Aurelia Gomez

Aurelia Gomez


PhD Thesis

Potential of payments for environmental services (PES) for natural resources conservation and management in Mindanao, Philippines


Prof. Romy Greiner, Prof. Stephen Garnett, Prof. John Rolfe (external, CQU)


The Philippines had applied the traditional command-and-control approach to natural resource management and conservation. However, the failure of that approach had led to the exploration of alternative means of protecting the country’s remaining natural resources. In the past two decades, government started moving towards a more market-oriented approach to natural management. This is manifested mainly in national legislation that acknowledges the economic importance of many natural resources and set specific provisions related to the utilization, trade, and fees to be charged for the exploitation of the resources.

Some examples of such national legislation are the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, the Wildlife Resources and Conservation Act of 2001, and the National Integrated Protected Areas Systems (NIPAS) Act of 1992. The NIPAS Act is the basis for the subsequent national legislation on the establishment of protected areas (PAs) all over the country. The national legislation enacted for the establishment of any particular PA includes a section about the Integrated Protected Areas Fund (IPAF), which recognizes that income can be derived from the multiple uses of the PAs.

All the different approaches utilized by the government have so far failed to effectively manage and conserve the country’s natural resources. The major reasons are anthropogenic pressures because of the increasing population, conflicting and overlapping roles and mandates of the different agencies mandated to lead in natural resource conservation and management, and the government’s decision to pursue mining as a resource generating industry. The latter poses a very serious threat to natural resource conservation because many of the major mining projects are located in biodiversity-rich areas, including many parts of Mindanao. The lack of funds is also a major concern because projects are normally funded by a combination of government appropriation, and development assistance from international agencies. However, there has been a decline in external funding for projects related to natural resource management and conservation.

This research generally aims to examine the potential of payment for environmental services (PES) as a mechanism for natural resources conservation and management in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao, which is the main island in the southern part of the Philippines. The Mt. Apo Natural Park (MANP), a protected area in southern Mindanao is used as the case site, with particular focus on watershed protection, mountain climbing, and biodiversity conservation.

Other Information

  1. Member, Faculty research panel – Faculty of EHSE
  2. Paper presentation in international conference: “The value of watershed protection in Mount Apo Natural Park, Philippines”, International Symposium on Society and Resource Management, 14-17 June 2011, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia