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India’s forests – Stepping stone or millstone for the poor?

Richard Damania, Anupam Joshi and Jason Russ

World Development, 2020, vol. 125, issue C

Abstract: This article investigates the links between forests and poverty in India. We use original data from a household survey in two states of India (Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) to provide new insights into this relationship. The poorest are found to receive about 30% of their incomes from forests – an amount that is higher than the income that they obtain from agriculture. We identify the correlates of greater environmental and forest income in the sample and also seek to examine whether environmental incomes are used only as a safety net during disasters, or for basic consumption purposes too. Our results show that when negative shocks occur there is a higher relative dependence on environmental incomes. The results also suggest that those who are better-off obtain higher levels of environmental income that the poorer. Overall the findings are consistent with environmental incomes and other sources of incomes being complements. In sum, the results suggest that forest income is used for basic consumption, is not a substitute for other sources of income, and is not treated as an “inferior good” that is eschewed by richer groups in the survey.

Keywords: Forests; Poverty; Extreme poor; Environmental incomes; Forest dependence; India (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2018.11.007

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