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Unintended Impacts from Forest Certification: Evidence from Indigenous Aka Households in Congo

Jacqueline Doremus

No 1804, Working Papers from California Polytechnic State University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Does Forest Stewardship Council certification of \responsible" commercial forestrychange nutrition, health and wealth for indigenous peoples, like the Aka of the Congo Basin? Using hand-collected data from the boundary of a certified and an uncertified forest in the Republic of Congo five years after certification, I compare nutrition, health, and wealth using questions that are locally salient and survey timing designed to reach semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers. Though I only observe outcomes after certification, I find suggestive evidence that forest certification may cause increased food insecurity and illness frequency for Aka households. I find no evidence of increased material wealth; instead, the poorest 15th percentile is poorer. Forest certification includes a bundle of activities, including participatory mapping, greater market integration and hunting restrictions, making it difficult to pinpoint the mechanisms driving these results.

Keywords: Forestry; eco-label; sustainability; indigenous peoples (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 O18 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr, nep-agr and nep-env
Date: 2018
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