The winner of the $500 Prize is:
Philippine Eagle Foundation – Holistic forest biodiversity conservation in the Arakan Valley through ‘corridors’ and ‘stepping stones’

Originally a lowland tropical forest, the Arakan Valley in North Cotabato, Philippines has lost 94% of its forests. What remains are confined in three forest islands, two of which are global KBAs.
Using a landscape restoration framework crafted by various stakeholders, a revitalized Arakan Forest Corridor Development Program (AFCDP) began in 2010. The AFCDP is a multi-year initiative that combines forest management, poverty alleviation, resource mobilization, local capacity building, advocacy and education to restore the social-ecological resiliency of the Arakan landscape and its predominantly poor, rural inhabitants. To date, 6,000 ha of the KBAs are legally protected with clear management regimes that also conserve IUCN ‘threatened’ species like the Philippine Eagle. Native trees were also re-planted in 370 ha of non-forest areas around ‘core zones’ through small-holder ‘rainforestation’ approaches, with census showing a 60 % average survival rate in successful reforestation plots.

Using a ‘sustainable livelihoods framework’ approach, the well-being of 200Indigenous households performing clear environmental services is also being secured. During the previous year, household annual income has tripled from rainforestation fees. Basic education, health and livelihood support were also facilitated as ‘conservation incentives’. Sustainable conservation financing and ‘in-kind’ incentives are brokered through ‘conservation agreements’ between communities and their government, private and corporate benefactors. We mobilized US $ 316,000.00 of funding so far through these innovative ‘private-public-community’ partnerships. Recently, a total of 36 ha of small, natural forests patches within production landscapes that are wildlife ‘stepping stones’ in between core zones will be rehabilitated and expanded through a private-landholder restoration initiative.

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