Browsing by Subject "forest in-come"

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  • Sistonen, Sonja (Helsingfors universitet, 2017)
    In recent years, the Laos economy – driven by the primary sector – has been growing fast, however poverty remains widespread. Economic growth is also influencing the livelihoods of rural people who account for 61% of Lao population and depend highly on forests and environmental resources. Many studies address the role of NTFPs in rural livelihoods globally but the total contribution of forests and environmental resources, and the associated changes in their access and availability, have generally been neglected, also in Laos. The overarching research question of this study aims to determine how dependent rural Lao livelihoods are on forest and environmental products by estimating their contribution in total household income and food security. The other objectives are i) to find out which forest and environmental products households are the most dependent on, ii) to compare NTFPs and timber in their contribution to livelihoods, and iii) to learn how the access to, and the number of, forest products has changed in the past and whether they are expected to change in the future. The primary data used in this study was collected in Mahaxay District, Central Lao PDR in March 2016. Altogether 90 randomly selected households were interviewed using semi-structured surveys in three sample villages purposefully selected along a remoteness gradient. In addition, two focus group discussions (one male and one female) and one key informant interview were conducted in each village to collect village-level background information. It was found that the sample households rely heavily on forests and the environment, especially for food products. In the most remote village 80% of the households would not have had enough to eat without the contribution of NTFPs in their nutrition. On average forest and environmental products contributed to 12% of the cash income of the households interviewed. The cash-equivalent value of subsistence income from forest and environmental products is higher than that of cash income from their sales all three sample villages. There were significant differences between the villages: the poorest village was also the most dependent on forest products for both cash and subsistence income. NTFPs were remarkably more important than timber for both subsistence and cash income. Bamboo shoots, firewood and mushrooms were the most collected forest products. Fallow was the most important land-use type for forest and environmental product collection. There was a strong decrease in both access to forest products and their availability in the past five years, and most sample households also expected the trend of decline to continue into the future. The kind of reliance on forests and wild lands described in this study is threatened by population growth, deforestation and forest degradation associated with Laos’ rapid economic transition. The strong dependency of the rural Lao population on forest and environmental income should be considered also by the Lao government in the aim for green economic transition.