Policy and practice in karst landscape protection: Bohol, the Philippines

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The karst landscape in the interior of the Philippines’ Bohol Province represents one of the world’s premier kegelkarst (cone karst) environments. Government efforts to protect some of this karst, exemplified by the establishment of the Rajah Sikatuna National Park and the Chocolate Hills Natural Monument, have proven to be significant catalysts of social conflict. In Bohol there is a long history of traditional land tenure, which has recently been supplanted by a Westernized model. Protected area establishment is a response to deforestation, agricultural exploitation and uncontrolled quarrying. However, the imposition of protective legislation to prevent further degradation has disenfranchized and marginalized many local farmers and residents. The conflict between the obligation of the State to ensure environmental protection and the perceived property rights of landowners and farmers has provoked an escalation in civil unrest and armed conflict.

Keywords: Bohol; Chocolate Hills Natural Monument; Philippines; Rajah Sikatuna National Park; civil unrest; karst; protected areas

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-4959.00028

Affiliations: Department of Human Geography, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand and Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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