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International Journal of Forestry Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 5847068, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/5847068
Research Article

Livelihoods and Welfare Impacts of Forest Comanagement

1School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2DG, UK
2Institute of Advanced Study of Sustainability, United Nations University, No. 53-70, Jingumae 5-Chome, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925, Japan
3Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation, School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2DG, UK

Received 25 April 2016; Accepted 14 August 2016

Academic Editor: Ilan Vertinsky

Copyright © 2016 Linda Chinangwa et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Comanagement programmes are gaining popularity among governments as one way of improving rural livelihoods. However, evidence of their effects on the livelihoods and welfare remains unclear. We used the sustainable livelihoods framework and stated preference techniques to assess the livelihoods and welfare impacts of forest comanagement on 213 households in Zomba and Ntchisi districts. The results show that approximately 63% of respondents perceive that, overall, comanagement has had no impact on their livelihoods. However, the programme is enhancing financial capital by introducing externally subsidised income generating activities and human and social capital among some community members through training programmes. A majority of households (80%) are willing to pay annual membership fees to participate in the programme (mean = 812 Malawi Kwacha), because of perceived potential future benefits. Education, gender of the household head, a positive perception of current livelihoods benefits, and a position on the committee increase household willingness to pay membership fees. However, the positive willingness to pay despite the negative perception of overall livelihoods impacts may also demonstrate the weaknesses of relying on stated preference surveys alone in estimating welfare effects.