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2011-01-21 | project

Investments, Labor Market Participation and Participatory Forest Management in Tanzania

The goal of the proposed project is to improve environmental sustainability and reduce rural poverty in Tanzania. The project seeks to achieve this goal by focusing on PFM, which has its main goal to increase forest stocks. The proposed project looks at the linkage between forest policies and standard on-farm economic effects. The project is therefore expected to increase understanding about how better forest managment impacts critical, standard economic objectives like investments and labor market development

The purpose of the proposed research project is to examine how PFM initiatives affect household investments and participation in labor markets. As a number of authors have noted, accumulation of capital is perhaps the most important factor determining whether the rural poor in low income developing countries are able to improve their situations. Yet little is known about how major forest initiatives like PFM will affect other key focuses on investments that could potentially contribute to fulfilling MDG 1 to halve poverty by 2015.

It is also well-known that participation in labor markets is a critical piece of the poverty reduction puzzle. It is now fairly well-accepted that better functioning labor markets and higher wages reduce deforestation. Yet little is known about how forestry initiatives like PFM affect incentives to participate in labor markets. Do households experiencing generally considered better PFM engage in more off-farm work? Hire in more labor? At the present time virtually nothing is known about these issues. The proposed project seeks to begin the process of closing this knowledge gap.

The project will test several related hypotheses, all of which deal with the impact of generally-considered better PFM on investments and labor market participation. With regard to investments, the project will examine the relationship between PFM and on-farm investments in trees and animals. Also tested will be whether PFM increases off-farm work and hiring of labor.

The outputs of the project will increase understanding of how PFM affects household behaviors that are critical to improving rural livelihoods. The project will shed light on questions of reconciling environmental protection and challenges to reduce rural poverty.

The project will be conducted in Tanzania and Portland, Oregon USA using existing data collected the EfD project titled Improving the Effectiveness of Joint Forest Management in Tanzania, which was funded in 2007.