Philippines Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) Program

The Philippines is one of the 17 mega biodiverse countries, containing two-thirds of the Earth’s biodiversity and 70 percent of world’s plants and animal species due to its geographical isolation, diverse habitats and high rates of endemism. The Philippines’ biodiversity provides several ecosystem services. It provides food, water, energy sources, pharmaceuticals, biomass fuels, carbon sequestration and climate regulation, crop pollination, cultural and spiritual inspiration and ecotourism value.

Thirty percent of the population, including 12 to 15 million indigenous peoples, resides in the uplands where most of the forests are located. These forests provide timber and non-timber products totaling $100 million in net benefits yearly. The Philippines is also one of the world’s hotspots with a large number of endangered and threatened species–making it a top global conservation priority area.

Designed by USAID in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), B+WISER improves natural resource management and reduces risks from disasters. In partnership with the national and local governments and other stakeholders, B+WISER conserves biodiversity in forested areas and reduces forest degradation in targeted priority watersheds. The project also builds capacity to conserve biodiversity, manage forests, and support low-emissions development, as well as contributes to disaster risk reduction at the subnational level.


  • Strengthening forest protection through enhanced biodiversity and threats monitoring and environmental law enforcement (ELE).
  • Formulation and application of a forest restoration strategy through the establishment of Forest Management Units.
  • Enhancement of environment and natural resource management planning.
  • Assess the management and governance of institutions in Protected Areas (PA) and implement strategies to address gaps. With B+WISER’s assistance, PA management boards and local government units have passed over 70 policies, regulations and action plans addressing biodiversity conservation and climate change.
  • Develop and enhance key national policies and plans, including the National Protected Areas Master Plan, Philippine Strategic Action Plan, and the Forest Law Enforcement Manual and Handbook on ELE in PAs.
  • Establish approach for setting national-level Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL).
  • Establish partnerships for forest and watershed restoration and protection.


By 2017, B+WISER expects to:

  • Improve management and governance of 780,000 hectares of key biodiversity areas (KBA) and their associated watersheds;
  • Support restoration initiatives in 78,000 hectares of forest areas, including mangroves
  • Reduce or sequester 5.34 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) (measured in CO2 equivalent) 
  • Leverage $5 million from partnerships with public and private sector groups


Improve natural and environmental resource management in the Philippines.


  • Conserve biodiversity in forest areas
  • Reduce forest degradation in targeted priority watersheds
  • Build capacity to conserve biodiversity, manage forests, and support low emissions development
  • Contribute to disaster risk reduction at the subnational level