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Philippines > Region > countries > home

Dr. Rogelio N. Concepcion,
Bureau of Soils and Water Management
Last updated 24 November 2004

News :

[Map 2.3.1] and related maps are on-line [24/11/04]

icon overview   Country Overview
icon land   Land resources
icon water   Water resources (AQUASTAT)
icon plant   Plant nutrient resources
icon hotspots   Hot spots
icon brightspots   Bright spots
icon challenges and view points   Challenges and viewpoints
icon references and links   References / Related internet links

1.   Country overview

1.1  Geography and administrative units

1.2  Socio-economic features

1.3  Climate

1. > top


1.1  Geography and administrative units

The Philippines is an archipelagic nation and comprises of 7,107 islands, spanning 1,840 km from north to south. It lies at the western rim of the vast Pacific Ocean and fronts the southernmost extension of the Eurasian Continent. It is part of the East Indies, a vast island group lying southeast of mainland Asia, with Taiwan at its northwest coast and Borneo on the south. It is bounded by three large bodies of water: on the west and north by the South China Sea; on the east by the Pacific Sea; and on the south by the Celebes Sea and the coastal waters of Borneo. The Philippine archipelago lies between 40N and 210N latitude and between 1160E and 1270E longitude.

The total land area of the Philippines is 299,404 km2 or approximately 30 M ha. Eleven large islands take up about 95% of the land area, with small islands and islets comprising the remaining 5%. The country is divided into three major island groups. Luzon is the largest island group with an area of 141,000 km2, followed by Mindanao covering 102,000 km2, and the Visayas with 57,000 km2. The rest are small islets that emerge and disappear with the ebbing and rising of the tides.

Owing to its archipelagic nature, topographic variations characterize the Philippines. A study of the geological history of the archipelago shows that the islands are actually the peak of mountains uplifted from the sea floor by the horizontal pressure exerted by the Indo-Australian Plate and the Asiatic Plate on the eastern borders of the Philippine Plate during the Miocene Period. What appear to be islands are, in effect, "half-drowned mountains" which form part of a long and wide Cordillera extending from Indonesia to Japan. Other peaks are of volcanic origin.

Luzon, the largest island group, is the most mountainous with extensive valleys and plains running through its interiors. There are three major mountain ranges in the area: the Sierra Madre, the Central Cordillera and the Caraballo Mountains. The southern portion of the island has a dominantly volcanic topography with ridges and valleys of gentle slope and generally accordant drainage. Active volcanoes such as the Mt. Pinatubo, Mayon Volcano and Mt. Bulusan are also found in this group of islands.

The group of islets/islands, located at the central Philippines commonly known as the Visayas Island, has a severe dissection of topography due to its exposure to typhoons from the Pacific and torrential rains. This group of islands is characterized by mountains and hills where peaks reach 900 m, river basins, floodplains, plateaus and valleys. Visayas is likewise known for its "haycock hills", commonly referred to as Chocolate Hills with elevation ranging from 40 to 120 m and covering an area of 70 to 100 km2.

Mindanao has diverse structural elements and different forms of physiographic development including fault block mountains, volcanic peaks, uplifted plateaus, low flat basins, a notable fault zone which also cuts through Luzon and Visayas, fissure flow masses and incised valleys and canyons. This island group has five major mountain ranges, namely: the Eastern or Pacific Cordillera which is made up of two mountain systems with a series of ranges in each system; the Bukidnon-Davao Range, which is a complex series of ranges that extends for some 400 km form Diwata Point in the north to the southern tip of the Saranggani Peninsula. Mindanao also has a large area in the northern part which is the Bukidnon-Lanao Plateau.

[Map 1.1.1: Outline maps]

1.1 > 1.

1.2  Socio-economic features

1.2.1 Population
1.2.2 Economy
1.2.3 The Role of Agriculture in the Country’s Economy
1.2.4 Major food crops and cash crops and trend in production
1.2.5 Food security
1.2.6 Cropping intensity
1.2.7 Cropping diversification

[Text 1.2.1 : Socio-economic features with graphs and tables]

1.2.1 Population

Population in the Philippines has grown from 27 million in 1960 to 63.5 million as of July 1995. By island group, population is largely concentrated in Luzon with the largest share being in the National Capital Region (NCR). The population in Mindanao and Visayas are growing in almost similar proportion. Translated into population density, population density is increasing in the country. Population density is highest in Visayas and least in Mindanao. In Luzon, the NCR is exceptionally dense being close to 14,000 persons per sq. kilometer.

Urban-rural population suggests the increasing share of urban population relative to the rural population. Overall, population growth has remarkably decreased considering the last six censal periods. In a span of 35 years, population in the country has grown by an average of 2.6 percent per year.

The major employment sectors, in descending order of magnitude, are agriculture, fishing and forestry sector; followed by community, social and personal services; wholesale and retail trade; and manufacturing. These four sectors consistently provide the greatest contribution to employment from 1985 to 1997.

Average family income in nominal prices in the last four survey periods (1985, 1988, 1991 and 1994) showed increasing trend with urban family income above the national average while the rural family income below the average. Notably, the disparity of income between urban and rural family has continued to widen over the years. In real terms, the average family income has not improved since 1988. The average family income index suggests that households in Luzon Island were better off compared to those in Mindanao and Visayas. Specifically, those households in the NCR have the greatest income. Translated into per capita income, the households in the NCR earn thrice as much as those residing in Visayas and Mindanao.

About crop-land man ratio in terms of hectares per agricultural worker for the period 1985-1993, on the average, 0.82 hectares is available for cultivation by an agricultural worker.

1.2.2 Economy

Based on gross domestic contribution, the services sector provides the greatest contribution to the economy with about 40 percent share from 1985 to 1995, followed by the industry sector contributing about 35 percent during the last ten years. The agriculture sector contributes at least 20 percent over the last ten years.

In the services sector, trading contributes remarkable share to the gross domestic product followed by community, social and personal services, and transportation, communication and storage.On the other hand, the manufacturing sector provides the greatest share to the GDP in industrial sector.

1.2.3 The Role of Agriculture in the Country’s Economy

In the last 12 years, agriculture posted a share of at least 20 percent of the GDP. Specifically, almost 21 percent of the 1997 GDP was attributed to agriculture. During this year, the subsectoral contributions to the total agricultural output were as follows:

From 1985 to 1997, the agriculture sector has grown by an annual average of 2.7 percent. Despite the economic uncertainties brought about by regional currency crises in 1997, the agriculture sector has attained a 2.9 percent output gain from previous year’s level.

In 1997, the preliminary data from the BAS recorded 11.32 million persons engaged in agriculture, representing almost 41 percent of the country’s total employment. From 1985 to 1997, agriculture has contributed at least 40 percent of the country’s employment. The 13-year period generally showed a declining share of agriculture to employment on a low pace. BAS noted about 50 percent of the employed females in the rural areas were in agriculture.

1.2.4 Major food crops and cash crops and trend in production

In value terms, the leading crops are rice, corn, coconut, sugarcane, banana, pineapple, mango and cassava. But in terms of harvest area, pineapple and mango are less extensively grown unlike coffee, abaca or even sweet potato.

The increase in rice production is attributed to increasing area rather than increase in yield.Yield of irrigated rice has practically been pegged at a little more than 3 mt/ha while non-irrigated rice remained at about 2 mt/ha. Harvest area to rice, on the other hand, showed increasing trend for irrigated but declining in non-irrigated areas.

In the case of corn production, its decline is primarily due to decreasing area primarily devoted to white corn. Yield of white corn has practically remained since 1985 and yellow corn has improved considerably. Effective area grown to white corn showed decreasing trend while those planted to yellow reflected somehow an increasing trend.

For coconut, its production has not improved since 1986. It has maintained production of 11 million mt from 1989 until 1994. Area devoted to coconut has recently reached 3.3 million hectares surpassing its record in 1986. Obviously, yield has not improved over the last ten years at less than 4 mt/ha.

On sugarcane, the production data has shown quite substantial variability attributed to fluctuations in area devoted to sugarcane. Yield has remained close to 60 mt/ha during the last five years which is much lower to its performance of close to 80 mt/ha in the preceding five years.

1.2.5 Food security

On food self-sufficiency, BAS-DA reported that for the past five years, the country has not been self-sufficient in rice and corn. In 1997, rice and corn imports amounted to 731 thousand mt and 302.96 thousand mt, respectively. The same source cited the greater dependency on importation in the cases of garlic, peanut and mongo. For its beef requirements, BAS-DA reported an import representing 18.5 percent of its total supply.

Local producers, according to BAS-DA have the capability to sufficiently address the domestic consumption needs for coconut, sugar and most of the fruits, vegetables and rootcrops. Also, it reported the country as producing quantities of poultry and fishery products enough for its population although in 1997, some 1.44 thousand mt of poultry products and 175 thousand mt of fishery products flowed into the country.

1.2.6 Cropping intensity

Irrigated rice areas are grown 2-3 times a year. The non-irrigated areas are planted once to twice a year depending on available moisture. Similarly, corn is grown once to twice a year. An estimate of the cropping intensities for these two crops based on the reported total harvest area relative to the July to December harvest area in the country is presented in Table below

Table : Cropping Intensities for Rice and Corn, Philippines, 1985 –1998














































Note: Estimated based on the total harvest area relative to the July to December harvest area

1.2.7 Cropping diversification

Supportive to crop diversification was the implementation of the "Gintong Ani" for High Value Commercial Crops of the Department of Agriculture, as provided in RA 7900. The program has encouraged growing of various high value commercial crops which include cutflowers, ornamentals, fruits, vegetables, bulbs, legumes, nuts, herbs and spices, beverages, essential oils, fiber and industrial crops.

1.2 > 1.

1.3  Climate

1.3.1 Classification of climate
1.3.2 Air systems
1.3.3 Rainfall
1.3.4 Surface winds
1.3.5 Tempareture
1.3.6 Humidity
1.3.7 Cloudness

1.3.1 Classification of climate

Several systems of climatic classification have been adopted in the Philippines. This classification was taken from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and is based on seasonal rainfall distribution; that is, considering the two most important rain periods in the country. These rain periods generally fall during the prevalence of the southwest and northeast monsoons. The so-called "Modified Corona’s Classification of Climate" considers a dry month as that with less than 50 millimeters (mm) of rainfall, although a month with more than 100 mm can still be considered as dry if it comes after three or more very dry months. Using the average monthly distribution of rainfall at different stations, Corona defined four types of such rainfall distribution in the Philippines, as shown in [Map 1.3.1]

Climatic resources are characterized by the annual rainfall, thermal zones, length of growing period and growing period patterns. Regional distribution of climatic resources based on modified FAO guideline is shown in [Table 1.3.1]

[Map 1.3.1: Rainfall distribution in the Philippines]

[Table 1.3.1: Climatic Resources]

1.3.2 Air streams

The principal air streams, which significantly affect the Philippines, are the Northeast Monsoon, the Southwest Monsoon and the North Pacific Trades.

