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Open Access Capstone

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The rate and extent of deforestation in the Philippines is phenomenal. It has been estimated that in 1934, 17 million hectares of the Philippines' 30 million hectares were covered in forest (Asian Development Bank, pp. 13-14.) This figure had dropped to 10.5 million by 1969, and by 1993 it stood at 5.7 million. If one looks at old growth forests, where there is the greatest diversity of animal, plant, and insect life, then the figures are even more stark: In 1934, there were 11 million hectares of old growth forest; in 1969, 4.7 million; and by 1993, the figure had dropped to just 900,000 hectares. If deforestation were to continue at the rate at which it occurred between 1969 and 1993 (that is, 200,000 hectares per year,) all of the Philippines' forests-old growth and degraded-would be completely gone in less than thirty years. No doubt due to the immense scale of the ecological disaster unfolding throughout the Philippines, there has been an explosion in the number of environmental NGOs in the country in recent years-some nine hundred by a recent count (Severino). One of those hundreds of local NGO's is the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEP), an organization devoted to increasing the population of the extremely rare Philippine Eagle. I have had the opportunity to work on-and-off with the PEF over the past couple of years, and have recently been developing for them educational materials for use in Philippine schools, focusing on the interrelationships between people, the eagle, and the and the environment in the Philippines. In the following pages I present some background information on the project and then share a working draft of sixteen interdisciplinary lessons on the current environmental situation in the Philippines for use in classrooms in the Philippines.