecting remaining forests in the Davao hinterlands together with the Indigenous Peoples. EGIPF was established on 2010 by Dr. Hubertus van Dierendonck, founder of Euro Generics International Philippines.

He earned his degree in Biology from Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology in Mati City Davao Oriental. His graduate degree in Environmental and Resource Management was earned from University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP) in Davao City. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in Forest and Conservation in University of Montana in Missoula, Montana, USA.

His research interests include wildlife studies, forest and conservation, indigenous knowledge and beliefs, ethnolinguistics and cultures, eco-cultural tourism management, protected area and management, forestry and land-use planning. He also now an active birdwatcher, wildlife photographer, mountain climber and tour organizer.