The Northeast Monsoon affects the area during the months of October to March. It is most dominant during January and February. The air stream originates in the cold, intense Asiatic winter anticyclone, moves eastward across Japan in to the North Pacific, recurves to the south and enters the Philippines from a northeasterly direction as a maritime tropical air mass. It has a surface temperature of 250C, a vapor pressure of 20 millibars (mb) and a humidity relatively lower than that of the air stream.

The Southwest Monsoon occurs during the time of high solar altitude from May to October when the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) has moved over the area. Occasionally however, the Southwest Monsoon may appear as early as April and persists up to November. This air stream originates in the north side of the Indian Ocean anticyclone during winter in the southern hemisphere. It moves northward towards the thermal low pressure over the Asiatic mainland during this season but is deflected to the right upon crossing the equator and arrives at the Philippines generally from the southwest. The air mass is classified as equatorial maritime and is warm and very humid, having an average temperature and a vapor pressure of about 260C and 30 mb, respectively.

The North Pacific Trades is the southern portion of the North Pacific anticyclone. Having passed over a vast expanse of the North Pacific Ocean, this air stream is classified as a maritime tropical air mass. It generally arrives in the Philippines as a maritime tropical air mass from an easterly direction but may come from any northeast to southeast direction. The air stream is generally dominant over the entire Philippines in April and early May, and over the central Philippines and southern Philippines in October. It usually overlies the Northwest Monsoon over the eastern section of the Philippines. The temperature and vapor pressure near the earth’s surface within this air mass average about 270C and 31 mb, respectively.

1.3.3 Rainfall

Rainfall in the Philippines is brought about by different rainfall causing weather patterns such as air streams, tropical cyclones, the ITCZ and to a lesser extent, by fronts, easterly waves, local convention, etc. Its intensity or amount is influenced by latitude or geographical setting, topography and exposure and the season. In a recent study, it has been shown that 47% of the average annual rainfall in the country is attributed to the occurrence of tropical cyclones in the vicinity. The northeast and southwest monsoons each contribute 7%. The remaining 39% are due to the combined effects of the ITCZ, shearlines, easterly waves and other rainfall-causing weather patterns.

1.3.4 Surface winds

In the Philippines, the winds are the usual composite of the major currents, tropical cyclones and local circulations produced by diurnal and topographic effects.

The prevailing wind direction at most stations conforms to the dominant air streams during the different months. Thus, during the northeast monsoon, the prevailing winds are generally from the southwest quadrant. However, in many stations, the effects produce prevailing winds which deviate from the winds that might be expected.

The annual average wind speed in the Philippines is only three meters per second (mps). The wind is highly variable. During the presence of a tropical cyclone in the vicinity, the wind speed generally depends on the distance of the cyclone from the station and also on local topographic effects. The wind speed during direct passages of tropical cyclones over a place occasionally exceed 50 mps and at times, 75 mps. The wind may also increase considerably above the average value during surges or intensification of the monsoons, with values exceeding 15 mps.

Diurnal changes of wind speed are usually observed in most stations. The effects of land and sea breezes in coastal stations, and mountain and valley breezes for inland stations are usually apparent. The wind speed has the usual maximum during the day and the common nocturnal minimum in most stations.

1.3.5 Temperature

The Philippines generally has high temperatures because of its tropical maritime setting and the warm air currents flowing over its land masses. The mean annual temperature is about 270C. The hottest months are May with 28.40C, June with 27.90C and April with 27.80C. The coldest months are January with 25.50C, February with 25.80C and December with 26.10C. The seasonal variation of temperature is so small with an average annual range of 2.90C. The maximum temperatures for most places in the Philippines occur between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. while the minimum temperatures occur between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. In general, the highest temperatures are observed in valleys and plains while the lowest temperatures occur at stations with high elevations.

The absolute maximum temperature recorded in the Philippines was 42.40C at Tuguegarao, Cagayan Valley on April 29, 1912 and May 11, 1969. The absolute minimum temperature of 3.00C was recorded in Baguio, which has an elevation of 1,482 m, in January 1903.

1.3.6 Humidity

Because of the warm moist air streams flowing over the archipelago, its surrounding seas, rich vegetation and abundant rainfall, the humidity of the air throughout the Philippines is high. The average annual relative humidity for the whole Philippines is about 82%. Almost all the stations have monthly values of relative humidity greater than 70% and a large majority has more than eight months of the year with relative humidity greater than 80%. High values of relative humidity are usually observed at night and early morning; and low values, during the day and early evening except when it is raining.

1.3.7 Cloudiness

The average annual cloudiness for the whole Philippines is six oktas (6/8 of the sky coverage) with values ranging from four oktas to seven oktas. For most stations, the cloudy months are June to December wherein the average cloudiness is about six oktas or more while the other months are less cloudy with average cloudiness of five oktas or less. This characteristic is closely related with the behavior of the monthly average of rainy days.

[Map 1.3.2: Length of Growing Periods of the Philippines]

[Map 1.3.3: Patterns of Growing Periods of the Philippines]

[Map 1.3.4: Thermal Zones of the Philippines]

1.3 > 1.

2.   Land resources

2.1  Physiography

2.2  Soils

2.3  Agroecological systems

2.4  Wetlands, mangroves and inland valley bottoms

2.5  Inundation Land Types

2.6  Natural hazards

2.7  Land cover

2.8  Land use

2.9  Land use change

2.10  Land Productivity

2.11  Environmental Impact of land uses

2. > top

2.1  Physiography

The different landscapes found in the Philippines are listed below. Their area distribution is presented in [Table 2.1.1]

a. Coastal

Soils of this landscape are mainly formed from materials deposited by tidal waters and sediments from rivers and creeks from the upper stream.

These are brackish and freshwater wetlands dominated either by grassy and woody vegetation. These include mangrove/nipa and viable fishpond.

b. Alluvial

Includes low-lying alluvial lands derived from different parent materials which generally consist of unsorted, unconsolidated detrital assemblage of clay, silt, sand, gravel and sometimes boulder deposited along the stream beds and banks, flood plains, flat areas and abandoned segments of meander cut-offs.

These are prime agricultural lands which are intensively used for crop production.

c. Residual Terrace

It occupies the sloping to rolling upland areas made up of sedimentary materials mainly conglomerate interbedded with shale and sandstone. It is mainly from local colluvium and mixed alluvium eroded and water-laid down from adjacent mountain ranges.

These are the nearly level to undulating areas around the base of hills and mountains and the relatively flat limestone areas within 100m elevation.

d. Footslope

This landform was formed on slightly to severely dissected, undulating to rolling of pyroclastic origin.
Soils are moderately deep to deep, well-drained and medium to clayey. These are relatively steep and at the sideslope of waterways, hence, the occurrence of soil erosion.

This covers lands which are considered prime for diversified uses and valuable for various upland crops.

e. Hills

Hilly landscape represents the results of important geological processes, and also erosion processes give rise to the degree of dissection of this landscape which includes the sedimentary volcanic and meta-volcanic hills.

f. Mountains

Mountain landscapes are formed mainly from limestone, mixed sedimentary and volcanic materials. The main vegetation are forest, grasses and shrubs.

These are the highly elevated (>500 m a.s.l.) areas which have relatively cool climate and soils formed from different parent materials.

The soils are quite deep in lower slopes while in the ridges, they are rather shallow with common outcrops of boulders and stones. These units are medium textured soils with moderate to severe erosion.

If the forest authorities would allow these lands for agricultural expansion, they could be tapped for various fruit trees, vegetables and cutflowers. The climate in these areas is highly favorable for the growing of such crops.

Those areas with steep slopes (>30% slope) and have no agricultural potentials should be left to permanent forest trees for ecological reasons.

g. Volcanic cone

Volcanic cone represents the conical in shape having straight sideslopes as a distinguishing feature from other hilly and mountainous landscapes. The sideslopes ranges form 40 to 60% or more. This very steep slope limits the cultivation of the area because it will result in severe erosion.

h. Miscellaneous land types

Soils under this landform type are very hard to develop if not impossible to agricultural uses.

These consist of the urban-built-up areas; barren lands such as sandbars, beach sand; rocklands and riverwash areas; mining and quarrying areas, canyons, gorges, escarpments and water bodies.

[Table 2.1.1: Area Distribution Of Identified Landscape (in hectares), 1991]

Physiographic units (Land Management Units)

The Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) established a standard mapping unit in its land resource assessment studies. These mapping units are termed as Land Management Units (LMU). Technically, LMU is defined as a recurring pattern of land, soil type, associated with relatively uniform land use/vegetation and parent materials. It provides the micro-variations in the environmental gradients that fill the gap in the environmental gradients that fill the gap in the spatial continuum for the agricultural and forestry landscape.

The LMUs serve as a basis for the integration of field and resources information. They are the basic units in the suitability rating for the different crops/land uses wherein each suitability class can be related to specific sets of management inputs and requirements.

Based on the LMU, the BSWM has published the country’s first "Philippine Land and Soils Management Atlas" which illustrated the integration of socio-economic factors and vulnerability to risk and natural hazard with various LMU in their various agro-ecological zone locations.

A total of 130 LMUs were identified and mapped in the Philippines. Their respective description are presented in [Table 2.1.2]

[Table 2.1.2: Description of LMU]

[Map 2.1.1: Elevation map of the Philippiness]

[Map 2.1.2: Slope map of the Philippiness]

2.1 > 2.

2.2  Soils

E.1. Soil types and distribution

The Land Resources Inventory conducted by the Bureau of Soils and Water Management classified the soils of the country according to the FAO Classification. Extent of these soil types is shown in [Table 2.2.1]. Apparently, Cambisols, Luvisols and Acrisols are dominant soil types ([Chart 2.2.1]). Distribution of these soil types by landscape is shown in [Chart 2.2.2 to 2.2.5].

