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Research article2021Peer reviewed

Development opportunities, forest use transition, and farmers' income differentiation: The impacts of Giant panda reserves in China

Li, Yi; Gong, Peichen; Ke, Jiesheng


This paper examines the impact of the natural conservation policy in China's giant panda reserves on forest resource utilization and its economic consequences. Different support policies have created different development opportunities for local communities and farmers, which have led to changes in forest use by farmers and their forest-related livelihoods. The empirical results indicate that the use of forest resources by communities and farmers is changing from traditional consumptive uses, such as timber harvest and the collection of nontimber products, to nonconsumptive uses such as ecotourism, forest farming and forest guard. While the share of farmers who are dependent on forests has generally been similar (30%-39%), farmers who are engaged in different types of forest-related activities have shown significant income differentiation. With more participation in eco-tourism, farmers are more likely to become a wealthy group with high income and high assets, whereas engaging in forest farming and logging and NTFP gathering is not conducive to increasing farmers' current incomes. The income inequality among the farmers in the study area is more serious than in other regions. Promoting equal opportunities through diversification and the wide participation of poor groups should be one of the directions for community development in the giant panda reserves.


Development opportunities; Forest utilization; Income-asset portfolio

Published in

Ecological Economics
2021, Volume: 180, article number: 106869
Publisher: ELSEVIER

    Sustainable Development Goals

    End poverty in all its forms everywhere
    Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
    Reduce inequality within and among countries

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