Climate Change and Forest Ecosystems in the Philippines: Vulnerability, Adaptation and Mitigation

Rodel D. Lasco, Florencia B. Pulhin, Patricia Ann J. Sanchez, Grace B. Villamor, Karl Abelard L. Villegas

Abstract


Climate change and Philippine forests are directly linked to each other. Changes in climate are affecting the forests and its ability to deliver its environmental services. In the same manner, degradation of the forest resources results to emission of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere which contributes to climate change. To enhance the mitigation role of the forests and at the same time increase their resilience to climate change, policies and programs must be put in place. Such policies and programs must however be science-based. This paper reviewed one decade of research on climate change and forest ecosystems in the Philippines. Limited research suggests that dry forest types are the most vulnerable to climate change. Potential adaptation strategies do exist but have not yet been adequately studied. Most of the past research has focused on the mitigation potential of terrestrial ecosystems. Significant amount of carbon is conserved in natural forests (up to 250 MgC/ha). These stored carbon can be emitted to the atmosphere as CO2 gas through deforestation. Planted trees have a high rate of carbon sequestration (mean of 4.3 MgC/ha/yr) and could help mitigate greenhouse gas concentration. Lessons that are relevant to forest management in the country are extracted. Future research needs are suggested.

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