[Table 2.2.1: Area occupied by general soil types (FAO Classification)]

[Chart 2.2.1 to 2.2.5: Area occupied by general soil types]

Chart 2.2.1: Area occupied by general soil types (FAO Classification)
Chart 2.2.2: Area occupied by general soil types (Lowland soilscape)
Chart 2.2.3: Area occupied by general soil types (Upland soilscape)
Chart 2.2.4: Area occupied by general soil types (Hillyland soilscape)
Chart 2.2.5: Area occupied by general soil types (Highland soilscape)

The soil map legend devised for the land resources inventory include the following:

[Map 2.2.1: Soil Map of the Philippines by Soil Order]

[Map 2.2.2: Soil Map of the Philippines by Subgroups]

[Map 2.2.3: Soilscape of the Philippines]

2.2 > 2.

2.3  Agroecological systems

2.3.1 Pedo-ecological zones
2.3.2 Land capability classes
2.3.3 Land suitability for major crop types

2.3.1 Pedo-ecological zones

Pedo-ecological zones (PEZs) is the natural unit developed by the BSWM and subsequently adopted for national planning. PEZs represent broad ecological resource management units derived from an association of soils and their environments particularly such factors as landscape, elevation, slope and temperature. The adoption of the environmental dimension in the physical units allows the identification and selection of land uses and cropping systems, the productivity of which can be sustained over time without endangering the quality of the physical environment.

Four (4) PEZs were identified from this soil-environment association process conducted in the whole country. These are the Warm Lowlands, Warm-Cool Uplands, Warm-Cool Hillylands and Cool Highlands. Table I.1.1 presents the distribution of PEZs in the country.

a. Warm lowlands

These are the pedo-ecological units that occupy the lands within 100m elevation and slopes not exceeding 8%. The average temperature in these areas is generally greater than 250C.

b. Warm-cool uplands

These occupy land within 500 m elevation and have slope of not more than 18%. The average temperature in these ecological landscapes is generally within the range of 22.50C to 250C. These ecological areas have the advantage of having cool evening and morning temperature where fog and morning dew provide the natural process of moisture conservation. In general, these areas represent the transitional (variable temperature) climatic zones.

c. Warm-cool hillylands

These are the pedo-ecological units that occupy the lands within 500m elevations and have land gradients of more than 18%. The average range of temperature is similar to that of the Upland Pedo-ecological zones i.e. within 22.5 0C to 25 0C. In most areas, these units retain some of the forest vegetations, especially in the steep slopes and along the seepage areas. The grassland ecosystems which generally co-exist with the forest vegetatjon are concentrated on the exposed convex position of the eroding landscape.

These are the general landscapes that are prone to soil erosion and land degradation. The best uses in these zones are crops that provide more soil cover and do not require intensive tillage. Economic tree crops and forest trees are the most compatible with these ecological landscapes.

In areas where lowland resources are limited, these areas are usually subjected to various forms of land-degrading activities such as "kaingin" and other subsistence forms of agriculture. When unprotected or when land use is not properly planned, degradation in these areas affect the efficiency of various infrastructures and agricultural performances in the lowland.

d. Cool highlands

These are the pedo-ecological units that occupy the lands with elevation of 500m and higher. The land gradients vary from flat t9o extremely steep slopes. Temperature is the critical factor in the development of this zone. These pedo-ecological areas have generally stale temperatures. Moisture is generally available for effective year-round biomass production.

In general, where topography and soils are not limiting factors, these zones are the best areas for the production of exotic and other high income generating fruit trees, vegetables and cut flowers. Also, these areas have potentials for being future summer respites and can be developed to support tourism because of cool temperature and the ability to maintain green landscapes throughout the year.

[Table 2.3.1: Area distribution of PEZs, 1991]

2.3.2 Land capability classes

Land capability is a method for defining the broad land use potential in the country. Based from soil types and slope analyses, this scheme groups the soil units in accordance with soil conservation measures with reference to general land use, namely:

  1. Class A (Very good land). This can be cultivated safely and requires only simple but good management practices.
  2. Class B (Good land). This can be cultivated safely and requires easily applied conservation practices.
  3. Class C (Moderately good land). This must be cultivated with caution and requires careful management and intensive conservation practices.
  4. Class D (Fairly good land). This must be cultivated with caution and requires very careful management and complex conservation practices for safe cultivation. This is more suitable for pasture or forest.
  5. Class L (Level to nearly level land). This is too stony or very wet for cultivation and thus, is limited to pasture or forest use with good soil management.
  6. Class M (Steep land). This is easily eroded and too shallow for cultivation and therefore requires careful management to be used for pasture or forest.
  7. Class N (Very steep land). This land is shallow and rough or dry for cultivation and very easily eroded. It can be used for grazing or forestry with very limited management required.
  8. Class X (Level land). This land is very often wet and is suited for fishpond. Examples are mangrove swamps and fresh marshes.
  9. Class Y (Very hilly and mountainous). This is generally barren and rugged and suitable for recreation or wildlife.

The distribution of various land capability classes is presented in [Table 2.3.2]

[Table 2.3.2: Area Distribution By Land Capability Classes, 1984]

2.3.3 Land suitability for major crop types

[Table 2.3.3: Major Group of Crops In The Suitability Classes]

[Table 2.3.4: Agro-edaphic Suitability Class for Various Groups of Crops]

[Map 2.3.1: Compilation of Spatial Data for Philippines AEZ]

Map 1.3.2: Length of Growing Periods of the Philippines
Map 1.3.3: Patterns of Growing Periods of the Philippines
Map 1.3.4: Thermal Zones of the Philippines
Map 2.1.1: Elevation map of the Philippiness
Map 2.1.2: Slope Map of the Philippines
Soil Map
Map 2.2.1: Soil Map of the Philippines by Soil Order
Map 2.2.2: Soil Map of the Philippines by Subgroups
Map 2.2.3: Soilscape of the Philippines
Map 3.2.1: Irrigated Areas of the Philippines

2.3 > 2.

2.4  Wetlands, mangroves and inland valley bottoms


2.4 > 2.

2.5  Inundation Land Types

Soil types prevalent in the Philippines may be grouped into seven based on moisture storage capacity, soil fertility, acidity, and related physical and chemical characteristics. Based on studies conducted by the BSWM, one group of soil termed as poorly drained flood-prone soils provide the necessary information on inundation land types. These are best for wetland or irrigated agriculture. Swampy areas falling under this group can be utilized for aquaculture. In comparison to the other soil groups, Group IV covers almost 4% of the total land area as presented in [Table 2.5.1]

[Table 2.5.1: Major Soil Fertility Groups (in thousand hectares), Philippines, 1983]

2.5 > 2.

2.6  Natural hazards

2.6.1 Drought
2.6.2 Tropical cyclones
2.6.3 Earthquake
2.6.4 Volcanic eruptions
2.6.5 Damage to food crops
2.6.6 Basic policy options/guidelines to mitigate impact of natural calamities

2.6.1 Drought

Major drought events in the Philippines, through climatological studies, have been identified with the El Niño occurrences or warm episodes in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. The last quarter of 1982 represented he start of the most severe El Niño-related drought in the country.

The incidence of long dry spells has affected some 10% or 1.05M ha of the country’s agricultural land. This resulted to a loss of 2.5M mt in agricultural production. Water levels in the different hydroelectric dams in Luzon were observed to have gone down from October 1991 to March 1992, significantly affecting their power generation capacity. The eight-month drought in Mindanao also caused serious health and sanitation problems due to the drying up of rivers and wells. These have forced tribal communities to drink unsafe water resulting in the widespread outbreaks of typhoid and gastroenteritis. Upper respiratory ailments in children have likewise been observed due to excessive heat and dust. Another impact attributed to this natural calamity is forest fire ([Table 2.6.1]).

[Table 2.6.1: Forest fires caused by drought in 1992]

The Department of Agriculture has allotted a significant budget to try to influence rainfall through cloud-seeding operations. Since 1990, the BSWM has organized several thousands of airplane sorties (in 1992 alone more than 1500) all over the country in a direct effort to mitigate the impact of drought/dry spells. This activity of creating rain is claimed to be important in ensuring the maintenance of water levels in some of the most important barrages in the Philippines. These storages supply domestic and irrigation water as well as power to many agricultural areas and towns.

2.6.2 Tropical cyclones

The most commonly occurring natural hazard in the country is tropical cyclones. These are low atmospheric pressure areas of tropical origin characterized by strong winds and normally accompanied by rainfall. When formed, they usually move to the west and generally slightly poleward, then may recurve, i.e. move to mid-latitude westerlies and back to the east. Not all tropical cyclones recurve. Many dissipate after entering a continent in the tropics and a smaller amount die over the tropical oceans. Depending on their windspeed, tropical cyclones are classified as tropical depression, tropical storm, severe tropical storm, and typhoon ([Table 2.6.2-1]).

An average of 20 tropical cyclones passes through the Philippine Area of Responsibility each year. No other country experiences a large number of tropical cyclone passages in a year, thus causing billions of pesos in damages ([Table 2.6.2-2]).

[Table 2.6.2: Indicators of Tropical Cyclones]

2.6.3 Earthquake

The Philippines is a seismically active country, with at least five earthquakes occurring per day. The major earthquake generators in the archipelago ([Map 2.6.1]) include the following: a. Philippine Trench; b. East Luzon Trench; c. Manila trench; d. Collisional zone between Palawan and Mindoro; e. Negros Trench; f. Collisional zone between Zamboanga Peninsula and Western Mindanao; g. Sulu Trench; h. Cotabato Trench; i. Davao Trench; j. Philippine Fault zone and its many branches; and k. other active faults such as Marikina, Lubang, Tablas, Casiguran and Mindanao Faults.

One of those strongest earthquakes that occurred in recent times was the July 16, 1990 earthquake, whose destructive aftermath will probably be recorded in the annals of the country as one of the worst ever to happen. The earthquake’s damages to agricultural production is shown in [Table 2.6.3].

[Map 2.6.1: Distribution of Earthquake Generators in the Philippines]

[Table 2.6.3: July 16, 1990 Earthquake: Damages to Agricultural Production]

2.6.4 Volcanic eruptions

The Philippines is among those with histories of volcanic activity and related phenomena. It has more than 200 volcanoes, 21 of which are classified as active as of 1986.

There are four major volcanic belts in the country, namely: the Westerly Convex Volcanic Belt in Luzon, of which Mt. Pinatubo is part of; Easterly Convex Volcanic Belt from Southern Luzon to Davao; Westerly Volcanic Belt in Negros and Panay; and, Southeasterly Volcanic Belt from Sulu Archipelago to Zamboanga.

One of the major volcanic eruptions in recent times is that of Mt. Pinatubo in June 12, 1991. The volcano emitted enormous amounts of ash-laden steam clouds reaching as high as 20 kilometers above the vent. Among the areas affected by volcanic ashfalls were:Ilocos Sur on the South; Camarines Norte on the east; Occidental Mindoro, Bacolod and Iloilo on the south; and Palawan on the southwest. It was likewise observed in Hongkong, Cambodia, and Bangkok and dust and gas emissions from the eruption reached Germany and other areas in Europe by July 24, 1991. Damages to properties as a result of Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption are presented in [Table 2.6.4].

