Sustainable forest management is a major challenge for the forestry and environment sectors in the Philippines.  As in many tropical developing countries, the need to improve the country’s forest cover, protect the natural landscapes, and continuously provide food and sustainable livelihoods to rural and forest dwelling communities gave way for the development of people-oriented and development-focused forestry programs, termed under the broader category of the Social Forestry Program. The Social Forestry Program is a programmatic paradigm that seeks to strike a balance between the socioeconomic dimensions of development and environmental sustainability concerns of forest management. It is also a fundamental strategy for advancing social justice and equity in terms of access to, and benefits from, the country’s forest resources by actively involving local communities in forestry activities, particularly among forest-dependent and marginalized communities in Philippine society.  

A number of social forestry policies and programs have evolved over time, ranging from the initial Forest Occupancy Management (FOM), Communal Tree Farming (CTF) and Family Approach to Reforestation (FAR) of the 1970s, to the Integrated social forestry programs of the 1980s, to the Community-Based Forest Management Program in 1995 until the present, and the National Greening Program initiated in 2011. These policies and programs provide the general legal framework towards the practice of social forestry at various levels.  As a form of development practice, social forestry is implemented through the integration of appropriate methodological interventions such as agroforestry and other conservation farming practices, as well as social approaches like community organizing and livelihood development. 

The development of social forestry policies and programs in the Philippines is paralleled at the higher education sector with the development of curricular programs in social forestry at the diploma, baccalaureate, and graduate levels. Simultaneously, research and development initiatives in the field have also emerged over time, generating widespread empirical evidence to help improve the science and practice of social forestry in the country.

The Philippines has one of, if not the longest standing experiences implementing social forestry in the tropical world. Nevertheless, there is a timely need to conduct a more comprehensive assessment of the current state of the science and practice of social forestry in the Philippines. We therefore propose to bring the field together in a special section by seeking contributions that can help to answer the following questions:

  • - How are social forestry policies and programs translated into practice at the local and grassroots levels? 
  • - Is there empirical evidence that shows the effectiveness and contributions of these policies and practices towards sustainable forest management? 
  • - What lessons can be learned from these policies and practice of social forestry that might have broader implications for other tropical countries?
  • - In what ways can we improve the science and practice of social forestry? 
  • - What is the role of education in advancing the science, policy, and practice of social forestry in the Philippines and how does it contribute to the overall effort of pursuing sustainable forest management?

Forest and Society is therefore initiating this special section to highlight social forestry initiatives in the Philippines, placing an emphasis on education, method, policy, empirical evidence, and practice. We invite authors from a range of fields and backgrounds including academics, researchers, students, extension workers, policy makers, indigenous communities, and practitioners to contribute original research articles or other formats listed offered at Forest and Society. Site-specific experience and comparative approaches across sites are also welcomed. 


  • - Submission       March to August 2020
  • - Peer review       From submission until November 2020
  • - Publication        March 2021

For further information, read the full instruction for authors. We also provide a template for submission here: 

Or submit your paper via the journal’s online submission site:

Please contact the editors for any queries at