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Forest Dependency, Property Rights and Local Level Institutions: Empirical Evidence from Ethiopia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Beyene, Abebe Damte
Conference: Sustaining Commons: Sustaining Our Future, the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Hyderabad, India
Conf. Date: January 10-14
Date: 2011
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/7272
Sector: Forestry
Region: Africa
Subject(s): property rights
Abstract: "This study examines the role of local level institutions and property right regimes on the forest poverty link using data from a random sample of rural households in Ethiopia. The determinants of forest dependency were examined separately for different types of forest property right regimes. The results of full maximum likelihood estimation suggests that forest dependency measured in terms of total time spent for collection and share of income derived from non wood forest products (NWFPs) from community forests is negatively related to the wealth status of the household. On the other hand, forest resource use from open access areas are positively correlated with wealth suggesting that there is a need to expand the current practice of participatory forest management (PFM) to other open access forest areas. In line with the above argument, it is necessary to identify the constraints for rural households to participate in community forestry. The role of local institutions and socioeconomic characteristics of households on forest dependency on community forests were also examined. Our estimation results, which are consistent across the different measures of forest dependency, suggest that local level institutions are not significant factors in determining use of non wood forest products unlike major forest products such as timber or woody materials in general. Instead, variables such as age of the household head, off farm activities, livestock ownership, forest density and access to private sources are more important than local level institutions. All are negatively related to share of income, total time spent collecting and total income derived from NWFPs from community forests. From the study results we also conclude that generalization on the forest-poverty link depends on the type of forest management and the specific characteristics that prevail in the area."

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