[Table 2.6.4: Damages to Properties by Mt. Pinatubo Eruption as of August 1991 (P in millions)]

2.6.5 Damage to food crops

The consolidated report on the damages on agricultural production due to El Niño phenomenon in 1998 revealed a total of 1.05 million hectares affected and valued at PhP7.767 billion ([Chart 2.6.1]). By island group, Luzon has the greatest damage in extent. In value terms, damage is greatest in Mindanao.

[Chart 2.6.1: Reported damages on agricultural production due to El Niño phenomenon]

2.6.6 Basic policy options/guidelines to mitigate impact of natural calamities

  1. Planning agencies and LGUs should further link/integrate disaster prevention and mitigation into national and regional physical framework plan and comprehensive land use plans.
  2. A multi-hazard mitigation and preparedness plan should be formulated.
  3. The strict implementation of a zoning regulation designed and based on the knowledge of the potential and vulnerability to natural disasters of each place in the locality should be undertaken and monitored accordingly.
  4. It should be the policy of the state to give full priority to disaster preparedness management, hence, agencies involved in the prediction/warning, monitoring, and response system should be adequately supported to:

  5. There should be promotion of indigenous or community-based disaster prevention and mitigation preparedness.
  6. The community disaster preparedness plan should preferably be a participatory community undertaking.
  7. Low cost and appropriate mitigation technologies such as mangroves, tree lines and earth dikes should be adopted. Weather/climate and water-related hazards

  1. Adopt and implement strategic and operational plan to address the ill-effects of El Niño/ La Niña phenomena and other extreme climatic events. Earth-quake-induced hazards

  1. Strict implementation and adherence to existing laws, policies, rules and regulations on disaster management.
  2. Revise the building code to include policies on :

-Provision of easements in areas traversed by active faults:

-Evaluation of liquefaction potential of site

    1. Protect the inhabitants on coastal areas to tsunamis by encouraging permanent human settlements to locate in areas of higher elevations.
    2. Prohibit, control or regulate use of high danger areas.
    3. Upgrade capability-infrastructure and manpower- of monitoring-forecasting-warning agencies.
    4. Strengthen disaster response machinery particularly at the local levels. Volcanic hazards

  1. The Permanent Danger Zones should be declared as high risk areas and no settlements should be allowed within these zones. These zones could be considered for "limited" tourism and scientific research use only.
  2. Consider site protection measures such as engineering interventions against lahars.

2.6 > 2.

2.7  Land cover

Land cover is the physical attributes of the land. It is the natural or planted vegetation, natural bare ground or human constructions that cover the earth’s surface.

The actual land cover has been subdivided into five main categories, i.e. (1) agricultural land, (ii) grass/shrubland, (iii) woodland, (iv) wetlands and (v) miscellaneous lands. The categories agriculture land, grass/shrubland and woodland occur each in about 30% of the total percent of the Philippines. [Table 2.7.1] presents the distribution of these main land cover types.

[Table and Chart 2.7.1: Distribution of land cover types, 1991]

2.7 > 2.

2.8  Land use

Land use is the manner of utilization of land, including its allocation, development and management. [Table 2.8.1] shows SPOT satellite-generated statistics of land uses classified by broad category. Of the country’s total land area, forest land has the highest share of 65 percent, as of 1988. Agricultural land has about 33 percent, while those used for inland fisheries, settlements and open land account for 2, 0.44 and 0.04 percent, respectively. Mining and quarrying has the least with only 0.03 percent.

[Table and Chart 2.8.1: Existing Land Use, By Broad Category, 1987]

Land use intensity trends

Apparently, there is an increase in agricultural land use starting from mid-1980 to early 1990 as shown in[Chart 2.8.2]. In terms of cropland, [Chart 2.8.3] presents that cereals cover the largest area throughout 1984 to 1994. Forestry, on the other hand, has somewhat stabilized starting from 1987 to 1996 ([Chart 2.8.4]). This could be attributed to government policies concerning log ban. As for land utilized for grazing, available data show these areas with lease agreements and permits. In [Chart 2.8.5], these grazing lands were at its highest in the year 1986 to 1990. From 1991 onwards, the trend is decreasing. Regarding space requirements for settlements, it will be worthwhile to note that between 1995 and 2030, it is around 500,000 hectares ([Table 2.8.2])

[Chart 2.8.2 to 2.8.5: Land Use Trends]

Chart 2.8.2: Agricultural Land Use Trends (in thousand hectares), 1984-1994
Chart 2.8.3: Cropland Area (in thousand hectares), 1984-1994
Chart 2.8.4: Forest Land Use Trends (in thousand hectares), 1976-1996
Chart 2.8.5: Grazing lands (with lease agreements and permits), 1984-1997

[Table 2.8.2: Summary of Space Requirements for Settlements (hectares), 1995-2030]

2.8 > 2.

2.9  Land use change

The change with time in the distribution of land by land use are represented by one of the following five (5) classes:

-2 : area coverage is rapidly decreasing, i.e. >2% per year
-1 : area coverage is decreasing in size, i.e. 0-2% per year
 0 : area coverage remains stable
 1 : area coverage is increasing in size, i.e. 0-2% per year
 2 : area coverage is rapidly increasing in size, i.e. >2% per year

[Table 2.9.1: Land Use Change and Areal Trend (1950-1990)]


2.9 > 2.

2.10  Land Productivity

Soil productivity (Average Production Value)

Soil productivity, expressed in average production value in 1993, is highest for sugarcane followed by cassava then rice and corn ([Table 2.10.1]). Nonetheless, farmers benefited more from growing of cassava than rice, sugarcane or corn considering the profit-cost ratio. Over time, rice and corn growing has shown a declining trend in profitability.

[Table 2.10.1: Average Production Value for Selected Crops, Philippines, 1993, 1995 & 1997]

Productivity trend

Rough indication of trends in productivity (change with time in the rate of growth of yield per hectare) is presented here as follows:

 1 : increasing outputs
 0 : no change in outputs
-1 : decreasing outputs

[Table 2.10.2: Areal and productivity trends of major crops (1990-1996)]

2.10 > 2.

2.11  Environmental Impact of land uses

Institutions in charge of land resources assessment, land development and land use planning: mandates of the most important institutions

  1. The Bureau of Soils and Water Management,
    Department of Agriculture
    Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City

  2. Environmental Management Bureau
    Department of Environment and Natural Resources
    Visayas Avenue, Diliman, QuezonCity

2.11 > 2.

3.   Water Resources (AQUASTAT)

3.1  Hydrography

3.2  Irrigation and drainage

3. > top

3.1  Hydrography

[Link 3.1.1: AQUASTAT Country profile of Philippines]

Water Resources

The Philippines has abundant water resources having endowed with 59 natural lakes and 421 river basins with drainage areas ranging from 40 to 25,649 km2 ([Table 3.1.1]). From among the principal river basins, 18 were identified as major river basins with drainage areas of at least 1,400 km2 ([Table 3.1.2]). With an average annual rainfall of 2,400 mm, the mean annual run-off is estimated at about 257,000 million cubic meters (MCM) 90% of time [Table 3.1.3]).

The country is also underlain by extensive groundwater reservoir covering approximately 50,000 km2 with an estimated storage capacity of about 251,100 MCM ([Table 3.1.4]).

The allocation and appropriation of the country’s water resources is vested to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB). It is the central regulatory and coordinating body for the proper utilization, development, conservation, and protection of the country’s water resources. The water sector follows the provision of the Philippine Water Code in allocating water. The code establishes the basic principles and framework relating to appropriation, control and conservation of water to achieve their optimum development and rational utilization.

[Table 3.1.1: Distribution of River Basin Areas]

[Table 3.1.2: Major River Basins in the Philippines]

[Table 3.1.3: Available Water Supply of Natural Run-Off at Various Percent Dependability]

[Table 3.1.4: Estimated Water Storage Capacity of Philippine Groundwater Resources]

Water use and demand situation

Use of water can either be consumptive or non-consumptive. Consumptive uses include domestic, commercial and industrial water supply and irrigation while non-consumptive uses include hydropower generation, recreational, environmental and to some extent flood control. Although the latter uses are non-consumptive, they can change the downstream streamflow pattern and the availability of water for downstream users.

[Chart 3.1.1] indicates that the Philippines has adequate water supply to meet the projected demand. It could be noted that surface water alone from rivers and streams available 90% of the time, will be sufficient to meet the water requirement s of the country even beyond the year 2000. [Chart 3.1.2] shows the projected change in water demand between 1975 and 2000 among the major water users. It is important to note that the share of agriculture is the biggest followed by domestic and industrial users.

[Chart 3.1.1: National water resouces picture]

[Chart 3.1.2: The change of sectoral water demand]

3.1 > 3.

3.2  Irrigation and drainage

3.2.1 Irrigation history in the Philippines
3.2.2 Institutions in charge with water resources assessment and development of irrigation systems
3.2.3 Present status of irrigation development
3.2.4 Cost of irrigation development
3.2.5 Pressurized irrigation systems in the Philippines
3.2.6 Constraints to irrigation development
3.2.7 Specific policy guidelines on land and water utilization and management

3.2.1 Irrigation history in the Philippines

Pre-Spanish Era:

Spanish Period:

American Regime (1990-1936):

Commonwealth and Japanese Regime (1937-1946)

Early Independence Period (1947-1965):

Expansion Period (1966 onward):

3.2.2 Institutions in charge with water resources assessment and development of irrigation systems

1. National Water Resources Board (NWRB)


To regulate and coordinate water resources related development activities of most infrastructure agencies and local government units.

NWRB also:

2. National Irrigation Administration (NIA)


To develop water resources for irrigation and provide corollary physical and technical services in line with the development program of the national government. NIA is entrusted with the task of developing, operating and maintaining irrigation systems all over the country.

3. Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM)


4. Local Government Units (LGUs)

LGU will be involved in the development of irrigation as embodied in Republic Act No. 8435, otherwise known as Agriculture and Fishery Modernization Act of 1997 (AFMA). The law states that the Department of Agriculture (DA) shall, within 5 years from the effectivity of this Act, devolve the planning, design, and management of communal irrigation systems (CISs) to the LGUs. The budget for the development , construction, operation and maintenance of CIS and other types of irrigation systems shall be prepared and coursed to the LGUs.

