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The value of forests to poor communities within or around the forest has been garnering increasingly more attention. A recent study partially commissioned by the World Bank reveals that in some 54 case studies evaluated, forest income averaged 22% of total income. The income generated from forest use by these communities serves many roles, including as a primary income source, a secondary income source, and as a safety net to alleviate production shocks to other income-generating activities. From a policy perspective, especially in terms of poverty alleviation and forest management, an understanding of the degree and manner by which poor forest communities depend and draw upon potentially scarce forest resources may be useful. Furthermore, identification of factors that influence the degree and manner of forest dependence would likely help policymakers develop more effective forest conservation strategies and poverty reduction policies. This research intends to identify the degree and manner by which forest-fringe communities rely on the forest and investigate factors that might give rise to such reliance. In particular, factors such as agricultural land quality, market integration, and socioeconomic and demographic variables will be tested for their influence on both the magnitude and type of forest reliance. Our study focuses on a group of rural aboriginal communities, the Jah Hut, whose villages are contiguous with the Krau Forest Reserve in Pahang, Malaysia. Data were collected through a household income and soil survey in March 2003.


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