Dependency of Local People on Forest Products: A Case Study in Balipara Reserve Forest, North-Eastern India

Pinky Doley


The dependency of local people on forest products is recognised as an essential driver of sustainable forest conservation and restoration, but empirical studies evaluating it are scant. This study aimed to examine selected household attributes as determinants of people's dependency on forest products in selected villages in Balipara Reserve Forest, Assam, India. A total of 109 households were interviewed through a questionnaire survey in Dharikati and Sopaloga village, along with key informed interviews and focus group discussions with the villagers and government staff. A village-level logit model was used to analyse the pattern and degree of reliance on forest products in the two villages differing in socio-economic profiles. Results suggest that education level, livestock size, and distance to the forest as the key factors that are negatively and significantly associated with forest dependency in Dharikati; whereas, only landholding size was negatively and significantly associated with forest dependency in Sopaloga. On the other hand, the other two variables, family size and age, were insignificant. The income derived from forest has been accounted second-largest share after agricultural income to the total annual household income. Fuelwood was the major forest product and was largely extracted by the local communities. Thus, the results endorse policymakers and the forest department to take initiatives towards higher education accessibility, provision of alternative livelihood portfolios, availability of efficient sources of energy, introduction of advanced agricultural tools and encouraging the active participation of locals in biodiversity conservation and forest management.


Socio-economic factors, forest dependency, logit model, household income


Adam, Y. O. and EL Tayeb, M.A. 2014. Forest dependency and its effect on conservation in Sudan: a case of Sarf-Saaid Reserved Forest in Gadarif state. Agriculture & Forestry, 60(3),107-121.

Ali, N., Hu, X. and Hussain, J. 2020. The dependency of rural livelihood on forest resources in Northern Pakistan’s Chaprote Valley. Global Ecology and Conservation, 22.

Amonge, D.E. and Kumar, A. 2018. Role of fragmented forest in conservation of biota: a study in Baliapara Reserve Forest, Sonitpur District, Assam (India). Journal of Bioresources, 5(1): 18-27.

Angelsen, A., Jagger, P., Babigumira, R., Belcher, B., Hogarth, N. J., Bauch, S., Börner, J., Smith-Hall, C. and Wunder, S. 2014. Environmental Income and Rural Livelihoods: A Global-Comparative Analysis. World Development, 64(S1), S12–S28.

Babulo, B., Muys, B., Nega, F., Tollens, E., Nyssen, J., Deckers, J. and Mathijs, E. 2008. Household livelihood strategies and forest dependence in the highlands of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Agricultural Systems, 98(2), 147–155.

Baral, N. and Heinen, J. T. 2007. Resources use, conservation attitudes, management intervention and park-people relations in the Western Terai landscape of Nepal. Environmental Conservation, 34(1), 64–72.

Basu, A. and Nayak, N. C. 2011. Underlying causes of forest cover change in Odisha, India. Forest Policy and Economics, 13(7), 563-569.

Belcher, B., Achdiawan, R. and Dewi, S. 2015. Forest-based livelihoods strategies conditioned by market remoteness and forest proximity in Jharkhand, India. World Development, 66, 269–279.

Bhandari, D. and Jianhua, Z. 2017. Household Dependency on Buffer Zone Community Forest and its Implication for Management of Chitwan National Park, Nepal. International Journal of Sciences, 3(03), 68–80.

Burns, R. and Burns, R. 2009. Logistic regression. In R. Burns & R. Burns (Eds.), Business research methods and statistics using SPSS (pp. 568–588). London, UK: SAGE.

Bwalya, S. M. 2011. Household dependence on forest income in rural Zambia. Zambia Social Science Journal, 2(1), 6.

Champion, S. H. and Seth, S. K. 1968. A revised survey of the forest types of India. A revised survey of the forest types of India.

Chao, S. 2012. Forest peoples: numbers across the world. Moreton-in-Marsh, UK: Forest Peoples Programme. p-27.