3.2.3 Present status of irrigation development

As of May 31, 1999, NIA estimated that there about 1.339 M ha served by national, communal and private irrigation systems. These exclude 0.119 M ha being served by small-scale irrigation projects (SSIP) established, primarily for soil and water conservation, by DA-BSWM ([Chart 3.2.1]). This means that about 1.458 M ha are provided with irrigation facilities out of the 3.126 M ha potential irrigable area ([Chart 3.2.2]). [Chart 3.2.3 and 3.2.4] show the distribution of service area by different modes of irrigation as established by NIA and DA-BSWM, respectively.

Based on NIA data for the last 10 years, there was an increasing trend in the country’s irrigation development from 1980-1993 ([Chart 3.2.5]) and a sudden decline in 1994. This threshold was a result of field validation, which revealed that there were irrigation facilities that need repair and rehabilitation and irrigation service areas that have been converted to other uses.

[Chart 3.2.1 to 3.2.5: Extent of irrigated area by irrigation scale in the Philippines]

Chart 3.2.1: Extent of irrigated area by irrigation scale in the Philippines
Chart 3.2.2: Extent of irrigated area in the Philippines
Chart 3.2.3: Distribution of service area by type of irrigation system
Chart 3.2.4: Distribution of service area by type of small scale irrigation projects
Chart 3.2.5: Philippine irrigation development cumulative

3.2.4 Cost of irrigation development

[Table 3.2.1] shows the NIA and DA-BSWM estimates of constructing new and rehabilitating existing irrigation systems. As indicated in the same table, the DA-BSWM is working on smaller systems so that its cost estimates are relatively lower than that of NIA. The multi-purpose nature of NIA-implemented projects is also another reason of having a higher investment cost per hectare of service area. In case of shallow tubewells (STW), the difference in cost between the NIA-implemented and DA-BSWM implemented STWs lies on the differences in technology being adopted (i.e., type of materials, drilling techniques, and well development).

[Table 3.2.1: Cost of Irrigation Development per Hectare of Service Area for Different Modes of Irrigation]

3.2.5 Pressurized irrigation systems in the Philippines

Most irrigation systems in the Philippines were designed to irrigate rice through network of open canals, canal structures and control facilities. On the other hand, pressurized irrigation systems (e.g. sprinkler, micro-sprinkler and drip systems) have been adopted and used primarily to irrigate high value crops such as vegetables, ornamentals, citrus, banana, coffee, sugarcane, fruit trees, among others and are widely used for greenhouses.

[Table 3.2.2] indicates the area irrigated by pressurized irrigation systems in the three major islands of the country. The data in the table was provided by Netafim Philippines and therefore exclude irrigation facilities from other companies. Mindanao topped the use of pressurized irrigation system. This is due to the wide area planted to high value crops in the island, predominantly bananas and mango. Luzon, likewise, use the system to irrigate about 7,259 ha, planted to high value crops, almost half of the irrigated area in Mindanao. Visayas regions use the system the least among the regions.

[Table 3.2.2: Irrigated Area by Pressurized Irrigation System in Major Island Groups]

3.2.6 Constraints to irrigation development

  1. Environmental Degradation and Natural Calamities. The denudation of watersheds due to uncontrolled logging and shifting cultivation has affected the quantity and quality of water for irrigation while natural calamities such as typhoons, floods and drought have severely affected the functionality of the existing systems.
  2. Competing Use of Land and Water. Agricultural lands available for irrigation development is decreasing. On the other hand, when the water is limited, priority is given to domestic use so that water supply for irrigation is considerably reduced.
  3. Increased Cost of Irrigation Development. As easy-to-develop and accessible areas are being prioritized, areas farther from the source of water and having steeper slopes are now being considered, which means an increasing trend in the cost of irrigation development.
  4. Rapid Deterioration of Existing Irrigation Systems. The gap between service areas (i.e., areas with irrigation facilities) and irrigated areas continuos to widen due to inadequate maintenance and untimely repairs of damaged structures. This particularly true in Communal Irrigation Systems (CIS) where Irrigators Association cannot cope with proper maintenance practices.
  5. Inadequate funding and support services to improve the performance of existing irrigation system.
  6. Absence of significant R and D efforts in support to irrigation development and irrigation management research.
  7. Peace and order situation in some areas. There are cases where irrigation projects cannot be implemented or completed due to worsening peace and other situation in the area.

3.2.7 Specific policy guidelines on land and water utilization and management

In responding to the fundamental laws contained in the Constitution, the government promulgated supportive legislation. Such legislations describe and prescribe the specific uses for land and water resources. Following are the Republic Acts and Presidential Decrees currently enforced by the respective sectors relative to land and water utilization and management.

  1. R.A. No. 6657:
    comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law provides that after the lapse five years from its award, when the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes, or the locality has become urbanized and the land will have a greater economic value for residential, commercial or industrial purposes, the Department of Agrarian Reform may authorize the reclassification or conversion and deposition of the land.

  2. R.A. no. 7160:
    Local Government Code of 1991 states that a city or municipality may classify agricultural lands provided that there exists an approved zoning ordinance implementing its comprehensive land use plan and provided that it is within the limits prescribed thereof. It is further stated that agricultural lands maybe classified if it cease to be economically feasible and sound agricultural purposes or when the land shall have substantially greater economic values for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. Agricultural lands may be reclassified in excess of the limits for food production, human settlements, ecological considerations, and other relevant factors in the city or municipality. Cities and municipalities are also mandated to prepare and update their respective comprehensive land use plans enacted through zoning ordinances which shall be the basis for use of their resources and reclassification of agricultural lands.

  3. R.A. 8435:
    Agricultural Fisheries and Modernization Act of 1997 provides the delineation of Strategic Agriculture and Fisheries Development Zones (SAFDZ) within the Network of Protected Areas for Agriculture and Agro-industrial Development (NPAAAD) to ensure that lands are efficiently and sustainably utilized for food and non-food production and agro-industrialization.

  4. R.A No. 8550:
    The Philippine Fishery Code of 1998 provides for the achievement of food security as the overriding consideration in the utilization, management, development, conservation and protection of fishery resources and ensure the rational and sustainable management and conservation of the fishery and aquatic resources in the Philippine waters including the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and in adjacent high waters.

  5. R.A. No. 7586:
    National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992 recognizes the critical importance of protecting and maintaining the natural biological and physical diversities of the environment notably on areas with biologically unique features to sustain human life and development, as well as plant and animal life. In this regard, the State adopts the policy to establish a comprehensive system of integrated protected areas within the classification of national park as provided for by the Constitution for the purpose of securing perpetual existence of all native plants and animals for the present and future generations.

  6. R.A. No. 8371:
    Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 provides that the rights of indigenous cultural communities/indigenous people (ICCs/IPs) to their ancestral domains to ensure their economic, social, and cultural well being shall be protected and the applicability of customary laws governing property rights or relations in determining ownership and extent of ancestral domain shall be recognized by the State. Specifically, the ICCs/IPs shall have the right to develop, control and use lands and territories traditionally occupied, owned or used; to manage and conserve natural resources within the territories; benefit and share the profits from allocation and utilization of the natural resources found therein; and negotiate the terms and conditions for the exploration of natural resources among others.

  7. P.D. 705:
    Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines provides that the multiple uses of forestlands shall be oriented to the development and progress requirements of the country, the advancement of science and technology and the public welfare. The protection, development and rehabilitation of forestlands shall be emphasized so as to ensure their continuity in productive condition.

  8. P.D. 1067:
    1976 Water Code of the Philippines adopts a basic law governing the ownership, appropriation, utilization, exploitation, development, conservation and protection of water resources and rights to land thereto. It provides that any watershed or any area of land adjacent to any surface water or overlaying any ground water may be declared as protected area. Rules and regulations may be promulgated to prohibit or control such activities by the owners or occupants thereof within the protected area which may damage or cause the deterioration of the surface water or groundwater or interfere with the investigation, use, control, protection, management or administrative of such waters.

  9. R.A. No. 7942:
    Philippine Mining Act of 1992 provides that all mineral resources in public and private lands within the territory and exclusive economic zone of the country are owned by the State. It shall be the responsibility of the State to promote their rational exploration, development, utilization and conservation through the combined efforts of government and private sector in order to enhance rational growth in a way that effectively safeguards the environment and protect the rights of affected communities.

  10. R.A. 7638:
    Department of Energy Act of 1992 provides that the State shall ensure a continuous, adequate, and economic supply of energy with the end in view of ultimately achieving self-reliance in the country’s energy requirements through the integrated and intensive exploration, production, management and development of the country’s growth and economic development and taking into consideration and active participation of the private sector in the various areas of energy resource developments.

  11. R.A. No. 7916:
    The Special Economic Zone Act of 1995 provides that the State shall actively encourage, promote, induce, and accelerate a sound and balanced industrial, economic and social development of the country in order to provide jobs to the people especially those in rural areas, increase their productivity and their individual and family income, and thereby improve the level and quality of their living conditions through the establishment of special economic zones in suitable and strategic locations in the country and through measures that shall effectively attract legitimate and productive foreign investment.

  12. R.A. No. 7279:
    Urban Development Housing Act of 1992 provides for the rational use and development of urban land to bring about; 1) equitable utilization of residential lands in urban and urbanizable areas; 2) optimization of the use and productivity of land and urban resources; 3) development of urban areas conducive to commercial and industrial activities; 4) reduction in urban dysfunction, particularly those that adversely affect public health, safety and ecology; and 5) access to land and housing by the underprivileged and homeless citizens.

  13. P.D. 1586:
    Environmental Impact Statements provides the establishment and institutionalization of a system whereby the exigencies of socio-economic undertakings can be reconciled with the requirements of environmental quality. It also caused for the declaration of certain projects, undertakings or areas in the country as environmentally critical. For this purpose, the proper land and water use pattern for the areas of said critical projects shall be prepared.

[Map 3.2.1: Irrigated Areas of the Philippines]

3.2 > 3.

4.   Plant nutrient resources

4.1  Plant nutrient use and nutrient balance

4.2  Fertilizer production and costs

4. > top

4.1  Plant nutrient use and nutrient balance

Use of plant nutrients

[Table 4.1.1] shows the fertilizer type locally produced and imported. Importation of fertilizer is due to the present demands of fertilizer particularly on the major nutrients. Locally, micronutrient containing fertilizer has not been produced in the Philippines, except for commercially produced organic fertilizers containing traces of these micronutrients, hence the importation of these micronutrient containing fertilizers.

