Patterns of forest cover and forest degradation determine the size and types of ecosystem services forests provide. Particularly in low-income countries, nontimber forest product (NTFP) extraction by rural people, which provides important resources and income to the rural poor, contributes to the level and pattern of forest degradation.
Although recent policy, particularly in Africa, emphasizes forest degradation, relatively little research describes the spatial aspects of NTFP collection that lead to spatial degradation patterns. This paper reviews both the spatial empirical work on NTFP extraction and related forest degradation patterns, and spatial models of behavior of rural people who extract NTFPs from forest. Despite the impact of rural people's behavior on resulting quantities and patterns of forest resources, spatial–temporal models/patterns rarely inform park siting and sizing decisions, econometric assessments of park effectiveness, development projects to support conservation, or REDD protocols. Using the literature review as a lens, we discuss the models' implications for these policies with particular emphasis on effective conservation spending and leakage
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