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Livelihood Strategies and Forest Product Utilisation of Rural Households in Nepal

Lax, Jutta, Köthke, Margret
Small-scale forestry 2017 v.16 no.4 pp. 505-520
agricultural land, analysis of variance, assets, business enterprises, forest products, forests, household income, households, livelihood, low educational status, markets, principal component analysis, product utilization, surveys, Nepal
Most Nepalese rural households adopt diversified strategies of income generation and use products directly collected from forests. To analyse the influence of livelihood strategy on forest product utilisation, a survey of 336 rural households in lowland Nepal was conducted. Four livelihood strategies were identified by means of a Principal Component Analysis based on income variables, followed by hierarchical cluster analysis. Two livelihood strategies are assigned to on-farm activities and two to off-farm activities. The off-farm based strategies were found to result in higher household incomes. To test for differences across the livelihood strategies, additional socio-demographic variables, physical assets and location information have been analysed using ANOVA. The forest product utilisation behaviour of the households differs significantly between livelihood strategies. The households adopting a subsistence-based strategy collect the most forest products while achieving the lowest total income. However, a general influence of the total household income on the forest utilisation intensity is not confirmed. Households receiving remittances from abroad achieve the highest incomes but still collect forest products. The group of most forest-dependent households is mainly characterised by living near the forest and far from city centres with commodity and labour markets, and by having low education and a young head of household. The households relying mainly on private business income have the lowest forest product utilisation and are characterised by the highest education, proximity to markets and greatest area of agricultural land.