Rural livelihoods and the Chinese timber trade in Zambia’s Western Province

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In recent years, the increase in China's timber demand has brought increased sourcing by Chinese logging companies worldwide. In Africa, Chinese companies have established both timber buying and logging operations. Although Zambia is not a major producer, it is a repository of several valuable wood species, attracting several Chinese logging companies. The presence of these export-oriented companies is potentially a matter of concern in regards to rural livelihoods and the environment. Using a comparative approach to understand the differences in effect between Chinese and non-Chinese companies, we ask how the timber trade affects rural livelihoods. The results of household and community -level fieldwork in Western Province suggest that the activities of both Chinese and non-Chinese logging companies bring limited benefits to rural communities. Meanwhile, non-Chinese logging companies provided more local employment opportunities. In contrast, Chinese logging companies outbid their non-Chinese counterparts in the local timber market, providing greater opportunities to small-scale loggers
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DOI:
https://doi.org/10.1505/146554814813484095
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