our mission

We build forests and help sustain communities.

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Why the Cordillera? 
The Cordillera region of the Philippines is acknowledged as one of Northern Luzon’s major watersheds. The headwaters of many of Luzon’s major river systems originate in these mountains and serve as irrigation for the plains that surround the Cordillera Mountain range; Chico River, Agno River, Abra River, Siffu River, Amburayan-Naguilian-Aringgay River System, Ahin River, Abulog-Apayao River system. Taken together they have a total drainage area of 5,447,500 hectares, supplying most of the irrigation needs of Northern Luzon. These facts alone underscore the importance of the Cordillera mountain region in providing ecosystem services to a large portion of Northern Luzon.Yet this is only a small fraction of the importance of the Cordillera Mountain Ecosystem, other factors such as biodiversity, energy production; mineral production as well as ecological maintenance functions such as; stream flow, nutrient cycling, soil stability, habitat, are among the other factors which make this region unique.
The mountain region is also the home of a varied number of indigenous groups. People who have the pride that no lowlander has the right to claim, the pride of being free while the rest of the Philippines was under the colonial rule of the Spanish. Ibaloi, Kankanai, Kalanguya, Iwac, Ifugao, Bontoc, Kalinga, Tinguian among these groups we find the people who have kept these mountains safe for centuries, Our homes are seemingly under siege, “development” has claimed the homes of many communities. The Cordillera being home to the bounties of the earth have provided life for generations, yet today people seek to destroy that which has given us life.This diversity of people living in this region presents a challenge to the management of the Cordillera Mountain environment and yet they also provide a resource as we are people who hold a unique knowledge of our local environments and their utilization, knowledge which is a powerful asset in creating strategies to address the continued degradation of our mountain ecosystems.

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The Cordillera Conservation Trust seeks to provide relevant practical and sustainable solutions to environmental problems arising in the Cordillera region that seek to undermine the continued ecological services that the mountain region provides for its people. Working in partnership with the different local communities we develop practical and appropriate solutions to the environmental problems now confronting the Cordillera Region.

We believe that we can develop solutions from local community ideas and knowledge as well as integrate modern sustainable development strategies to promote development in the region that is in line with its unique ecological and cultural characteristics.

 mission
Who we are and What we do: Poverty and human health problems are symptoms of an ailing environment. The Cordillera Region is the source of life for most of the Northern Luzon, it’s rivers feed the hectares of farm land that feed a majority of this nation’s population and within it’s walls of rock live communities whose culture speaks of a time long past and a proud and noble ancestry. Yet this noble heritage of the mountain region is slowly withdrawing its graces from its people and from those that benefit below these towers. The forests no longer speak and the waters slowly choked by silt and pollution and each year crystal droplets flow in ever smaller amounts starving the farms that rely on this constant supply of life from the mountains above.No longer can the forests and rivers sustain local livelihoods and continued pollution and degradation affects the ecosystems capacity to provide clean air and water and increases community’s vulnerability to natural disasters. This degradation has also in recent years been the root source of conflicts for many villages found within the Cordillera Mountains.The Cordillera Conservation Trust seeks to provide relevant practical and sustainable solutions to environmental problems arising in the Cordillera region that seek to undermine the continued ecological services that the mountain region provides for its people. Working in partnership with the different local communities we develop practical and appropriate solutions to the environmental problems now confronting the Cordillera Region.The Cordillera Conservation Trust aims to develop alternatives to current unsustainable practices that now plague the mountain regions environment and people. By improving the natural environment and promoting sustainable utilization of the local resources we also ensure that the primary source of local capital, the environment, is kept in a form that will continuously provide its services for the local communities reducing the incidence of rural poverty, environmental conflicts, and health hazards arising from degraded environmental conditions.We believe that we can develop solutions from local community ideas and knowledge as well as integrate our own specializations in modern sustainable development strategies to promote development in the region that is in line with its unique ecological and cultural characteristics.
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project site

Our project sites are concentrated in the provinces of Benguet and Ifugao of the Philippine Cordillera Region. To date we have built over 100 Roots and Shoots Forest nurseries in partnership with remote elementary schools in varying ecosystems. A majority of our schools and project sites are in some of the most important ecological systems in the world, such as the Mt. Pulag ecosystem -long considered a mountain galapagos for it’s diversity of plant and animal species.

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Forest Building Sites

 

projects & activities

The Roots and Shoots Forest Nurseries is a program started by the Cordillera Conservation Trust to help in the protection and reforestation of the Cordillera Mountains. In partnership with the Department of Education we train teachers, students, and communities in remote schools in the Cordillera to build and maintain Forest Nurseries in their respective schools as well as teach them how to collect seeds from surrounding forests ensuring the propagation of their local forest resources. As a value added benefit the nurseries also serve as learning laboratories for the students to learn more about their local forest resources, how to propagate, care for and protect their forests. The Roots and Shoots nurseries also provide an important value change in the students who learn to care for trees and forests from seed, to root, to shoot all the way to putting them into good earth and caring for them over a generation. It is a value chain for nature that starts with the young in these remote schools.

We designed the Roots and Shoots project so that the nurseries can be built mostly from local materials and are normally built in just one day by the students, teachers, and community. The involvement of the parents and community in the construction of the nurseries further enhances the local ownership and sustainability of each nursery, the schools being the centers of many remote communities are also the perfect conduits for character change and value formation for environmental protection. We chose the most remote schools in the region because these are the areas where the ecology and ecosystem is of prime importance, it is here where communities still directly rely on the environment for their daily needs and the destruction of which would not only mean the destruction of the ecosystem but of a lifeway and economy as well.

Since we started building Roots and Shoots Forest Nurseries in 2011 when we started with one nursery, we will now have over 107 nurseries all across the mountain region in the most remote schools commonly only accessed on foot.

 

partners

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