University of Sussex
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Poverty within tropical forest: assets and activities to develop pro-poor forest conservation

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:50 authored by Emilie Perge
Poverty within forests is often acknowledged but poorly assessed through economic evi- dence. To some extent, this lack of evidence explains why even if forest conservation has positive effects on households' welfare, such benefits are quite limited. This thesis is aimed at investigating in three steps how forest conservation can help poor forest households to improve their welfare. A first chapter deals with assessing poverty of forest households in Bolivia looking at their asset accumulation and allowing for a poverty trap mechanism that may arise, preventing households to be better off. The empirical analysis does not find evidence for the exis- tence of a poverty trap. Households are slowly accumulating assets over time but such an accumulation does not lead to any improvements in their welfare. Households would remain persistently poor. A second chapter focuses on forest households' labour supply and allocations. Using primary data I collected in Cameroon, a non-separable agricultural household model is employed to identify factors influencing household labour supply and allocations into di- verse activities. The empirical results shows that leisure is an inferior good, households working more when having greater income. Furthermore, households participating in for- est activities have higher levels of welfare than households that do not. Increasing prices of forest resources helps households to improve their welfare. The last chapter deals with designing payments for forest conservation so as to encourage forest households to internalise externalities. These payments are theoretically analysed using a principal-agent game in order to define incentives such that a forest group plants and conserves a great number of trees. Payments are non-zero when observing such con- servation levels and equal to zero in all other cases. Doing so creates a virtuous circle on forest resources. Pro-poor conservation schemes as opposed to non-pro poor, are achiev- able with lower payments.


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