Traditional Farm Practices Hold Promises for Philippines’ Sick Rivers
Voice of America news, 25 September 2013

CORDILLERA, PHILIPPINES: An estimated 80 percent of Asia’s rivers are considered “sick,” meaning they suffer from pollution and the uncoordinated development of water resources. As conservationists rethink strategies to save rivers, young researchers in Manila are finding promise in an age-old watershed preservation approach. The Ifugaos of the Cordillera region in northern Philippines are known as the builders of the area’s UNESCO heritage rice-terraces. Such mountainside farms have survived for more than 900 years, in part because locals have maintained nearby forests and protected the watersheds that sustain their fields. In the lowlands, expanding populations and industrial growth have stressed rivers and water basins, despite master development plans designed by top engineers. Asia Development Bank water expert Wouter Lincklaen Arriens says the old practices of local communities should play a bigger role in modern watershed management. Read the article …