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Towards understanding household-level forest reliance in Cambodia – study sites, methods, and preliminary findings.

by Shreya Mehta last modified Feb 20, 2013 01:31 AM
Contributors: Ra, K., Pichdara, L., Dararath, Y., Jiao, X, Smith-Hall, C.

Hundreds of millions of poor people live within or adjacent to forest areas. There is evidence that forest products are harvested in significant quantities by a large number of households across virtually all forest types in developing countries (Scoones et al., 1992; Pérez and Arnold, 1996; Neumann and Hirsch, 2000; Cunningham, 2001). Frameworks have been developed for analysing and understanding different types of forest reliance (Byron and Arnold, 1999) and the continuum of forest-people interactions (Wiersum, 1997). Research on the role and potential of forests in preventing and reducing poverty is, however, very limited and can be considered an emerging field of inquiry. The term “poverty” is here used in the traditional materialistic manner, lack of income and assets (Angelsen and Wunder, 2003). Existing literature has been critically examined with the aim of understanding forestpoverty linkages and the potential of forests in poverty alleviation (Arnold and Bird, 1999; Arnold, 2001; Wunder, 2001; Angelsen and Wunder, 2003; Scherr et al., 2004; Sunderlin and Ba, 2005), and a World Bank paper uses a meta-analysis of 54 case studies to assess rural reliance on forest income and make recommendations on appropriate research methodologies (Vedeld et al., 2004). They noted that comparisons were generally not possible because of varying methods. Thus our knowledge of the actual and potential role of forests in poverty alleviation remains rudimentary, and views on the role of forests in providing pathways out of poverty range from sceptic (e.g. Wunder, 2001) to optimistic (e.g. Scherr et al., 2004). Just comparing the existing heterogeneous forest valuation studies is challenging if not impossible (Wollenberg and Nawir, 1998; Sheil and Wunder, 2002; Vedeld et al., 2004). To obtain a better understanding, new in-depth studies across a range of different sites are required, using bestpractice and unified methodologies that enable comparison and synthesis.

Author(s): Ra, K. , Pichdara, L. , Dararath, Y. , Jiao, X , Smith-Hall, C.

Publication Date: 2011

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