The Social Dynamics of Deforestation in the Philippines

Actions, Options and Motivations

by Gerhard van den Top

  • Published:
  • Pages: 409 pp.
  • illustrations & maps
  • Series number: 6
Available from NIAS Press worldwide

A major contribution to knowledge both in the field of Philippine studies and in relation to deforestation, environmental change, political ecology and development. This book offers a compelling insight into the long history of national, regional and local outsiders gaining access to the natural resources and lands of this last large forest frontier in the Philippines.

• Ground-breaking study of deforestation in the Philippines (includes solid empirical data that previously was lacking).
• A major contribution to knowledge both in the field of Philippine studies and in relation to deforestation, environmental change, political ecology and development.
• Offers a compelling insight into the long history of national, regional and local outsiders gaining access to the natural resources and lands of this last large forest frontier in the Philippines.


The book offers a detailed case study into the dynamics of forest use, degradation and loss in North-east Luzon, Philippines. Following an interdisciplinary approach, the degradation and loss of forest cover in this area between 1950 and 1990 is related to the social and political context of logging, forest migration and changes in upland agriculture. The work makes a major contribution to knowledge both in the field of Philippine studies and in relation to deforestation, environmental change, political ecology and development.

Based on 10 years of research, five of which in the Sierra Madre region, the author introduces us to the actions, livelihood options and motives of all the principal groups of actors. Using a stimulating and fascinating balance between systematic survey data and the qualitative, almost anecdotal, reporting of conversations with these key actors, this book offers a compelling insight into the long history of national, regional and local outsiders gaining access to the natural resources and lands of this last large forest frontier in the Philippines.

author image not supplied

Gerhard van den Top’s professional career spans 20 years of international experience in the field of sustainable resource management including nearly a decade at the World Wide Fund for Nature. Since 2009 he has brought his varied experiences together as CEO of a Dutch environmental company, working towards the provision of better water services in the developing world.

Gerhard van den Top’s professional career spans 20 years of international experience in the field of sustainable resource management including nearly a decade at the World Wide Fund for Nature. Since 2009 he has brought his varied experiences together as CEO of a Dutch environmental company, working towards the provision of better water services in the developing world.

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by Raymond L. Bryant. Department of Geography, King's College London
From journal:
Department of Geography, National University of Singapore

"… rich, thick description based on extensive interviews, observations and documentary analysis.

…address(es) important issues about human-environmental interaction in the Philippines."

"… rich, thick description based on extensive interviews, observations and documentary analysis.

…address(es) important issues about human-environmental interaction in the Philippines."

by Victor T. King
From journal:
ASEASUK

“This is an excellent book, marvellously detailed and closely argued, supported with a wealth of evidence.

“This is an excellent book, marvellously detailed and closely argued, supported with a wealth of evidence. It demonstrates in all its complexities what happens when natural resource exploitation is driven by short-term, profit-obsessed motives rather than by policies and practices which address the longer term public interest.”

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