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Household Surveys on Forest Use, Poverty, and Vulnerability to Natural Hazards in Georgia

CHALLENGE

As assessment in the 1990s found that Georgia’s forest cover accounts for approximately 40% of the country’s land area. However, no updated assessment has been conducted since then. The forest area may have increased due to natural regeneration in abandoned farms in mountainous areas; but illegal logging may have led to considerable forest degradation as well. A number of efforts are underway in Georgia to gain a better understanding of the country’s forest resources and policy challenges, but there is still little information on how the rural population depends on forests, how forests are used for pasture and fodder production, and how the proximity to and use of forest resources affect the resilience of communities vulnerable to natural disasters.

APPROACH

This study will map out the forests and pastures in sample communities prone to natural disasters. The team will undertake socio-economic surveys to ascertain the current use and removal of forest resources, the value of these activities, and levels of dependence on forests. The study’s results will be used to propose recommendations on how forests can be managed more sustainably for the benefit of local communities and the greater society in Georgia.

RESULTS

A survey of 950 households in 95 coummunities was completed in 2016. The survey found forests and forest products play a surprisingly important role for households‚Äô income when analyzed through imputed income, with almost half of participating households collecting or selling forest produce. The share of total income from forests for poor households constituted roughly a third of their income, while for the nonpoor, the share was only 2 percent. The survey found that formal commercial forest activities play only a marginal role in rural Georgia.These findings will likely inform government policies, including pro-poor policies that increase forest-based incomes. 

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Last Updated : 07-17-2018

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