Indigenous Youth Leadership in Agroforestry: Stories, Culture, and Innovations


As a Manobo youth, I consider the forest my home. Growing up, I saw how economic interests brought destruction to my home, a humble village at the foot of Migsalurayan mountain. Support was virtually absent for us Indigenous Peoples living in the margins but we are grateful for our culture and faith that allow us to keep going. As an indigenous youth leader, I create stories about the integrity of our land and culture to encourage my fellow youth and others to engage in dialogue about forest and water protection. My goal is to collaborate with other indigenous youth in regenerating our land through agroforestry initiatives that give emphasis on the value of native forest tree species and native crops. For now, I am accompanying local farmers in Northern Siargao in improving their practice of organic farming and agroforestry. Drawing connections from the contexts of Bukidnon and Siargao has been a deeply enriching experience for me and something that I look forward to sharing with others through my stories.

IG: Robertintheforest and YT: Indigenous Forester

Detailed Information

Size of area being restored
2 ha

Geographical features of site
Uma- forest land degraded by logging industry. The land was used again as farmland without forest cover.

Challenges and threats to the area
The area needed to be restored following decades of intense logging and natural resource extraction from mining companies. The healing of the land also required the healing of community spirit as previous extractive activities also affected the way of life of indigenous communities who are the traditional caretakers of the land. Our cultural identity as Indigenous Peoples is tied to our land who cradles the history of our people and holds our vision for the future. Today, indigenous youth face many challenges as we balance different pressures. Motivating the youth to consistently take part in the restoration efforts is a challenge that we take up with other members of the community, guided by the wisdom of our elders.

Communities involved (indicate size)
Manobo community in Sto. Domingo, youth leader from Upper Pulangi, Siargao local farmers

Solutions/interventions being done in response to challenges and objectives; learnings
Understanding the landscape, where the water sources are, the species you are going to plant, specifically where in the land these trees will be planted, and when…all these factors are important in securing a long term sustainable management and accompaniment of the land being regenerated.

Site Information
Individual Spearheading
Robert Cahapon