Contribution of dry forests to rural livelihoods and the national economy in Zambia

Type Conference Paper - Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Title Contribution of dry forests to rural livelihoods and the national economy in Zambia
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
This paper analyses the extent to which dry forests contribute to rural livelihoods and the national economy in Zambia. We used case studies drawn from the literature, data collected from a household survey conducted in eight sites in three of the nine provinces, and secondary data from the Central Statistical Office and the Forestry Department. From the analysis, forest products contribute on average 20.6 percent of total household income (subsistence and cash) in the eight sites, and are the second or first ranked source of income in five of the eight sites. There are large differences among poor and not so poor in total household income and in forest income share. Several products contribute significantly to rural livelihoods and the national economy. Most notably, charcoal and firewood provide 70 percent of the country's energy needs. A wide range of wild foods are common in rural diets, providing essential vitamins and minerals; more than ten leafy vegetable species, twenty-five mushroom types and thirty-five edible species of caterpillars. At the national level, forests provide revenue for the government from taxes, fees, royalties and other charges levied on forest-based activities although the relative importance is small given that the majority of forest users extract low-value products mainly for subsistence uses and only a small part of the trade is recorded. From our analysis, we find that forests are recognized to have an important poverty mitigation function but are not a means alone to move most people out of poverty

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