Land use and economic change in the post-frontier upland Philippines

James F. Eder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Changes in land use and in the nature of farm enterprises in the upland Philippines are examined through the lens of household economic strategies, using data obtained on Palawan Island and with particular attention to non-agricultural employment diversification. Short fallow intervals and small farm sizes are today common throughout upland Palawan. In addition, as upland farming has become more of an occupation of specific household members and less the way of life of entire households, many upland farms are specialized in particular crops. Such specializations, however, change over time as households undergo growth and domestic cycling and some members establish new income sources and residential bases in the lowlands. Meanwhile, restrictions on new forest clearance and other developments that make it difficult for upland households to secure an adequate living from farming alone have greatly increased collection pressures on non-timber forest products. These and other changes are reconfiguring the role of women in household economy and generating new axes of regional economic integration. Despite considerable land and other resource degradation in the uplands, some causes for optimism are found in the spontaneous adoption of agroforestry practices and in the emergence of new identities configured in part around notions of environmental well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages10
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2006


  • Agriculture
  • Biodiversity
  • Environment
  • Households
  • Livelihood
  • Philippines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Development
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Soil Science


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