Developing alternative income generation activities reduces forest dependency of the poor and enhances their livelihoods: the case of the Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary, Bangladesh
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Chunati Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) has undergone a number of biodiversity restoration programs in the last three decades. Yet, its biodiversity degradation could not be fully checked due to people’s tremendous forest-dependency for their livelihoods. A livelihood support program was implemented from January 2012 to June 2015 aiming to reduce households’ forest-dependency through the development of Alternative Income Generating Activities (AIGAs). The treatment households were classed into regular and model households. While both regular and model households got financial and technical supports to start AIGAs, model households also got integrated production and monitoring supports. There was a control group with similar socioeconomic conditions without any project support. The Difference in Difference method was employed to assess the effectiveness of this program. The net monthly income from AIGA sources increased by BDT 2816 and BDT 1932 for regular and model households, respectively. In other non-forestry sources, these figures were BDT 8965 and BDT 8074, respectively. On the contrary, monthly fuelwood collection decreased by 227 kg for a regular household and 251 kg for a model household. We conclude that the livelihood program has significantly increased households’ total income through non-forestry sources while reducing their dependency on forest resources.