Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 139–155 | Cite as

The contribution of non-timber forest products (NTFPs) to rural household revenues in two villages in south-eastern Burkina Faso

  • Anna Leßmeister
  • Katja Heubach
  • Anne Mette Lykke
  • Adjima Thiombiano
  • Rüdiger Wittig
  • Karen Hahn


Non-timber forest product (NTFP) providing species constitute substantial components of West African agroforestry systems and contribute considerably to local livelihoods. The aim of our study was to measure the annual economic contribution of NTFPs to local livelihoods in two villages of south-eastern Burkina Faso, focusing on the following specific questions: What is the average share of NTFPs in local household income? Which socio-economic variables affect total household income and NTFP dependency? How does NTFP income vary between (i) villages, (ii) ethnic groups and (iii) different income groups? Does NTFP income have an equalising effect on income inequality? Applying structured household surveys, we investigated the economic contribution of NTFPs household revenues among 155 households. NTFPs accounted for the second largest income share (45 %) of total household income compared to other income sources, i.e. crop production, livestock breeding and off-farm activities. We found that poorer households depend more on income from NTFPs than wealthier households, even though the latter earned more from NTFPs in absolute terms. In general, income from NTFPs had an equalising effect on income inequality. Furthermore, we discovered significant differences in NTFP dependency between the two investigated villages and across the three main ethnic groups (Gourmantché, Mossi, Fulani) reflecting different species compositions in their surroundings as well as different traditional uses and harvesting practices. Thus, we argue that management recommendations for agroforestry systems and poverty alleviation need to consider local differences with regard to site-specific species composition as well as ethnic-specific NTFP use patterns and habits.


Household income Non-timber forest products NTFP dependency Rural livelihood Socio-economics West Africa 



The authors acknowledge the funding of the project by UNDESERT (EU FP7 243906): “Understanding and combating desertification to mitigate its impact on ecosystem services”, financed by the European Commission, Directorate General for Research and Innovation, Environment Program. The authors are grateful to the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation of Burkina Faso for research permit, to all household members for participation in the survey and sharing their knowledge. Further, the authors thank Lardia Thiombiano for field assistance and translation and Yvonne Bachmann for the compilation of the map.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Ecology, Evolution and DiversityJ.W. Goethe UniversityFrankfurt/MainGermany
  2. 2.Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbHEschbornGermany
  3. 3.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversitySilkeborgDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Plant Biology and PhysiologyUniversity of OuagadougouOuagadougouBurkina Faso
  5. 5.Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research CentreFrankfurt/MainGermany

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