Figure L.1.1 shows the total plant nutrient usage (N, P, K) in the Philippines. Quite obviously, there is an increasing usage of N nutrient containing fertilizers resulting to an apparent imbalance of fertilizer exemplified by an increasing ratio between N and P nutrient uses (see [Table 4.1.2]). This leads to soil chemical degradation resulting to productive capacity of the soil, thus low crop yield.

The promotion of the Balance Fertilization Strategy (BFS) of the Department of Agriculture a government intervention to combat further land degradation, enhanced the soil fertility. Nutrient availability improved over time particularly with P and Zn with continuous use of combined organic and inorganic fertilizers.

The actual amount of mineral fertilizer usage in the country is shown in [Table 4.1.3]. Organic fertilizers however, as reported in 1996 by the Organic Fertilizers Association (OFERMANA) that 11,823 MT production and sales of 10,363 MT of commercial organic fertilizers based on seven out of 15 bonafide members of the association.

In 1997-98, a total of 272 hectares under the Balanced Fertilization Strategy of the Department of Agriculture use 5 to 6 bags of commercial organic fertilizers. Aggregate use for this period amounted to 1,360 to 1,362 bags of commercial organic fertilizers.

[Table 4.1.1: Imported and Locally Produced Types of Plant Nutrients]

[Chart 4.1.1: Total plant nutriet usage of the Philippines]

[Table 4.1.2: Tons Nutrients Usage in the Philippines]

[Table 4.1.3: Kind And Amount Of Fertilizer Usage In The Philippines (Metric Tons), 1980-1998]

Average fertilizer usage per hectare

The amount of fertilizer applied to rice farm is presented in [Table 4.1.4] and [Chart 4.1.2] FAO (1996) cited BAS data comparing the use of fertilizer in irrigated and rainfed rice farms. The former use 65, 15, 9 or a total of 89 kg/ha NPK while the latter consumed 52, 11, 6 or a total of 69 kg/ha NPK yielding 3.38 and 2.11 mt/ha, respectively, in 1994.

In the case of corn, the quantity of fertilizer applied from 1985 to 1997 is shown in [Chart 4.1.3]. In 1997, corn farms were applied an average of 201 kg/ha of fertilizer. In the comparison made by FAO, white corn requires less fertilizer than white corn. In 1993, the former use 48, 11, 6 or a total of 65 kg/ha NPK while the latter use 77, 18, 9 or a total of 104 kg/ha NPK yielding 1.25 and 2.07 mt/ha.

Sugarcane has high fertilizer requirement according to the same source. It cited a total of 190 to 520 kg/ha NPK in Luzon and Visayas/Mindanao, respectively.

[Table 4.1.4: Actual Amount of Fertilizers Applied by Crops in Farmer’s Field]

[Chart 4.1.2: Average annual fertilizer usage per hectare for rice, by fertilizer type, 1988-1991]

[Chart 4.1.3: Average annual fertilizer usage per hectare for corn, by fertilizer type, 1989-1997]

Impact of chemicals on the environment

[Chart 4.1.4] shows the CO2 equivalent to agricultural activities contributing to about 17% of the Philippine Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHG), ([Chart 4.1.5]). Rice paddy cultivation, enteric fermentation, waste management of livestock, agricultural waste and savannah burning and agricultural soils are sources of greenhouses gases, particulalry methane.

The big contribution of rice cultivation to CO2 emission is due to the production of methane in anaerobic decomposition of organic matter and escapes to the atmosphere primarily through the rice plants. Without the rice plants, the flooded soils release much less methane. The high methane release is made possible because if the unique structure of the rice plants. Upland rice, on the other hand, does not emit significant quantities of methane and are assumed to have no emission of methane.

Agricultural soils accounted 21.7% of the total CO2 emission from Agriculture in the form of N2O. Sources include the application of fertilizers, both organic and inorganic, which emit N2O. Other N2O sources are leguminous crops, decay of crop residues and indirect emissions such as volatillization and subsequent atmospheric deposition of NH3 and Nox.

[Chart 4.1.6] shows the extent of land degradation contributors where about 3.4 % is contributed by the loss of nutrients due and organic matter.

[Chart 4.1.4: CO2 equivalent emission in Philippines]

[Chart 4.1.5: Greenhouse gas emmisions]

[Chart 4.1.6: Extent of the dominant types of land degradation showing the loss of soil nutrients contributions]

4.1 > 4.

4.2  Fertilizer production and costs

Fertilizer prices

The world, import and retail prices of fertilizers by grade are presented in [Chart 4.2.1]. The imported fertilizers include urea, ammonium sulfate, complete, ammonium phosphate, potassium chloride and di-ammonium phosphate. Since 1985, their world prices were exceptionally low in 1993. Retail prices in the country did not necessarily exhibit the same trend as the world prices.

As to the case of commercial organic fertilizers, price ranged from PhP 155 to 250/50 kg bag (FOB factory), as cited by the Organic Fertilizers Association (OFERMANA).

[Chart 4.2.1: Prices of fertilizer by type]

4.2 > 4.

5.   Hot spots

5.0  Overview: constraints to sustainable agriculture

5.1  Land-related constraints

5.2  Water-related constraints

5.3  Plant nutrition-related constraints

5.4  other constraints

5. > top

5.0  Overview: constraints to sustainable agriculture

flash points or issues of concern

1 Archipelagic character

The country’s archipelagic character has created topographic variations among its many islands. These variations pose constraints to economic integration and access to resources. The mobility of the people and the exchange of goods are likewise limited.

2. Vulnerability to natural hazards

Natural hazards such as extreme climatic events like tropical cyclones, floods and droughts, earthquakes, typhoon, and volcanic eruptions hinder the growth and development of the country. The lands beset by these hazards render them unique and difficult to manage at the same time.

3. Pressures of increasing population

The country’s population is rapidly increasing at a growth rate of 2.3 per annum. Given such rate, the population is expected to double in about 30 years. The population density is now placed at 203 persons per km2. This could mean the onset of related problems such as: increasing demand on land, land resources, services, infrastructure facilities and utilities; and, environmental degradation.

4. Indiscriminate conversion of agricultural lands

Indiscriminate conversions encroach on lands otherwise devoted to crop and food production. The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law allows for the change of the use of the land from agricultural to non-agricultural purposes but only upon the approval of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). Indiscriminate conversions cover instances of conversion done without clearance from DAR. Another cause of conversion is the absence of a rational zoning ordinance, taking into account the locality’s socio-demographic needs, a balanced agro-industrial plan, and the presence of legitimate farmer claimants. Illegal conversions, on the other hand, can not be accounted for mainly because proving such entails a long process of litigation.

5. Absence of a national land use policy

The problem of inefficiency and improper utilization of land has been attributed to the absence of a rational land use plan, at the national and local levels, that would take into account the different needs for land-for agriculture, housing, biodiversity and industricalization- and demarcating lands for each use. The non-delineation of lands has led to the reversals in land reform, displacements of communities, and the encroachment of industries and settlements into ecologically critical areas. Moreover, government agencies bestowed with the authority to manage land have little guide on how to perform their roles in a complementary and consistent manner.

6. Undelineated forest lands

The Philippines’ forestlands have yet to be clearly delineated and demarcated in many parts of the country. The difficulty of establishing the boundary between alienable and disposable lands and forestlands further complicates the enforcement of land use laws and the monitoring of land use changes. As a result, forestlands are often subjected to rampant illegal logging encroachment of upland dwellers and other activities that pose danger on these resources. This concern has to be addressed in the implementation of the regional forestry master plan. An intensive survey and mapping effort should be launched to lay the groundwork for delineating forest lines.

7. Outdated land use plans and poor implementation of zoning ordinances

The problem on inefficiency and improper utilization of lands, such as incompatible land uses, are partly attributed to outdated land use plans and the non-observance of zoning ordinances at the local level. Under the Local Government Code of 1991, Local Government Units (LGUs) were mandated to continuously prepare and update their comprehensive land use plans (CLUPs), and enact these through zoning ordinances as bases for their development directions. Out of the 1,664 municipalities and cities in the country, about 1, 183 LGUs or 71% were reported to have land use plans (HLRB, 1998). Notwithstanding this big number, many LGUs proceed with their development initiatives without due consideration on the level of their available resources, much more on the complementation of several development activities they simultaneously undertake in their respective localities. Such conditions often result to low land productivity, squatting, and the location of industries and settlements within ecologically critical areas.

8. Poor enforcement of land use policies and monitoring of land use conversion

The lack of political will of the people in power coupled with the absence of police power of concerned government agencies in enforcing land use and land conversion laws have encouraged indiscriminate conversion of agricultural lands. A system of apprehending and prosecuting illegal conversion has yet to eradicate this practice.

9. Growing urban centers

The rapid growth of urban centers created insufficiency in the provision of services and facilities that would cater to the demands of the population. Currently, services and facilities are still concentrated in Metropolitan Manila which is the country’s prime city. Considering this problem, there is a need to come up with strategies for urban expansion. The challenge for growing urban centers is how to divert the concentration in Metro Manila into their own areas while at the same time, promoting their own development.

10. Increasing role of LGUs in land use

Devolution transferred meaningful authorities and resources from the national government to the local governments. It enables local communities and their officials to plan and implement the development of their localities consistent with national development goals. The increasing roles of LGUs in the management of land resources cannot be ignored. Under the LGC, cities and municipalities were given the authority to reclassify agricultural lands, and mandated to prepare and update their respective CLUPs and enact these through zoning ordinances which will be the bases of their development directions. Considering the functions devolved to the LGUs, there is a need to provide appropriate guidelines emanating from the national trust to achieve an efficient and rational land allocation and utilization for the country.

11. Lack of institutional linkages

Fragmented development of land and other physical resources can be attributed to the numerous government agencies or departments bestowed with the authority to manage such. There is no clear delineation of the respective functions of these agencies, which is made worse by lack of coordination among them as they implement their mandates. The challenge is how to effectively and efficiently orchestrate the different initiatives on the management and development of land and other physical resources.

5.0 > 5.

5.1  Land-related constraints

5.1.1 Problem soils
5.1.2 Soil erosion

Problem soils

1. Steep slopes

These are the land areas that are steeply dissected with slopes top more that 30%. They are distributed in the country by slope groups as follows:

  1. 30-50% slope- 6,293,362 ha
  2. 50-up slope- 2,609,900 ha

The steep slopes extend to 29.68% ha

2. Poor drainage

Land areas which are water logged/ flooded for a significant part of the year. These lands are associated with the Fluvaquents (12,800 ha) and Hydraquents (78,080 ha) that are integrading with the Tropaquents, or about 0.30% of the total land area.

