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Household welfare and forest dependence in Southern Malawi

Monica Fisher ()

Environment and Development Economics, 2004, vol. 9, issue 2, 135-154

Abstract: This paper examines the role forests play in alleviating poverty in rural Malawi. Data from three villages in southern Malawi indicate high levels of forest dependence. Gini decomposition shows that access to forest income reduced measured income inequality at the study sites. Tobit analysis of the determinants of reliance on low-return and high-return forest activities indicates that asset-poor households are more reliant on forest activities compared with the better off; reliance on high-return activities is conditioned also by availability of adult male labor and location. Taken together, the study's findings suggest that forests prevent poverty by supplementing income, and may also help to improve the living standards of households that are able to enter into high-return forest occupations. Policy implications are discussed.

Date: 2004
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