Abaca (manila hemp) growing is being promoted as a means of addressing critical levels of forest loss in the Philippines. It is an under-storey crop that is being planted in areas targeted for reforestation, alongside indigenous and endemic tree species.
Currently, over 60% of the abaca is discarded as waste during cropping. The project will assess the potential to use the waste as bio-fuel, which can be sold to existing urban markets where illegal firewood and charcoal are used.
One of the globally important species living in these forests is the spectacular and critically endangered Visayan warty pig, which is listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
Abaca farming helps communities to regenerate the forest. This helps address climate change, the pigs have more places to live and breed, critical watersheds are protected and also helps to address poverty.