Palawan’s indigenous food, forests threatened,, 10 May 2018, the online platform of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, carried a commentary by Assistant Professor of Social Sciences (Environmental Studies) Marvin Montefrio and his colleague Associate Professor Wolfram Dressler with the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne, on the threat of rapidly expanding oil palm plantations on indigenous lands and food security in Palawan. The authors argue that the expansion of oil palm plantations is destroying Palawan’s forests, encroaching on ancestral domains and, increasingly, threatening the indigenous peoples’ food security. In a forthcoming paper in the international journal Development and Change, the authors show that the customary food security of the indigenous Pala’wan is being threatened by a combination of interrelated dynamics. The results are devastating for the indigenous poor and upland forest landscapes, who become dependent on high-sodium foods of low nutritional value that ultimately erode their ability to access and use customary foods. The socioecological diversity of indigenous forest spaces is also lost, resulting in an increase in food insecurity due to incremental cultural and ecological impoverishment.


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