The role of non-timber forest products for livelihood diversification in Southwest Ethiopia

M. Chilalo, K.F. Wiersum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The use of Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) has received attention in light of their perceived potential to address both poverty reduction and tropical forest conservation. Based on a survey amongst 145 households, this paper describes the role and significance of NTFPs in the livelihoods of rural communities in the mid-hills and uplands of Southwest Ethiopia. The local people are engaged in multiple household activities including annual and perennial crop production, collection of forest products and off-farm employment. The present study shows that most NTFPs are collected and used locally, but forest coffee and honey are also marketed; their income represents almost 50% of total household cash income. These products are also locally produced through agroforestry practices. Three household strategies in respect to NTFP production are distinguished: a diversification strategy, a specialization strategy and a coping strategy. The value of the NTFPs is higher in mid-hills zones with a landscape mosaic of forests, agroforestry systems and agricultural fields than in the more remote upland zone with a much higher forest cover. The highest potential for NTFPs contributing to rural livelihoods is in forested landscapes rather than in large forest complexes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-59
JournalEthiopian e-Journal for Research and Innovation Foresight
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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