Counting on the environment: forest incomes and the rural poor

Counting on the environment: forest incomes and the rural poor

Income generation from forestry

This report investigates the extent to which people in rural areas of developing countries depend on income from forest environmental resources, and how this dependence is conditioned by different political, economic, ecological, and socio-cultural factors. In addition, the report reviews current research methodology and make recommendations for “best practices” in assessment of forest environmental income.

Primary conclusions include:

  • forest environmental income represents a significant income source with an average contribution to household income of some 22 % in the populations sampled for the report
  • the main sources of forest environmental incomes are fuelwood, wild foods, and fodder for animals
  • forest environmental income has a strong and significant equalizing effect on local income distribution
  • cash income constitutes about half of total forest environmental income

Key recommendations of the report include:

  • the development of research protocols, field methods, and simple analytical models to analyze the role of environmental income in rural livelihoods
  • more in-depth studies are needed to unravel the roles of local heterogeneity and social differentiationxtended studies that generate time series data would assist in understanding the role of environmental income in both individual household strategies and in broader development strategies.

[adapted from author]