Davidar, P., Sahoo, S., Mammen, P. C., Acharya, P., Puyravaud, J. P., Arjunan, M., Garrigues, J.P. and Roessingh, K. 2010. Assessing the extent and causes of forest degradation in India: Where do we stand?. Biological Conservation, 143(12), 2937-2944.

Enbakom, H. W., Feyssa, D. H. and Takele, S. 2017. Impacts of deforestation on the livelihood of smallholder farmers in Arba Minch Zuria Woreda, Southern Ethiopia. African Journal of Agricultural Research, 12(15), 1293-1305.

FAO. 2014. Contribution of the forestry sector to national economies, 1990–2011, by A. Lebedys and Y. Li. Forest Finance working paper FSFM/ACC/09. FAO, Rome.

Fikir, D., Tadesse, W. and Gure, A. 2016. Economic Contribution to Local Livelihoods and Households Dependency on Dry Land Forest Products in Hammer District, Southeastern Ethiopia. International Journal of Forestry Research, 2016. 1-11.

Fonta, W. M. and Ayuk, E. T. 2013. Measuring the role of forest income in mitigating poverty and inequality: Evidence from south-eastern Nigeria. Forests Trees and Livelihoods, 22(2), 86–105.

Gardner, T.A., Barlow, J., Chazdon, R., Ewers, R.M., Harvey, C.A., Peres, C.A. and Sodhi, N.S. 2009. Prospects for tropical forest biodiversity in a human-modified world. Ecology Letters, 12, 561–582.

Garekae, H., Thakadu, O. T. and Lepetu, J. 2017. Socio-economic factors influencing household forest dependency in Chobe enclave, Botswana. Ecological Processes, 6(1).

Gaston, K. J. 2000. Global patterns in biodiversity. Nature 405: 220–227.

Geist, H. J. and Lambin, E. F. 2001. What drives tropical deforestation. LUCC Report series 4: 116.

Gujarati, D. N. 1995. Basic econometrics. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Heltberg, R., Arndt, T. C. and Sekhar, N. U. 2000. Fuelwood consumption and forest degradation: a household model for domestic energy substitution in rural India. Land Economics, 213-232.

Hussain, J., Zhou, K., Akbar, M., Raza, G., Ali, S., Hussain, A., Abbas, Q., Khan, G., Khan, M., Abbas, H. and Iqbal, S. 2019. Dependence of rural livelihoods on forest resources in Naltar Valley, a dry temperate mountainous region, Pakistan. Global Ecology and Conservation, 20, e00765.

Jain, P. and Sajjad, H. 2016. Household dependency on forest resources in the Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR), India: Implications for management. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 35(1), 60–74.

Jha, S. 2009. Household-specific variables and forest dependency in an Indian hotspot of biodiversity: Challenges for sustainable livelihoods. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 11(6), 1215–1223.

Kabubo‐Mariara, J. 2013. Forest‐poverty nexus: Exploring the contribution of forests to rural livelihoods in Kenya. Natural Resources Forum, 37(3), 177-188.

Kamanga, P., Vedeld, P. and Sjaastad, E. 2009. Forest incomes and rural livelihoods in Chiradzulu District, Malawi. Ecological Economics, 68(3), 613–624.

Kant, S. 2004. Economics of sustainable forest management. Forest Policy and Economics, 6, 197–203.

Karanth, K. K., Curran, L. M. and Reuning-Scherer, J. D. 2006. Village size and forest disturbance in Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Ghats, India. Biological Conservation, 128(2), 147–157.

Lepetu, J., Alavalapati, J. and Nair, P. K. 2009. Forest Dependency and Its Implication for Protected Areas Management: A case Study from Kasane Forest Reserve, Botswana. International Journal of Environmental Research, 3(4), 525-536.

Mamo, G., Sjaastad, E. and Vedeld, P. 2007. Economic dependence on forest resources: A case from Dendi District, Ethiopia. Forest Policy and Economics, 9(8), 916–927.

