The Yakan tribe is located on the Basilan Island, like the rest of the Philippines, has an economy reliant on
the export of primary products. Timber has been a traditional source of revenue. At one time lumber
mills supplied both North American and Asian markets. Basilan is an attractive source of
highly sought Philippine timber. Moreover, Basilan’s forests can be naturally replenished
because the Sulu Archipelago is outside the typhoon belt and is therefore not susceptible
to the devastating environmental degradation which is evident in the denuded northern
islands.36 Yet security concerns have driven away foreign investors and the revenues
from timber exports are negligible. Rubber was also an important export in the past and
an impetus to create rubber plantation farms during the colonial era. Copra, made from
dried coconut meat, continues to be sold as a cash crop marketed within the country and
as an export. There is plentiful grazing land and also a potential for owing to
several large waterfalls on the island. The seas around the island are rich in aquatic
resources including tuna and sardines.
ReferenceField Museum. Heaney, Lawrence. “The Causes and Effects of Deforestation.” 2007.