Legal Exclusions, Private Wealth and Livelihoods: An Analysis of Work Time Allocation in Protected Areas

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Do exclusionary forest access regimes have an unequal impact on livelihood activities? This paper analyzes primary data on time allocation to livelihood activities by forest communities in the Indian Himalayas to investigate this question. Estimation results are consistent with the hypothesis that forest access regimes affect both forest extraction behavior and other livelihood strategies. Residents of sanctuary forests, experiencing higher restrictions on forest use, decrease the proportion of time allocated to forest extraction and livestock activities, but compensate by increasing their time allocation to agriculture in comparison to residents of state-controlled protected forests. However, wealthy residents of the wildlife sanctuary expend a higher proportion of their time in managing livestock and extracting forest resources in comparison to its less affluent residents. Thus wealth enables circumvention of access restrictions despite legalization of exclusion. Findings of this study have implications for design of biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration policies.



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