McSweeney, K. 2004. Forest product sale as natural insurance: the effects of household characteristics and the nature of shock in eastern Honduras. Society and Natural Resources, 17(1), 39-56.

Melaku, E., Ewnetu, Z. and Teketay, D. 2014. Non-timber forest products and household incomes in Bonga forest area, southwestern Ethiopia. Journal of Forestry Research, 25(1), 215–223.

Mukul, S. A., Rashid, A. M., Uddin, M. B. and Khan, N. A. 2016. Role of non-timber forest products in sustaining forest-based livelihoods and rural households' resilience capacity in and around protected area: a Bangladesh study. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 59(4), 628-642.

Namaalwa, J., Sankhayan, P. L. and Hofstad, O. 2007. A dynamic bio-economic model for analyzing deforestation and degradation: An application to woodlands in Uganda. Forest Policy and Economics, 9(5), 479–495.

Ojea, E., Loureiro, M.L., Allo, M. and Barrio, M. 2016. Ecosystem services and REDD: estimating the benefits of non-carbon services in worldwide forests. World Development, 78, 246–261.

Panta, M., Kim, K. H. and Lee, C. Y. 2009. Households' characteristics, forest resources dependency and forest availability in central Terai of Nepal. Journal of Korean Forestry Society. 98(5), 548-557.

Prado Córdova, J.P., Wunder, S., Smith-Hall, C. and Börner, J. 2013. Rural income and forest reliance in highland Guatemala. Environmental Management, 51, 1034-1043.

Rodriguez, L. G., Prez, M. R., Yang, X., Fu, M. and Wu, D. 2009. The changing contribution of forests to livelihoods: evidence from Daxi Village, Zhejiang Province, China. International Forestry Review, 11(3), 319-330.

Senganimalunje, T. C., Chirwa, P. W., Babalola, F. D. and Graham, M. A. 2016. Does participatory forest management program lead to efficient forest resource use and improved rural livelihoods? Experiences from Mua-Livulezi Forest Reserve, Malawi. Agroforestry Systems, 90(4), 691-710.

Shackleton, C. M., Shackleton, S. E., Buiten, E. and Bird, N. 2007. The importance of dry woodlands and forests in rural livelihoods and poverty alleviation in South Africa. Forest policy and economics, 9(5), 558-577.

Sharma, C. K. and Sarma, I. 2014. Issues of conservation and livelihood in a forest village of Assam. International Journal of Rural Management, 10(1), 47–68.

Shova, T. and Hubacek, K. 2011. Drivers of illegal resource extraction: An analysis of Bardia National Park, Nepal. Journal of Environmental Management, 92(1), 156–164.

Suleiman, M. S., Wasonga, V. O., Mbau, J. S., Suleiman, A.a nd Elhadi, Y. A. 2017. Non-timber forest products and their contribution to households income around Falgore Game Reserve in Kano, Nigeria. Ecological Processes, 6(1).

Thapa, S. and Chapman, D. S. 2010. Impacts of resource extraction on forest structure and diversity in Bardia National Park, Nepal. Forest Ecology and Management, 259(3), 641–649.

Vedeld, P., Angelsen, A., Bojö, J., Sjaastad, E. and Kobugabe Berg, G. 2007. Forest environmental incomes and the rural poor. Forest Policy and Economics, 9(7), 869–879.

Walle, Y. and Nayak, D. 2021. Analyzing Households’ Dependency on Non-timber Forest Products, Poverty Alleviation Potential, and Socioeconomic Drivers: Evidence from Metema and Quara Districts in the Dry Forests of Amhara Region, Ethiopia. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 1-28.

Wen, Y., Theint Htun, T. and Chan Ko Ko, A. 2017. Assessment of forest resources dependency for local livelihood around protected area: a case study in Popa Mountain Park, Central Myanmar. International Journal of Sciences, 6(01), 34–43.

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

COPYRIGHT of this Journal vests fully with the National Instional Institute of Ecology. Any commercial use of the content on this site in any form is legally prohibited.