Forests and poverty alleviation

Forests and poverty alleviation

It focuses on the role of forests, particularly natural ones, in poverty alleviation in
developing countries. While some attention is given to the potential of planted forests
and agroforestry to alleviate poverty, space constraints allow only a passing reference
to trees outside forests. Thus, while not attempting to provide an extensive analysis of
the topic, the chapter defines forest-based poverty alleviation, examines the potential of
forests in this regard, notes obstacles to progress, identifies conditions that may
strengthen the role of forests in alleviating poverty, and proposes several strategies to
improve the contributions of the forest sector. Forests can be vital safety nets, helping
rural people to avoid, mitigate or rise out of poverty. This function is unknown to many
policy-makers and planners because it is not well understood or explained. One reason
is that the contribution of forests to poor households is largely unrecorded in national
statistics, as most of it is for subsistence or for trade on local markets. In addition,
most wealth from timber goes to better-off segments of society, while some aspects of
the access to and processing of timber resources actually inhibit their potential to
assist marginalized people. Despite these obstacles, the contribution of forests to
poverty alleviation can be increased, provided that decision-makers recognize and act
on this potential.

Authors: Sunderlin, W.D.; Angelsen, A.; Wunder, S.

Topic: forest resources,poverty,developing countries,natural resources

Publisher: FAO, Rome, Italy

Publication Year: 2003

ISBN: 92-5-104865-7

Source: FAO State of the world's forests 2003. 61-73

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