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Assessing poverty-deforestation links: Evidence from Swat, Pakistan

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  • Khan, Shaheen Rafi
  • Khan, Shahrukh Rafi
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    Abstract

    This paper contributes to the debate on the links between poverty and forestry degradation; the view that due to poverty and the meeting of subsistence needs the poor use natural resources more intensively and hence cause them to degrade. Using the case of the forest rich Swat district, Pakistan, the paper addresses the issue empirically, historically, and institutionally. We do not find empirical support for the "poverty-environment nexus", in that the poor and other income groups are equally resource dependent and also show that resource degradation is not associated with poverty. Our historical and institutional analyses provide alternative explanations for resource degradation. Selective and rotating ownership patterns, starting with the 17th century, provided limited incentive for resource conservation. It also created tension between de jure and de facto owners, that has persisted, and is one source of forest degradation. Ill-defined resource rights have also exacerbated the impacts of several other factors contributing to forest degradation which is compounded by poor management, corruption, and perverse incentives.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 10 (August)
    Pages: 2607-2618

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:10:p:2607-2618

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Ecological degradation Deforestation Poverty Local institutions Resource management;

    References

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    1. Duraiappah, Anantha K., 1998. "Poverty and environmental degradation: A review and analysis of the nexus," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(12), pages 2169-2179, December.
    2. Agudelo, Camilo & Rivera, Bernardo & Tapasco, Jeimar & Estrada, Ruben, 2003. "Designing Policies to Reduce Rural Poverty and Environmental Degradation in a Hillside Zone of the Colombian Andes," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(11), pages 1921-1931, November.
    3. Adhikari, Bhim, 2005. "Poverty, property rights and collective action: understanding the distributive aspects of common property resource management," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(01), pages 7-31, February.
    4. Swinton, Scott M. & Quiroz, Roberto, 2003. "Is Poverty to Blame for Soil, Pasture and Forest Degradation in Peru's Altiplano?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(11), pages 1903-1919, November.
    5. Scherr, Sara J., 2000. "A downward spiral? Research evidence on the relationship between poverty and natural resource degradation," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 479-498, August.
    6. Dasgupta, Susmita & Deichmann, Uwe & Meisner, Craig & Wheeler, David, 2005. "Where is the Poverty-Environment Nexus? Evidence from Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 617-638, April.
    7. Edella Schlager & Elinor Ostrom, 1992. "Property-Rights Regimes and Natural Resources: A Conceptual Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 68(3), pages 249-262.
    8. Swinton, Scott M. & Escobar, German & Reardon, Thomas, 2003. "Poverty and Environment in Latin America: Concepts, Evidence and Policy Implications," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(11), pages 1865-1872, November.
    9. Narain, Urvashi & Gupta, Shreekant & van 't Veld, Klaas, 2008. "Poverty and resource dependence in rural India," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 161-176, May.
    10. A. Markandya, 1998. "Poverty, Income Distribution and Policy Making," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 459-472, April.
    11. Cavendish, William, 2000. "Empirical Regularities in the Poverty-Environment Relationship of Rural Households: Evidence from Zimbabwe," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(11), pages 1979-2003, November.
    12. Ravnborg, Helle Munk, 2003. "Poverty and Environmental Degradation in the Nicaraguan Hillsides," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(11), pages 1933-1946, November.
    13. Dasgupta, Susmita & Deichmann, Uwe & Meisner, Craig & Wheeler, David, 2003. "The poverty/environment nexus in Cambodia and Lao People's Democratic Republic," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2960, The World Bank.
    14. Reddy, S. R. C. & Chakravarty, S. P., 1999. "Forest Dependence and Income Distribution in a Subsistence Economy: Evidence from India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(7), pages 1141-1149, July.
    15. Deininger, Klaus W & Minten, Bart, 1999. "Poverty, Policies, and Deforestation: The Case of Mexico," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 313-44, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Reetz, Sunny W.H. & Schwarze, Stefan & Bruemmer, Bernhard, 2012. "Poverty and Tropical Deforestation by Smallholders in Forest Margin Areas: Evidence from Central Sulawesi, Indonesia," 2012 Conference, August 18-24, 2012, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 126326, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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