Determinants of Household Income at Redd+ Project Site in Southern Leyte, Philippines

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Nature and Importance of the study

Loss of forests, through deforestation and forest degradation, has been estimasted to account between 12% and 20% of global greenhouse emission per annum (Saatchi et al 2011). While hundreds of upland dwellers depend on agriculture and forest resources as their main sources of income, the government on the other hand aims to conserve the remaining forest (Weidner et al 2011). Reducing Emission of Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) is a project adopted by the Philippine government to address this problem. The goals of REDD are to reduce forest-related climate emissions, sequester more carbon and financially benefit low-income countries, communities and forest users. However, REDD was broadened considerably into REDD plus. REDD+ goes beyond reducing emission on deforestation and forest degradation. It includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

The remaining forests in the Philippines are highly under pressure (Weidner et al 2011). Southern Leyte is considered as a recipient of REDD+ programs since it has forest but either totally destroyed or heavily degraded and considerable areas has been turned into an upland farm. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD 2010) reported that the high incidence of poverty in uplands is due to declining farm productivity, smaller farm sizes, and unsustainable farm practices, which led farmers to engage in deforestation. Farmers opt to plant annual crops, as cash crops, to replace harvested timber since immediate income can be generated on selling crops rather than the long term planting on trees and selling timbers (Weidner et al 2011). This scenario leads to further deforestation as they depend deeply on farming as their source of income.

Although upland farming has been the common means of livelihood, income among households differ from each other due to their varied socio-economic attributes as well as the physical and institutional enhancing factors and constraints present in every farming household. According to Armenia et al 2011, majority of the households in REDD+ project sites are low-income earners. With their dependence on upland farming, implementing REDD+ could affect the household’s means of living through limited access to forest resources. Although the REDD+ program provides incentives to those forest-dependent communities, the assurance that all households will receive the REDD+ incentives is critical (Bluffstone et al 2011). Identifying the determinants of household income is a useful strategy to have a better understanding on what, how and to what extent the major factors affects household income. In addition, information about these major contributors in income will help the policy makers identify the needed interventions to improve their living. Profiling of household income is a useful technique to give an overview of low-, middle- and high- income households in terms of their similarities and dissimilarities in economic activities. Hence, this will aid for an easier identification of the major contributors of their income.

Statement of the Problem

Income among upland farmers varies from each other due to their different socio-economic, physical and institutional attributes. Majority of the households in REDD+ sites are poor, in view to the fact that they have limited access to resources such as land. Determining the factors that affect income will help us to have a better understanding as to what factors contribute to the differences in household income. Identifying these factors may provide appropriate policy implication that could serve as inputs for the REDD+ project intervention. However, determining the factors that affects income are somehow...
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