3. Coarse textures

Land areas which have coarse texture having less than 18% clay and more than 65% sand, or have gravel stones, boulders or rock outcrops in the surface layers or at the surface.

These soils belong to the Tropopsamments along with the other skeletal phases of other great soil groups that extend to about 482,849 ha or about 1.61% of the total land area.

4. Heavy cracking clays

Land areas which have 30% or more clay to at least 50 cm from the surface after the upper 20 cm of soil are mixed, cracks at least 1 cm wide at 50 cm depth at some period in most years (unless irrigated), and high bulk density between the cracks.

These are the Vertisols classified as Uderts and Usterts that extend to a total land area of about 765,388 ha or about 2.6% of the total land area.

5. Severe fertility limitations

Land areas which to a greater or lesser degree, exhibit deficiencies in major secondary and minor plant nutrients when cultivated. An inventory of soil nutrient deficiency is shown in [Table 5.1.1].

These marginal lands belong to the Ultisols which are normally formed on undulating to rolling plateau, hills and mountain areas that extend to about 12,067,994 ha and the Oxisols which are relatively extensive in Palawan (26,320 ha). They are also found in other parts of the country covering about 149,000 ha or about 0.62% of the total land area .

[Table 5.1.2] presents the soil fertility distribution by pedo-ecological zone.

6. Land with saline/sodic soil limitations

Almost all saline/sodic soils in the Philippines are coastal in nature. They roughly sum up to as much as 400,000 ha or about 1.33% of the total land area.

7. Land with acid sulphate limitations

Land areas with soils in which the sulphidic materials have accumulated under permanently saturated and generally brackish water conditions. Upon drainage, the sulphides oxidize to form sulphuric acids, and the pH which is around neutral prior to drainage, drops below 3.5.

These are the Sulfic Tropoquepts that occupy about 7,000 ha and the Sulfaquents covering an area of 20,000 ha (Briones, 1982) or about 0.09% of the total land area.

8. Peatland

Land areas in which more than half of the upper 80 cm is composed of organic materials that is saturated with water for long periods of time or are artificially drained.

These are the Histosols that are mainly the Tropofibrist. Their extent is estimated to be about 15,000 ha or about 0.05% of the total land area.

9. Mine tailings polluted/silted soils

Mine wastes find their way into croplands where acidity increases with deposits of undesirable salts and heavy metals such as Fe, Mn, Al, Ni, sulfides and dissolved solids. These alter the physico-chemical condition of the soils resulting to flocculation and soil cementation that becomes unfit for normal crop growth and development. The distribution is as follows:

  1. Bued Communal Irrigation System 1,193 ha
  2. Amburayan River Irrigation System 4,430 ha
  3. Agno River Irrigation System 16,600 ha

TOTAL 22,223 ha

The mine-silted soils are about 0.07% of the total land area.

Considering the small land area of the country, the above figures that are relatively small compared with other countries are significant to Philippine agriculture. The extent of problem soils in the Philippines is summarized in [Table 5.1.3].

[Table 5.1.1: Soil nutrient deficiencies inventory]

[Table 5.1.2: Soil Fertility Distribution by Pedo-ecological Zone]

[Table 5.1.3: Extent of Problem Soils in the Philippines]

Soil erosion

The major agent of erosion in the Philippines is water especially during heavy rainfall which results in flooding. During erosion, the topsoil and everything else on the land surface within the packed energy of the flowing water is carried away.

One of the most common forms of land degradation, which greatly affects the population and the environment, is soil erosion. Erosion results in the loss of land resources, aside from disrupting land uses and public utilities. It is a factor that must always be taken into account alongside its effects on potential productivity in case any decision on long-term land use or on the management of selected bodies of water or public utilities has to be made. Various degrees of erosion, ranging from moderate to severe, are presented in details in Table N.2.4. .

The EO or the "No Apparent Erosion" class occurs typically in broad alluvial plains, minor alluvial plains, residual terraces, plateaus, footslope and plains. This class accounts for almost 24% of the country’s soil erosion area and is most prevalent in Region III wherein approximately 51% of its area falls under this class.

The main features of E1 or the "Slight Erosion" class include the formation of incipient erosion, mainly sheet and rills and tiny incisions along trails and creeks. Regions IV, V and VII have more than 35% of their respective areas under this class.

E2 or "Moderate Erosion" class covers 8,446 thousand ha., or about 28%, of the country’s soil erosion area. Erosion features under this class include the occurrence of a considerable number of well-defined rills and gullies along waterways, and slope breaks on cultivated land.

The E3 or the "Severe Erosion" class, in general, is visible on steep, hilly or mountainous areas with slopes above 30%. Areas devastated by excessive logging and deforested by kaingeros are particularly affected. The soil of this class is shallow and dry due to scouring and by the impact of heavy rainfall to the soil. However, this erosion class can cause minimal damage compared to other erosion classes due to the massive erosion controls like reforestation.

Figure N.2.1 and Table N.2.4 present the area distribution of erosion classes by major island groups while Figure N.2.2 shows the average rates of erosion by region.

Slight erosion Formation f incipient erosion, mainly sheet and rills and tiny incision along trails and creeks (1 rill/100 m); no gully

Moderate erosion Occurrence of a considerable number of well-defined rills and gullies along waterways and slope breaks on cultivated land (1-4 rills/100 m; 24 gullies/100 m)

Severe erosion Dominance of rock outcrops and 80% of parent materials exposed with patches of thin veneer of grass; an intensity of 74 gullies/100 m distance across slope and landslides providing special features around steep slopes

Unclassified erosion Quarry, river wash and open pit mines

le upland farming throughout Asia. It is im Mthe southern Philippines. Cruz (1997) reported how SALT was used extensively by farmers in the Upper Pulangui watershed in Mindanao to prolong the life of a large hydroelectric project. Outside this country, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, among others, have significant SALT programs.

[Chart 5.1.1: Percent distribution of erosion classes in the Philippines 1993]

[Table 5.1.4: Area Distribution of Erosion Classes by Island Grouping, 1993 (million hectares)]

[Table 5.1.5: Soil Erosion Susceptibility, by Region: 1990 (in thousand hectare)]

[Table 5.1.6: Dominant Types of Land Degradation]

5.1 > 5.

5.2  Water-related constraints

Conflicts related to use of water resources

Agriculture is the highest water users with 79% share of the total annual demand followed by domestic and industrial users with 11% and 10% shares, respectively.

Conflicts may arise during episode of drought as priority is given to domestic water users over agricultural water users. For instance, during the 1998 El Nino episode, the water allocation from Angat Dam Reservoir for 27,000 hectare farmlands in the province of Bulacan was cut-off to conserve water for future use in Metro Manila

Inadequate use of water resources

As much as 60% of water inputted at the head gate or intake works of irrigation and/or water supply systems go to waste (World Bank, NIA, and NWRB, 1994).

The low water use efficiency is due to the interactive effects of various physical, technical, institutional, and socio-economic factors.

Low level of public awareness on the efficient use and conservation of water.

Irrigation is always associated with rice production which is water intensive.

5.2 > 5.

5.3  Plant Nutrition-related constraints

5.3 > 5.

5.4  Other constraints

5.4 > 5.

6.   Bright spots

6.0  Overview: society's response to ameliorate the situation

6.1  Land-related response indicators

6.2  Water-related response indicators

6.3  Plant nutrition-related response indicators

6.4  Other response indicators

6. > top

6.0  Overview: society's response to ameliorate the situation

Success story for bright spots

Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (A success story)

The Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC) is a 19 hectare demonstration farm dedicated to the upliftment of upland farmers in the Philippines, as well as the rest of Asia. High emphasis is given to helping upland farmers find sustainable upland farming systems, which fits the farmers' situations and meet their needs. The MBRLC developed technologies and demonstrations, utilizing agroforestry for soil conservation as their base, known as Sloping Agricultural Land Technologies or SALT.

The MBRLC's SALT technologies include:

  1. Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT-1) - this technology utilizes a number of fast growing nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs (NFT) for soil conservaiton in the uplands.
  2. Simple Agro-Livestock Technology (SALT-2) - this technology is a variation of the SALT-1 technology, with a heavy emphasis on animal component.
  3. Sustainable Agroforest Land Technology (SALT-3) - emphasis is placed on small-scale reforestation for the farm family.
  4. Small Agrofruit Livelihood Technology (SALT-4) - majority of agroforestry fruit trees are utilized and supported by N fixing hedgerows for erosion control and soil fertility improvement.

The principles adhered to in developing the SALT technologies were three-fold i.e. control soil erosion, rebuilt/improve soil structure and fertility, and provide adequate food and income for the farm family implementing the system.

In comparison with the traditional upland farming (non-SALT) and SALT system, the SALT system with thickly planted NFT was found to be very effective in controlling erosion. Where the non-SALT system yielded almost 1200 t/ha of soil loss over the 6 years of testing, the SALT farm only yielded 20 t/ha.

In terms of soil fertility status, the SALT system emulates a typical rainforest in many ways. As an example, due to the recycling process in such an ecosystem, plant nutrients tend to accumulate in the top layer of soil strata. Topsoil from long-term SALT plots was found to contain plant nutrients approximately twice that of the non-SALT plots (i.e. 10.3, 6.0 and 1.8 kg/ha vs 5.4, 2.8 and 1.2 kg/ha of N, P, and K, respectively. This has substantially increased the maize yield from 2.0 t/ha to 2.3 t/ha. A study conducted by MBRLC in its surrounding area showed that the average annual maize yields range from 500 to 1000 kg/ha under local systems and conditions. Introduction of nitrogen fixing hedges has enabled farmers to increase the maize yield at least 2t/ha after 2-3 years.

Since its inception in the mid-1970s, SALT has become a widely used conservation model for sustainable upland farming throughout Asia. It is impossible to estimate how many hectares of sloping land in Asia have been "SALT-ed", but it would be in the tens of thousands. In 1996 alone, the MBRLC extension program accounted for over 1000 ha of SALT-based conservation systems in the uplands of the southern Philippines. Cruz (1997) reported how SALT was used extensively by farmers in the Upper Pulangui watershed in Mindanao to prolong the life of a large hydroelectric project. Outside this country, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, among others, have significant SALT programs

6.0 > 6.

6.1  Land-related response indicators

Sound land use/allocation policies

6.1.1 Section 20 of Local Government Code
6.1.2 The Draft National Land Use Act of the Philippines
6.1.3 The Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997 (RA 8435)

6.1.1 Section 20 of Local Government Code

Section 20, Reclassification of Lands, of the Local Government Code of 1991, authorizes the city or municipality through a Sanggunian ordinance to reclassify agricultural lands and provide for the manner of their utilization in the following cases: (1) when the land ceases to be economically feasible and sound for agricultural purposes as determined by the Department of Agriculture or (2) where the land shall have substantially greater economic value for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, as determined by the sanggunian concerned.

