Forest Land Use Planning (FLUP) is a participatory process of allocating forests and forestland as natural resources asset by the government under appropriate management, tenure arrangement and eventually putting these assets according to their best uses in order to harmonize uses of forest lands. Forest and forestland provide a good resource based for sustainable economic development, a source of environmental services such as fresh air, clean water supply and serve habitat for various fauna and flora. It also prevents the occurrence of flash floods and landslide.

A key strategy to effective management is to establish the best uses of these lands and allocate them to responsible managers under different forms of tenure. A resource manager can be an individual, a group or an organization that can aptly rehabilitate, preserve, conserve and protect the area from illegal activities and use the resource in a sustainable manner. The LGU itself, in partnership with DENR, can be a resource manager. While allocation decision (who will be assigned to manage the area) and management decisions for strict protection areas reside with state, LGUs can be involved in the process. DENR and LGU need a good basis to be able to make an informed decision thru FLUP.

An important step in FLUP is the identification of “open access” areas which are areas in FFLs that are not covered by any tenure. In the absence of a tenure holder or resource manager, anybody can just come in and use the resources, in most cases, in an unsustainable and destructive approach living the resource degraded and damaged.

Information provided in the FLUP is valuable in reaching a decision on who can be the best resource manager for a particular area. With responsible and accountable tenure holder in place, intrusions and unauthorized use of the resource in what were once an “open access” will be mitigated if not stopped. It must be emphasized that allocation in the forestland areas does not imply a process of dividing the land for the sole purpose of handling them out to beneficiaries. Somewhat, it is a management tool for establishing accountabilities and promoting responsible and sustainable forest resource management.

The end goal is to harmonize the use of forestland and ensure that production activities in the uplands are in balance with forest protection and biodiversity conservation. It also assured that upland-lowland relationship within a ridge-to-reef framework is observed and sustained. The ridge-to-reef approach takes into consideration the interconnectedness of the ecosystem, from uplands to lowland and down to coastal areas. Everything that happens in the uplands will go down to the sea. This is an important consideration that an LGU should instill in mind in formulating and implementing the FLUP.

DENR Central Visayas worked hand in hand with the Technical Working Group created by the Local Government Units in the conduct of data gathering and on-site validation in order to come up with a realistic view of the forestland areas. The steering committee is formed to institutionalize partnership between DENR, LGU and FL stakeholders. The duration of the plan