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Dependence of the Poor on Forest Resources: Evidence from China

Wei, Duan, Ben, Ma, Bo, Sun, Yali, Wen
Small-scale forestry 2017 v.16 no.4 pp. 487-504
cooperatives, employment opportunities, forest resources, forests, households, income, issues and policy, livelihood, models, poverty, roads, statistical analysis, villages, China
Quantifying the contribution of forest income to household’s total income, especially the poorest, is important to understand rural livelihoods, causes of poverty and designing effective development and conservation strategies. Based on a large-scale household investigation of 1495 rural households of 82 villages in 7 provinces in China in 2014–2015, this study used descriptive statistical analysis and built multilevel models to explain individual heterogeneity. Results showed that: (1) the poorest households are the less dependent on non-farm income than other households due to fewer non-farm work opportunities; (2) forest income is important for all households, although poorest ones relied more on forests; (3) the average forest income of households in the richest group is three times as much as that of households in the poorest group; (4) forest income can be increased with more land accessible to the poor and fairer harvest quota applying system. Improving roads condition and increasing forest cooperatives increase household forest income as well. The findings of this paper will be useful in designing alternative policies to alleviate poverty and protect forest resources.