during Global Landscape Forum Biodiversity Conference in October of 2020
) I met Datu
), who is a
tribal leader from the Philippines. His story, in very short, goes like
Approximately 50 clans live in the Philippines on an area of about
20,000 hectares of which only about 5,000 hectares remain. The rest have
been lost to outsiders who have bought the land and started logging,
mining as well as oil palm and coconut plantation operations. Currently
their sacred forest, about 100 hectares, which is used for ceremonial
purposes, is under severe threat of also being sold to companies because
of food insecurity and poverty amongst their people. The area as a
whole, not only the sacred forest, is a hotspot of biodiversity but also
the basis for the livelyhoods of the indigenous people.
Over the past 3 months Datu and I have been working on creating a first
map of the area so that the tribes have some digital data to work with,
also for use in our platform for ecosystem restoration HERMOSA. However,
the process of losing their land is ongoing, since poverty entices the
elders to sell the land. At 500 USD per hectare the land is not that
expensive, depending on where you are coming from. It is Datu's idea to
buy the land so that it can be protected and serve future generations.
The biggest problem of this idea is the lack of money. I suggested that
he set up a crowdfunding campaign, which you can find here:
In the meantime I have set up a support campaign which you can access here:
Since the HERMOSA platform is about restoring ecosystems, I have been in
conversation with a lot of specialists over the past 3 years and they
all seem to agree that the restoration of ecosystems costs anywhere
between 2,000 and 5,000 USD per hectare. For 100 hectares this would be
200,000 to 500,000 USD. And then it is only restored and probably not in
the original, pristine state.
Here is the question: Why do we not spend 25% or 10% percent of the
above price tags (see crowd-funding campaign above) to have predestined
custodians of the forest conserve the original state instead of spending
so much more later on for inferior quality combined with a lot of
biodiversity loss, erosion, environmental pollution and personal
hardships in the meantime?
This should get everybody (banks, funds, corporations, philanthropists
etc.) thinking who are considering investing in ecosystem restoration.
Imagine being able to save 75% to 90% or making your money go the extra
mile(s) while making the planet a better place and a lot of people very
Since this discussion has been taking place on LinkedIn over the past
months Datu and I decided to take it to this mailinglist in the hopes of
having more people join in and find a solution for the tribes in the
Philippines. With a bit of luck and perseverance we might come up with a
solution that serves as blueprint for other tribes too who are in the
same dire situation.
Looking forward to some creative discussions and actions.