Denise Margaret Matias

Research themes
  • Land use and food security
  • Environmental and climate change
  • Sustainable use of biological resources
Research countries
  • Philippines
Professional experience

2012: TMP Systems (formerly The Munden Project)

2012: REDD+ Safeguards Technical Working Group, Conservation International Philippines

2010-11: International Climate Policy Team, Germanwatch via Alexander von Humboldt Foundation International Climate Protection Fellowship

2010: Emergency Response Team, Handicap International Philippines

2008-09: The Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines Diliman

2006-13: Sub-Terra, Gaia Exploration Club

2006: Direct Dialogue and Climate Campaigns, Greenpeace Southeast Asia

2005: Department of Biology, Ateneo de Manila University


2012: MSc Environmental Sciences and Policy (Central European University, Hungary)

2010: Graduate Diploma Environmental Science (University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines)

2005: BS Biology (Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines)

Thesis title

Sustainability of community forestry enterprises: indigenous wild honey gathering in the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve Palawan, Philippines

Thesis abstract

Commercialization of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) has been one of the strategies for both rural poverty alleviation and for forest conservation. Though highly debated (as seen by critiques of the nominal work by Peters et al. in 1989), this strategy has been explored in several indigenous forest communities in Southeast Asia, including the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve Palawan in the Philippines. With the help of non-government organizations Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP) Asia, wild honey hunters and gatherers were able to establish a community forest enterprise with a system of wild honey gathering, consolidation, selling, and marketing. The indigenous Tagbanua of Aborlan mention that among all sources of livelihood in the community, honey hunting and gathering is the most lucrative in monetary terms. This perception, however, only points to the economic returns of the CFE. In holistic social-ecological terms, how sustainable are CFEs really? This paper aims to answer this question through the application of Ostrom’s Sustainability Framework (2009) to the case of the indigenous wild honey enterprise of Tagbanuas in Sagpangan, Aborlan, Palawan. Through value chain analysis supplemented with focus group discussions, participant observation, and in-depth interviews, an inquiry into the socio-cultural, ecological, and economic sustainability of the wild honey CFE was conducted. Preliminary results show that the wild honey enterprise is able to provide seasonal livelihood to the Tagbanua community, but fails to ensure socio-cultural and environmental sustainability. The promise of NTFPs as an emerging livelihood opportunity for indigenous forest communities in Southeast Asia needs to be re-evaluated, if sustainable development is to be attained.

Supervisors of
doctoral work
Advisor at ZEF


Denise Margaret S. Matias, Till Stellmacher, Christian Borgemeister, Jun Cayron, and Henrik von Wehrden. 2017. Mapping giant honey bee nests in Palawan, Philippines through a transdisciplinary approach. Development in Practice, in press.


Denise Margaret Matias and Cleovi Mosuela. 2016. International migration opportunities as post-disaster humanitarian intervention. Further Information
Denise Margaret S. Matias, Julia Leventon, Anna-Lena Rau, Christian Borgemeister, and Henrik von Wehrden. 2016. A review of ecosystem service benefits from wild bees across social contexts. Ambio, doi: 10.1007/s13280-016-0844-z. Further Information


Cleovi Mosuela and Denise Margaret Matias. 2015. The role of a priori cross-border migration after extreme climate events: the case of the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan. In: Hillmann, Felicitas; Pahl, Marie; Rafflenbeul, Birte and Sterly, Harald (eds.): Environmental change, adaptation and migration: bringing in the region. Palgrave Macmillan. 98 - 116. Further Information
Denise Margaret Matias. 2015. Local adaptation to climate change: a case study among the indigenous Palaw’ans in the Philippines. In: Filho, Walter Leal (eds.): Climate change in the Asia-­Pacific region. Springer International Publishing. 173 -­ 187. Further Information


Cleovi Mosuela and Denise Margaret Matias. 2014. The role of a priori cross-border migration after extreme climate events: The case of the Philippines after typhoon Haiyan. Further Information
Denise Margaret Matias and Jeanne Tabangay. 2014. The role of conservation agreements in disaster risk reduction: the case of Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape (MMPL) in the Philippines. In: Murti, Radhika and Buyck, Camille (eds.): Safe havens: protected areas for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 104 - 115. (Open Acess) Further Information


Andrea Alforte, Denise Matias, Lou Munden, and Jennifer Perron. 2013. Financing sustainable agriculture and mitigation: Smallholders and the Landscape Fund. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Copenhagen, Denmark. Further Information
Denise Margaret Matias. 2013. Electric public transport in Puerto Princesa City: Enabling factors for institutionalizing low-carbon transport. In: Muga, Helen E. and Thomas, Ken D. (eds.): Cases on the diffusion and adoption of sustainable development practices. IGI Global. pp. 287-311. Further Information


Denise Margaret Matias. 2012. Assessing adaptive capacity of indigenous Palaw’ans in Mount Mantalingahan, Palawan, Philippines. MSc thesis, Central European University. Further Information


Denise Margaret Matias. 2011. Low-carbon development in Southeast Asia: energy perspectives for Denpasar, Indonesia and Puerto Princesa, Philippines. Germanwatch. Bonn, Germany. Download [PDF | 375.61KB]
Further Information

Denise Margaret Matias

Junior Researcher