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Socio-economic factors influencing land-use and land-cover changes in the miombo woodlands of the Copperbelt province in Zambia

Ferdinand Handavu, Paxie W.C. Chirwa and Stephen Syampungani

Forest Policy and Economics, 2019, vol. 100, issue C, 75-94

Abstract: This study examined socio-economic factors that influence land-use and land-cover dynamics in the Copperbelt miombo woodlands of Zambia. Data were collected through household surveys and focus group discussions. All households that have lived in the area for 5 years and above were considered eligible to participate in the survey. A total of 372 households and 30 discussants within a 5-km buffer zone of the forest reserves were selected for interview. Pearson's Chi-square tests were used to test association between independent variables (gender, age, education, wealth status, and household size) and use of forest products. Furthermore, binary logistic regression models were developed to examine determinants of forest products use and land-use and land-cover change. The chi-square results revealed a strong association among the following; charcoal production with gender, age and wealth; use of construction poles with household size; firewood collection with wealth; wild fruits collection with gender and household size; caterpillar collection with education; honey harvesting with gender and wealth; wild vegetable collection and use with education; use of thatching grass with wealth and household size; livestock fodder use with wealth and level of education; collection and use of bush meat with age and residence status; collection of material for brooms with age and wealth respectively. The logistic regression model results revealed that charcoal, construction poles, wild fruits and animal fodder were statistically significant at 1% level while, honey, thatching grass and bush meat were significant at 5%. Gender, age, education, wealth status, household size and residence status were significant determinants in the use of various forest products. Furthermore, the regression model showed that agriculture expansion (p < .031) and population growth (p < .032) were significant determinants of changes in forest cover. The study concludes that there is high level of dependence on forest products by local communities and hence any attempts to avert deforestation should consider addressing social and economic problems faced by local communities. We further conclude that development of sustainable forest management policies and strategies that provide for inclusion of local ecological knowledge and various utilization practices such as charcoal production into sustainable forest management.

Keywords: Miombo woodland; Socio-economic factor; Land-use; Land-cover; Deforestation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:100:y:2019:i:c:p:75-94