Gmelina Boom, Farmers Doom: Tree growers risks, coping strategies and options
The widespread smallholder tree plantations of Gmelina arborea established in the South Philippines in the 1980s led to price boom and bust cycles rather than the expected economic returns for growers. This study evaluates grower responses to the timber price bubbles of the 1990s and recommends policy responses.
Research goals & methods
Interviews were conducted in 2006 with seven long-term growers and three growers who had ceased growing timber trees. Growers who had experienced the price bubbles of the 1990s expressed a risk-averse attitude. Those who continued growing expressed a strong preference for trees that had a more stable price such as Swietenia (mahogany). All growers preferred monocropping to intercropping due to the decline in production of understory species once trees reached canopy closure. Growers expressed frustration with the restrictive cutting permitting process.
Conclusions & takeaways
Based on growers’ experiences, the authors recommend a removal of the cutting permit requirement for timber grown in private woodlots; implementing a wood price regulatory system; providing better technical guidance to small growers; and supporting the development of small mills and processing plants throughout rural areas to diversify and localize processing and marketing options.
Pasicolan, Paulo N. and Macandog, Damasa M, 2007. Gmelina boom, farmers’ doom: Tree growers’ risks, coping strategies and options. In: Steve Harrison, Annerine Bosch and John Herbohn, Improving the Triple Bottom Line Returns from Small-scale Forestry: Proceedings from an International Conference. Improving the Triple Bottom Line Returns from Small-scale Forestry, Ormoc, the Philippines, pp. 313-319. 18-21 June 2007.
- College of Forestry and Environmental Management, Isabela State University, Philippines