Environmentalism, development, and participation on Palawan Island, Philippines

Rebecca L. Austin, James F. Eder

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


On Palawan Island, Philippines, known for its high biodiversity and dynamic environmental movement, development, participation, and conservation have been enveloped by the twin discourses of environmentalism and sustainable development. This essay considers environmental policy on Palawan and several case studies of sustainable development projects that emphasize community-based resource management (CBRM). Recent critiques suggest that CBRM has not been successful because communities lack self-sufficiency and claims of "local participation" are merely rhetorical. We argue that analyses of CBRM should consider three aspects of Philippine environmentalism: whether rhetoric regarding resource management matches reality in the eyes of local residents; the overlapping roles of government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); and multiplex relationships of NGOs with local communities. Our findings suggest that despite some difficulties, stronger NGO roles in CBRM have generally resulted in better environmental protection, and through relationships with NGOs, communities in the Philippines can indeed take action to serve their own best interests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-371
Number of pages9
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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