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Assessing poverty-deforestation links: Evidence from Swat, Pakistan

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  • Khan, Shaheen Rafi
  • Khan, Shahrukh Rafi

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Khan, Shaheen Rafi & Khan, Shahrukh Rafi, 2009. "Assessing poverty-deforestation links: Evidence from Swat, Pakistan," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2607-2618, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:10:p:2607-2618
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Reetz, Sunny W.H. & Schwarze, Stefan & Brümmer, 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.
    2. Prabath Nishantha Edirisinghe, "undated". "Are All Shifting Cultivators poor? Evidence from Sri Lanka's Dry zones," Working papers 115, The South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics.
    3. Ge, Xiaodong & Li, Yaoguang & Luloff, Albert E. & Dong, Kaikai & Xiao, Jun, 2015. "Effect of agricultural economic growth on sandy desertification in Horqin Sandy Land," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 53-63.
    4. Naidu, Sirisha C., 2011. "Access to benefits from forest commons in the Western Himalayas," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 202-210.
    5. Narloch, Ulf & Bangalore, Mook, 2018. "The multifaceted relationship between environmental risks and poverty: new insights from Vietnam," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 87553, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. repec:ipg:wpaper:2014-603 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Prabath Nishantha Edirisinghe & H.M.B.S. Hearath, 2017. "Are All Shifting Cultivators Poor? Evidence from Sri Lanka’s Dry Zones," Working Papers id:11930, eSocialSciences.

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