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Research Report

Forestry, Poverty and Aid

J.E. Michael Arnold
Copyright Date: Aug. 1, 2001
Pages: 20
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 1-1)

    Poverty has generally been defined as having insufficient food, income, and other inputs to maintain an adequate standard of living, with the latter sometimes being defined to include consideration of quality of life.

    This ‘welfare’ definition of poverty has recently been broadened to recognise the importance of access to assets. Asset poverty is defined as insufficient assets (natural, physical, financial, human, social), or lack of an appropriate mix of assets, to be able to generate or sustain an adequate and sustainable level of livelihood. Livelihood is defined in this connection as comprising the capabilities, assets and activities required for a...

  2. (pp. 1-4)

    The main contributions that forests can make to the livelihoods of the rural poor are evident: new areas for crop agriculture and livestock, a range of subsistence products to complement what can be produced from the household farm, and sources of income. Programmes to manage forest resources so as to increase or better focus their contributions to development out of poverty have been shaped by prevailing thinking about the broader development process. Forestry development has at different times reflected a focus on forest industry, forestry and rural development, and forestry and conservation of biodiversity.

    By the early 1960s, development theory...

  3. (pp. 4-5)

    The available evidence therefore points to the ability of rural people to directly access and use forest products as the main way in which forest resources impact on rural poverty. Enormous numbers of the rural poor derive some part of their livelihood inputs from forest resources. However, it has become increasingly clear that much of this use is a function of their poverty. Forest outputs are used because they have no alternative, helping them cope with poverty but usually providing little opportunity to escape from poverty. Though there are forest product activities that can contribute to better livelihoods, these generally...

  4. (pp. 5-9)

    Forms of aid to forestry that have had a direct or indirect aim of alleviating poverty have been concentrated in three areas:

    1. increased participation by local users in forest management in order to make the latter more responsive to their needs, and to increase the benefits flowing to them;

    2. support to tree growing on farms; and

    3. exploiting the income-generating opportunities that production and trade in forest products in the non-farm rural economy can provide².

    Probably the main area where aid programmes have attempted to target the rural poor has been in the paradigm shift towards transferring more of forest management...

  5. (pp. 9-15)

    The discussion in this section is based on the perception that there are two basic pathways in which aid to forestry might become more effective in mobilising the potential of forestry to contribute to poverty alleviation. One is to harmonise what is attempted in forestry more closely with what is happening in other sectors, and to recognise the implications of broader changes such as market liberalisation and structural adjustment for rural development. The second is to improve the focus and effectiveness of poverty-related interventions at all levels within the forestry sector, based on a better understanding of what forestry can...