The prestigious Royal Society in London was a fitting venue for the final conference of CIFOR’s seven-year Poverty and Environment Network research project (PEN). During this one-day policy conference, preliminary results from the PEN global study were presented to an audience of around 200 leading researchers, academics, policy makers, NGOs and the media.
Findings were based on survey data collected from 8000+ rural households living in or near forests, from 58 sites in 24 developing countries. The key preliminary results presented were:
- Forest income constitutes about one fifth of total household income, while environmental income (forest and non-forest) makes up more than one fourth.
- A surprising finding was that overall; forest reliance varies little with income levels. (‘Forest reliance’ is the portionof forest income in total household income.) Hence, forest income benefits not just the poor but everyone at the study sites.
- Another surprising finding was that forests play much less of a role as part of the household safety nets in response to shocks, and in filling recurrent seasonal income gaps.
- Contrary to what has been claimed, the results from the PEN study found that men bring as much or more forest products to the household as women, although there is a clear pattern of women being more involved in subsistence activities and men in cash-earning activities.
- Firewood constitutes the single most important forest product, contributing to about one fifth of forest income on average, followed by timber which contributes 10%.
- More than a quarter of all sample households had cleared forest area for crops within the last year of the survey, with the most well-off 20% of households clearing 30% more than the poorest 20%. Such results do not lend support to the hypothesis that poverty drives deforestation.
The conference and the preliminary results received a lot of attention from the international media, including articles published in Nature News, American Scientist, Scientific American, The Ecologist and many more (click here for links to the full list).
For more information please contact us, the conference organisers, at email@example.com