Forest-Poverty Dynamics: Current State of Knowledge

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This chapter reports on evidence about the role of forests and trees in alleviating poverty and supporting wider human well-being. It considers how, whether, where, when and for whom forests and trees are important in forest-poverty dynamics. We organise the evidence according to four possible relationships between forest products and ecosystem services and poverty: 1) helping households move out of poverty; 2) supporting well-being through subsistence, food security and cultural and spiritual values; 3) mitigating risks; and 4) decreasing well-being by generating negative externalities that could significantly contribute to trapping or moving households into poverty. The evidence shows that these relationships are strongly context-dependent, varying with geography and social, economic and political contexts. However, across contexts, we most commonly observe that forest and tree products and services help the poor to secure and stabilise their livelihoods, rather than either helping them exit poverty or driving them into poverty.

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