• Non-ICIMOD Publication

Forest environmental income and the rural poor

  • Vedeld, P.
  • Sjaastad, E.

There has in recent years been a growing recognition of the important role played by environmental goods and services in the livelihoods of poor people. This short paper discusses methodological issues related to determination of environmental income. It then focuses on the significance of such income for the rural poor, before outlining some future challenges in the investigation of these relationships. <br /><br />The paper illuminates the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches, and examines the role that forest environmental income may play in the lives of poor people and in policy making around poverty issues. The authors highlight that dynamic studies, employing time series, are few and far between. Such studies are needed in order to thrash out more specifically the functions that forest resources fulfill in the lives of different groups and individuals through time. This would also show how environmental income interacts with changing economies, legal frameworks, and ecosystems. Additional points raised include: <ul class='square_dot_ul'><li>because forest environmental incomes are particularly important for poor people, deprivation of access to forest resources may have serious impacts on rural livelihoods, both in terms of consumption and cash income generation;</li><li>in the short term, access to key resources may be under threat from conservation interests; in the longer term, use may be threatened by unsustainable extraction and resource destruction;</li><li>in most poverty assessments, forest environmental incomes are either omitted or underreported. By focusing on the key resources of food, fuel, and fodder, this problem could be greatly reduced with a minimum of additional effort.</li></ul>

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    Web: http://www.eoearth.org/article/Forest_environmental_income_and_the_rural_poor