6.1.2 The Draft National Land Use Act of the Philippines

For lack of national land use policy, the negotiation for this measure started in 1993 as a National Land Use and finally labeled as "The National Land Use Act". The long legislative processes registered quite clearly the growing concern on the impact of irrational land uses that characterized rapid expansion of urban centers, shopping malls, golf courses, industrial sites, and massive subdivisions. All of these developments occur in prime lands for the production of rice, corn, coconut, and sugarcane, which are all primary agricultural products in the Philippines. Similar bills coming from both Chambers of Congress were filed and consolidated in the now filed as urgent, the National Land Use Act, as follows:

The National Land Use Act prescribed that the state shall pursue policies to guide the allocation, utilization, management and development of the country's land and water resources. Primarily, the act promotes and adopts sets of land use that ensures:

Another salient feature of this Act is the National Land Use and Planning Framework that would define the indicative priorities for land use and allocation. A general land use classification and planning categories are proposed to be adopted as such:

The more relevant land use category to land degradation issue is the balanced approach that identifies suitable locations and activities for the production and protection land uses. The production land use sets aside lands that can be optimally sued for various production purposes such that food production and livelihood opportunities are maximized. Lands set aside for protection land use are left with minimal disturbance and allowed natural bio-diversity to fully attain its recovery and full development.

6.1.3 The Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997 (RA 8435)

The Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997 transforms agriculture from the traditional supplier of food and raw materials to the inclusion in the Department of Agriculture's (DA) mandate the value of adding and processing of agricultural products. The Law was primarily designed to set aside prime agricultural lands that will be tapped to ensure food security and production of high agricultural crops that will improve income in the rural areas.

The bottom line under this current loss of prime agricultural lands and land degradation scenario is for the present Agricultural Modernization Plan to be properly implemented and to spend more on irrigation infrastructures, postharvest and farm-to-market facilities to ensure that food security can be attained with minimal danger to the environment. Parallel efforts must be devoted to create livelihood in the rural areas to enhance the rural saving formation and therefore enhanced their capacity to access in adequate amounts of good quality food.

Some of the urgent related measures to modernize agriculture as specified in this act are as follows:

  1. Mapping of the Network of Areas for Agriculture and Agro-Industrial Development (NAAAD) for all municipalities and cities at an appropriate scale

    BSWM, in coordination with the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) and Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), shall undertake the mapping activity. The NAAAD includes all the areas covered under the Network of Protected Areas for Agriculture and Agro-Industrial Development (NPAAAD) as follows: all irrigated areas; all irrigable land already covered by irrigation projects with firm funding commitments; all alluvial plains highly suitable for agriculture whether irrigated or not; agro-industrial croplands or lands presently planted to industrial crops that support the viability of existing agricultural infrastructure and agro-based enterprises; highland or areas located at an elevation of 500m or above and have the potential for growing semi-temperate and high value crops; all agricultural lands that are ecologically fragile the conversion of which will result in serious environmental degradation, and mangrove areas and fish sanctuaries, and all fishery areas pursuant to the Fisheries Code of 1998.

  2. Delineation of Strategic Agricultural and Fisheries Development Zone (SAFDZ)

    The SAFDZ delineation takes into account the production, processing, investment, marketing, human resources, and environmental protection considerations. These activities are undertaken through participatory planning by DA in consultation with various government agencies, the concerned local government, the organized farmers and fisher folk groups, the private sector and communities.

    Within the SAFDZ are lands that are considered non-negotiable to conversion. These are all irrigable lands already covered by irrigation projects with firm funding commitments, and lands with existing or having the potential for growing high value crops.

    The identified SAFDZ as of September 1999 cover some 9.6M ha accounting to about 35% of the total area of the country.

    The various zones included in the SAFDZ and their distribution are as follows:

Other areas not included in the SAFDZ such as the marginal lands are to be set aside, evaluated, and planned for off-farm and non-farm livelihood activities, other viable land uses, value-adding, agri-related infrastructures, and environmentally-sound and acceptable non-agricultural uses.

The Law provided a section that declares a 5-year moratorium for land use conversion within areas declared as SAFDZ. Only 5% of the area declared as SAFDZ shall be allowed for conversion following the rules on conversion prescribed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

The local government executives and their technical planning and agricultural staff actively participate in the identification of SAFDZs. The process basically involves two major efforts which involve a very strong participatory process: technical negotiations and political negotiations.

a. Technical Negotiation Phase:

b. Political Negotiation Phase (Legitimization Phase)

6.1 > 6.

6.2  Water-related response indicators

Sustainable use of water resources (response indicators)

6.2.1 Small Water Impounding Project (SWIP)
6.2.2 Balanced Fertilization Strategy (BFS)

6.2.1 Small Water Impounding Project (SWIP)

Water impounding dams play a vital role in the conservation, development and management of soil and water resources. During the rainy season, these dams collect and store water as well as surface run-off that would otherwise flow down the slope and contribute to the flooding of the bottom lands. The stored water is used for supplemental irrigation during the dry months thus improving the income of the rainfed upland farmers. These dams provide other income opportunities to the rainfed farmers notably through aquaculture in the reservoir area and livestock production.

One of these water impounding dams is the small water impounding project or SWIP. The SWIP is a small water-scale dam structure constructed across a narrow depression or valley to hold back water and develop a reservoir that will store rainfall during the rainy season for immediate or future use.

The long-term benefits of the SWIP to the environment and ecological stability are flood control, reduced soil erosion/sedimentation and water moisture conservation through agro-forestry development in the watershed.

Implementing Scheme

To ensure the effective and efficient utilization of the SWIP, the BSWM is also piloting the institutional development of farmer-beneficiaries of existing and proposed SWIPs. This is aimed at the establishment of strong and viable farmers’ organization to improve the operation and maintenance of water impounding systems through active farmers’ participation. The farmers are organized into either cooperatives or associations depending on the desire of the farmers and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or with the Cooperative Development Authority. Farmers are given a series of trainings on leadership, values, cooperation, water management, watershed development and crop production technology. It is envisioned that the institutional development will promote active farmers’ participation and will ensure the efficient utilization of the water impounding project for maximum benefits. Presently, there are 339 farmers associations organized, reactivated and continuously being monitored. With these farmers associations, the total service area of SWIPs is 11,491 ha, benefiting 9,933 farmers.

Prospect and Future of SWIP

The potential of small water impoundments in the country is great. The tributaries of the country’s 421 principal rivers offer a lot of rooms for development of such projects. This is also taking into consideration that the country has predominantly rolling to hilly topography such that most depressions and inland valleys in between hills in the upland areas which are ideal sites for SWIPs are yet to be explore and harnessed.

The BSWM devotes valuable efforts in the development of soil and water conservation technologies to maximize the effective use of these resources. SWIP, which is proven technology to augment agricultural production, is a major and regular activity of the BSWM. It has also been a widely acceptable farm management practice to the small farmers.

The project which gained more impetus in 1986 has to date completed the construction of 994 SWIPs and diversion dams providing supplemental irrigation to 46,059 ha.

6.2.2 Balanced Fertilization Strategy (BFS)

Presidential Proclamation No. 1071 "ADOPTION OF THE BALANCED FERTILIZATION STRATEGY UNDER THE GINTONG ANI PROGRAM OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE" was issued on August 27, 1997. This provides the legal and institutional basis for the adoption of a science-based policy on food security and food production researches which focused on the use of cost-efficient and location-specific and proper combinations of organic and inorganic fertilizers to sustain the increases in rice productivity.

Operational Framework

The BFS is guided by an operational framework for the analysis of the potential impacts of organic-based fertilization strategy. This framework operates on the use of visual impacts that will help the farmers and the extension workers understand the qualitative and actual effects of properly designed fertilization program on the rice crops.



Increase of root volumes associated with massive and deeper root developments.

Improved soil aeration; more efficient plant uptake of nutrients deposited or leached in the subsoil

Organic fertilizers are associated/inoculated with friendly organism.

Improved soil health (more biological life in the soil)

More plant biomass and roots and above ground residues associated with high crop yields.

Improved stock of potential sources of humus that help in the availability of plant nutrients for efficient crop growth.

General improvement in soil fertility and reduced problems of soil nutrient mining associated with sustained high yields over cropping seasons.

Reduction in supplemental fertilization and creation of soil environments that favor optimum and efficient use of applied fertilizers.

Less incidence in plant pests and diseases associated with adequate plant nutrition.

Healthy plant being less susceptible to plant pests and diseases, other environmental factors being equal and normal.


The BFS aims to contribute to the national effort toward food security and environmental stability. Specifically, it purports to:

  1. Increase and sustain rice yields without depleting the natural resource base.
  2. Illustrate the process of reformulating fertilizer recommendation that reduces yield variability across locations.
  3. Determine the changes in soil chemical properties.
  4. Establish a cost-benefit ratio for balanced fertilization in rice.


This operational research was carried out in several phases: adaptation, verification and piloting (up-scaling).

The BSWM prepared five (5) different combinations of organic and inorganic fertilizer formulae and their efficacy were initially tested in 141 different rice growing provinces. All on-farm techno-demo trials were conducted in the farms of the best rice-producing farmers in teh major rice growing communities in the country. The BFS on-farm trials were initially conducted on a 0.5 hectare field. Selected sites that obtained more than 5 tons per hectare were then up-scaled to ten and twenty hectare farms involving more farmers to confirm if the increases in rice yield can sustained and yield variations can be reduced in larger areas and in different seasons. After two years of continuous on-farm trial, the BSWM has reformulated the initial fertilizer recommendations to include the BFS in flooded and saline intruded soils, which require the application of varying amounts of micronutrients zinc and magnesium sulfate, respectively.

6.2 > 6.

6.3  Plant Nutrition-related response indicators

6.3 > 6.

6.4  Other response indicators

6.4 > 6.

7.   Challenges and viewpoints

7. > top

8.   References and related internet links

8.1  References

8.2  Related internet links

8. > top

8.1  References

8.1 > 8.

8.2  Related internet links

Bureau of Soils and Water Management

Bureau of Agricultural Research

Bureau of Agricultural Statistics

Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority
as FADINAP Member Country

NAMRIA : National Mapping and Resource Information Authority
he country’s central mapping and resource information agency.

PAGAWA : Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration

8.2> 8.


[23/07/02] on-line
[24/11/04] [Map 2.3.1] and related maps in chapter 2.3 are on-line

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