Anthropogenic Effects in Tropical Forest Patches of Sipalay City Negros Occidental, Philippines
Tropical rain forests are viable economic resources for people and their surrounding communities for they serve as sources of food and other materials. This descriptive research provides baseline information that describes and analyzes the socio-economic characteristics of human communities within the three forest patches of Sipalay City and the impact of their activities on these forest reserves. Quantitative and qualitative approaches were employed using survey, ethnobiology workshops, focus group discussions, and key informant interview methods to selected respondents living in these forests. Majority of the households that were natives and lived within the watershed reservation areas relied on farming and live below the poverty threshold due to lack of education, poor road network, and poor access to electricity and communication. Hence, forest areas were utilized in planting crops to support respondents’ meager incomes. Hunting, illegal logging, charcoal making, mining, dumping of garbage within the reservation, cutting of trees for firewood, kaingin/slash and burn system and human settlements were some of the anthropogenic activities that adversely affected the reservation and contributed to the decrease of vegetation, forest cover, and floral and faunal resources of Sipalay Forest Reserves. Given the situation, majority of the human communities living within the tropical forest were still willing to join programs that protect the remaining forest patches in Sipalay. Findings served as bases for identification of appropriate interventions for the management and development of the area.