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The role of trees for sustainable management of less-favored lands: the case of eucalyptus in Ethiopia

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  • Jagger, Pamela
  • Pender, John

Abstract

In recent years the planting of eucalyptus trees in Ethiopia has expanded from State owned plantations to community woodlots and household compounds. In an environment suffering from severe woody biomass shortages water scarcity, erosion and land degradation, fast growing and resilient eucalyptus species perform better than most indigenous woodland and forest tree species (as well as most crops). In addition to increasing biomass and providing ground cover, the sale of eucalyptus poles and products has substantial potential to raise farm incomes, reduce poverty, increase food security and diversify smallholder-farming systems in less-favored areas of northern Ethiopia. Despite the potential for eucalyptus to improve rural livelihoods in northern Ethiopia in 1997, the regional government of Tigray imposed a ban on eucalyptus tree planting on farmlands. The regional government promotes planting of eucalyptus and other species in community woodlots, and has recently begun to allow private planting of eucalyptus on community wasteland and steep hillsides. In this paper, we review the debate about the ecological impacts of eucalyptus trees, as well as the economic factors that influence whether smallholders invest in these trees. Ex ante benefit-cost analysis based on community level survey data from Tigray illustrates that under most conditions planting eucalyptus trees yields high rates of return, well above 20% under most circumstances. The effect of variable harvest rates, the costs of decreased crop production when eucalyptus trees are planted on farmlands, and differences between administrative zones are considered relative to our base case in our rate of return estimates. The importance of fast growing tree species that can accommodate the high discount rates associated with smallholders in this region is emphasized.
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  • Jagger, Pamela & Pender, John, 2003. "The role of trees for sustainable management of less-favored lands: the case of eucalyptus in Ethiopia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 83-95, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:5:y:2003:i:1:p:83-95
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    1. Pender, John L., 1996. "Discount rates and credit markets: Theory and evidence from rural india," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 257-296, August.
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    1. repec:eee:forpol:v:84:y:2017:i:c:p:102-111 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gelo, Dambala & Koch, Steven F., 2012. "Does one size fit all? Heterogeneity in the valuation of community forestry programs," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 85-94.
    3. repec:eee:forpol:v:84:y:2017:i:c:p:112-119 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jagger, Pamela & Pender, John & Gebremedhin, Berhanu, 2005. "Trading Off Environmental Sustainability for Empowerment and Income: Woodlot Devolution in Northern Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(9), pages 1491-1510, September.
    5. Pienkowski, Thomas & Williams, Sophie & McLaren, Kurt & Wilson, Byron & Hockley, Neal, 2015. "Alien invasions and livelihoods: Economic benefits of invasive Australian Red Claw crayfish in Jamaica," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 68-77.
    6. Gebreegziabher, Zenebe & van Kooten, G. Cornelis, 2013. "Does community and household tree planting imply increased use of wood for fuel? Evidence from Ethiopia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 30-40.
    7. Adam, Y.O. & Eltayeb, A.M., 2016. "Forestry decentralization and poverty alleviation: A review," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 300-307.
    8. Balana, Bedru Babulo & Muys, Bart & Haregeweyn, Nigussie & Descheemaeker, Katrien & Deckers, Jozef & Poesen, Jean & Nyssen, Jan & Mathijs, Erik, 2012. "Cost-benefit analysis of soil and water conservation measure: The case of exclosures in northern Ethiopia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 27-36.
    9. Narita, Daiju & Lemenih, Mulugeta & Shimoda, Yukimi & Ayana, Alemayehu N., 2017. "Toward an Accounting of the Values of Ethiopian Forests as Natural Capital," Working Papers 140, JICA Research Institute.
    10. Gelo, Dambala & Koch, Steven F., 2015. "Contingent valuation of community forestry programs in Ethiopia: Controlling for preference anomalies in double-bounded CVM," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 79-89.
    11. Carlsson, Fredrik & Köhlin, Gunnar & Mekonnen, Alemu, 2004. "Contingent valuation of community plantations in Ethiopia: a look into value elicitation formats and intra-household preference variations," Working Papers in Economics 151, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    12. Haggblade, Steven & Tembo, Gelson & Donovan, Cynthia, 2004. "Household Level Financial Incentives to Adoption of Conservation Agricultural Technologies in Africa," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 54466, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    13. Gebreegziabher, Zenebe & Mekonnen, Alemu & Kassie, Menale & Köhlin, Gunnar, 2010. "Household Tree Planting in Tigrai, Northern Ethiopia: Tree Species, Purposes, and Determinants," Discussion Papers dp-10-01-efd, Resources For the Future.
    14. Justin Visagie & Dorrit Posel, 2011. "A reconsideration of what and who is middle class in South Africa," Working Papers 249, Economic Research Southern Africa.
    15. Pender, John, 2004. "Development pathways for hillsides and highlands: some lessons from Central America and East Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 339-367, August.
    16. Maryudi, Ahmad & Nawir, Ani A. & Permadi, Dwiko B. & Purwanto, Ris H. & Pratiwi, Dian & Syofi'i, Ahmad & Sumardamto, Purnomo, 2015. "Complex regulatory frameworks governing private smallholder tree plantations in Gunungkidul District, Indonesia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 1-6.

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