Forest-based livelihood choices and their determinants in Western Kenya

Peer Reviewed
24 December 2020

Purity Yego, Robert Mbeche, Josiah Ateka, Eucabeth Majiwa

Forest extraction is an important livelihood activity for millions of low-income households in rural areas of developing countries. Understanding the choices households make to extract forest products can help formulate strategies for preventing livelihood strains associated with forest degradation. This article evaluates the nature, extent and determinants of forest extraction among rural households in western Kenya. Data were obtained from a survey of 924 randomly selected households in the Mt. Elgon area in western Kenya. The level of forest extraction was measured as the aggregate value of products extracted, while a Double Hurdle model was applied to assess the factors influencing forest extraction. The results show that the choice to engage in forest-based livelihood was generally higher among households with lower asset value, membership in forest user associations, and headed by males. The results further show that although the majority of households’ engaging in forest-based livelihood were of the lowest wealth category, households in the middle wealth category were found to extract higher value products. Institutional characteristics, including access to agricultural markets, credit, extension, and membership to forest user groups, increased the likelihood of households’ extracting higher value products. Overall, the results show that in addition to asset endowment, other contextual factors, such as access to markets, agricultural extension, and membership to farmer groups defined whether a household extracted forest products for survival or accumulation.

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Publication reference
Yego, P., Mbeche, R., Ateka, J., & Majiwa, E. (2021). Forest-based livelihood choices and their determinants in Western Kenya. Forest Science and Technology, 1–9. doi:10.1080/21580103.2020.1870577
Publication | 21 March 2021