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Contribution of forest provisioning ecosystem services to rural livelihoods in the Miombo woodlands of Zambia

Abstract

This paper examines the contribution of forest provisioning ecosystem services (FPES) to rural households and assesses the contributions of forests to the annual incomes of households in Africa’s Miombo woodlands. The study employed focus group meetings, in-depth interviews, and interviews of households, as stratified by wealth class and head of household gender in Copperbelt, Zambia. The results show that FPES are vitally important in providing food, medicine, fodder, and construction materials to rural livelihoods. FPES provided 43.9 % of the average household’s income and contributed a 10 % income equalisation effect among households, as revealed by the Gini-coefficient analysis. Poorer households received a lower mean annual income from forests than did their intermediate and wealthy counterparts, but in relative terms, forest income made the greatest contribution to the total household incomes of poor households. When stratified by gender, forests contributed 44.4 and 41.8 % of the income of male- and female-headed households, respectively. The study indicates that wealth, rather than gender, was the key determinant of a household’s engagement in the sale of FPES. The inter- and intra-community differentiation in the use and sale of FPES, as revealed in this study, enables more effective targeting of forest management interventions and informs efforts to reconcile the goals of poverty reduction and forest conservation.

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Notes

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    The average distance of the sampled villages to the main road is 11 km.

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Acknowledgements

Sincere thanks to Dr. Monica Di Gregorio and the anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper. We are grateful for the funding made available through a Commonwealth Scholarship awarded to Felix Kanungwe Kalaba. Additional fieldwork funding was provided by the Copperbelt University and the University of Leeds (SRI fieldwork bursary). This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the University of Leeds.

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Correspondence to Felix Kanungwe Kalaba.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 6.

Table 6 Ten most preferred tree species for medicinal purposes (n = 161)

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Kalaba, F.K., Quinn, C.H. & Dougill, A.J. Contribution of forest provisioning ecosystem services to rural livelihoods in the Miombo woodlands of Zambia. Popul Environ 35, 159–182 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11111-013-0189-5

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Keywords

  • Rural livelihoods
  • Ecosystem services
  • Gender
  • Wealth
  • Miombo woodlands