About Us

Category: About the Project

The Philippines is one of the 17 mega biodiverse countries, containing two-thirds of the Earth’s biodiversity and 70 percent of world’s plants and animal species due to its geographical isolation, diverse habitats and high rates of endemism. The Philippines’ biodiversity provides several ecosystem services such as food, water, energy sources, pharmaceuticals, biomass fuels, carbon sequestration and climate regulation, crop pollination, cultural and spiritual inspiration and ecotourism value.

Thirty percent of the population, including 12 to 15 million indigenous peoples, resides in the uplands where most of the forests are located. These forests provide timber and non-timber products totaling $100 million in net benefits yearly. The Philippines is also one of the world’s hotspots with a large number of endangered and threatened species, making it a top global conservation priority area.

Program Overview

Designed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) Program contributes to achieving the goals of improving natural and environmental resource management in the Philippines.    

Objectives

The Program aims to:

  1. Conserve biodiversity in forest areas; 
  2. Reduce forest degradation in targeted priority watersheds;
  3. Build capacity to conserve biodiversity, manage forests, and support low emissions development; and,
  4. Contribute to disaster risk reduction. 

B+WISER expects to deliver the following results by 2017:

  • Improve management and governance of 2,420,000 hectares of key biodiversity areas and their associated watersheds; 
  • Support restoration initiatives in 478,000 hectares of forest areas, including mangroves;
  • Reduce or sequester 6.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (measured in CO2 equivalent); and
  • Leverage US$5 million from partnerships with public and private sector groups. 

Sites

The B+WISER Program initially worked in seven sites. Integrated assessments in those sites identified high conservation value areas which serve as significant habitats for critically endangered species. It was in those sites where the Lawin Forest and Biodiversity Protection System (Lawin) was piloted. Since the adoption of Lawin as part of the Philippines' national strategy for forest protection, the system is now being implemented nationwide.