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Forest environmental income in Vietnam: household socioeconomic factors influencing forest use

  • PAMELA D. MCELWEE (a1)
Summary

Much research has focused on understanding the importance of forest environmental income in different communities and highlighting key socioeconomic characteristics of forest-dependent households. This paper examines the economic importance of forests among rural agriculturalists in Vietnam. Data were collected through a questionnaire survey of 104 households in five study villages in Ha Tinh province in north central Vietnam surrounding the Ke Go Nature Reserve (KGNR). Variables such as migration status of the household, age, income class and landholdings were used to identify characteristics of households with high forest income in both absolute and relative terms. More than half of households reported receiving forest environmental income in cash. Socioeconomic variables were compared between forest cash income (FCI) households and non-FCI households. Non-FCI households had more alternative income sources from wage labour and livestock, while FCI households were significantly younger, tended to live closer to the forest and had larger landholdings. Contrary to other research on forest use, the households deriving the most forest income in both absolute and relative terms were not the poorer households, but those in the middle class. These findings highlight the need for conservation and development projects to pay attention to the specific household factors that influence forest use, rather than relying on assumptions that poverty and forests are always linked.

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*Correspondence: Dr Pamela McElwee Tel: +1 480 727 0736 Fax: +1 480 727 8292 e-mail: pamela.mcelwee@asu.edu
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