Do Tropical Forests Provide A Safety Net? Income Shocks And Forest Extraction In Malawi
We use seasonal household data on income shocks and forest extraction to study how households in Malawi use forests to cope with income shortfalls. In particular, we study household response to receipt of a positive income shock delivered in the form of a technology assistance package. We estimate a random-effects model of forest extraction to examine whether household forest use is responsive to income shocks received in a prior period. We also measure the extent to which households subsequently save out of transitory income. Findings indicate that forest extraction by asset-poor households was more responsive to income shocks than forest extraction by better-off households. Findings also suggest households save out of transitory income, and in the process accumulate physical assets that may reduce their dependence on forests for weathering subsequent income shocks. Results show how policies aimed at poverty alleviation among those living adjacent to tropical forests can also alleviate forest pressure.
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