Conflict and violence are prevalent in environmental and natural resources management. Individuals and groups collide when institutions establish boundaries that cause human displacements and exclusions from access to land and natural resources. I am currently working with a small team of researchers at Palawan State University, in cooperation with the Forest Management Bureau in the Philippines, to understand conflicts associated with encroachment of “outsiders” onto delineated community-based forest management (CBFM) areas. We endeavor to find out the extent and magnitude of conflicts in CBFM areas, as well as the various strategies upland communities employ to manage these conflicts. The study includes extensive administration of surveys to people’s organizations engaged in CBFM agreements throughout the country. The surveys are supplemented with key informant in-depth interviews and participant/field observations in several communities in Palawan for a period of one year beginning October 2011.
We hope that the results of this research project will inform policy, in particular the implementation and further development of policies relating to community-based and collaborative environmental and natural resources management in the Philippines. Furthermore, we anticipate our findings to contribute to the environmental conflict literature and to theories on conflict management, in general.