Areas of research and interest
Regional focus area: Philippines
Research topics: Environmental Anthropology, Existential Anthropology, Science and Technology Studies
Institut für Ethnologie
International Doctorate Program „Rethinking Environment“ at the Rachel Carson Center
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Eveline Dürr, Prof. Dr. Matthias Schmidt (University of Augsburg), Prof. Dr. Michael John Gorman
Rethinking Reforestation? Native species, new forests, and the potential of sustainable economies in the Philippine uplands.
The need for reforestation projects is ubiquitous and undisputed in debates about climate change and biodiversity. However, the seedlings used and the social and ecological consequences that evolve out of those projects are rarely touched. My project focuses on the ecological knowledge and use of native species and their potential for transforming forest practices in the Philippine uplands.
Native species are not common in reforestation programmes in the Philippines. The majority of the past and present programmes use imported species on account of being fast-growing and resilient. While deforestation rates have increased over the last decades, there are now more and more voices that question the success of imported species. Dr. Paciencia Milan, a Philippine biologist, is one of those voices. Her Rainforestation Farming approach highlights the biodiversity of native species and the potential to include agroforestry in reforestation schemes. With the development of tree nurseries, handbooks, training, and numerous years of research, Dr. Milan has produced a specific ecological knowledge of reforestation with native species.
To set up and run reforestation sites with the Rainforestation Farming scheme, scientists, environmental authorities, and the communities in the Philippine uplands need to collaborate. However, all of these actors bring different perspectives on, knowledge of, and demands from forests. As such, I want to adopt a multi-sited perspective to follow the (co-)production of ecological knowledge related to reforestation projects among scientists, environmental authorities, and local communities. I am especially interested in the negotiation of different perspectives and the characteristics that hinder and support a) the creation of alliances between the different actors and b) the potential for sustainable livelihoods in the Philippine uplands.
My research interest in environmental issues started during my master’s in anthropology at JGU Mainz, during which I conducted fieldwork in the Philippines. Collaborating with an environmental NGO, I walked through the dense tropical forests trying to understand why confiscating chainsaws is a kind of environmental activism that balances social and ecological challenges. I specifically focused on the personal motivation of environmentalists who dealt with illegal loggers, death threats, and family obligations. Motivated by ongoing forest loss and its socio-ecological impact, I hope to face this environmental crisis in a forward-looking, constructive way through my project.
- (Upcoming: September – November 2022, Leyte and Negros, Philippines)
- April 2022, Leyte and Negros, Philippines
- March–May 2019, Palawan, Philippines
Klapperich, Christopher (2021): Der Wert einer Kettensäge: Umweltaktivismus auf der philippinischen Insel Palawan. Arbeitspapiere des Instituts für Ethnologie und Afrikastudien der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (Working Papers of the Department of Anthropology and African Studies of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) 195.