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Livelihood gains and ecological costs of NTFP dependence: assessing the roles of dependence, ecological knowledge and market structure in three contrasting human and ecological settings in south India

Shaanker, R.U. and Ganeshaiah, K.N. and Krishnan, Smitha and Ramya, R. and Meera, C. and Aravind, N.A. and Kumar, Arvind and Rao, Dinesh and Vanraj, G. and Ramachandra, J. and Gauthier, R. and Ghazoul, J. and Poole, Nigel and Chinnappa Reddy, B.V. (2004) 'Livelihood gains and ecological costs of NTFP dependence: assessing the roles of dependence, ecological knowledge and market structure in three contrasting human and ecological settings in south India.' Environmental Conservation, 31 (3). pp. 242-253.

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Abstract

Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) constitute the single largest determinant of livelihoods for scores of forest fringe communities and poor people in the tropics. In India over 50 million people are believed to be directly dependent upon NTFPs for their subsistence. However, such human dependence on NTFPs for livelihood gains (win) has most frequently been at a certain ecological cost (lose). If livelihoods are to be maintained, the existing ‘win-lose’ settings have to be steered to a ‘win-win’ mode, otherwise, there could be severe erosion of the biological resources and loss of livelihoods (‘lose-lose’). Examining the dependence of forest fringe communities on NTFPs at three sites in south India with contrasting human and ecological settings, three key factors (extent of dependence on NTFPs, indigenous ecological knowledge and market organization) are likely to constrain reaching the win-win situation. How these factors shape the ecological cost of harvesting NTFPs at the three sites is examined. Within the parameter space of these factors, it is possible to predict outcomes and associations that will conform to win-win or win-lose situations. Empirical data derived from the three study sites demonstrate the causality of the observed associations. The key for long-term livelihood gains lies in reducing the ecological cost. Certain interventions and recommendations that could optimize the balance between livelihood gains and ecological cost are proposed.

Item Type: Articles
Additional Information: © Foundation for Environmental Conservation; Published by Cambridge University Press
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Financial and Management Studies > Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)
ISSN: 03768929
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1017/S0376892904001596
Depositing User: Nigel Poole
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2009 12:38
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/6243

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