The prevailing literature on poverty-environment links mostly presents a rather deterministic view of the nexus between poverty and the environment, revolving around the negative impact of the poor on the environment. Specifically, in Ghana, empirical evidence on the prevalence of forest degradation is sparse because the requisite data are often difficult to obtain. Using a qualitative approach, data collected through in-depth interviews with 45 randomly selected participants and 5 purposively selected key informants (Traditional Authorities) and using a thematic analysis, the poverty-environment, specifically the forest degradation nexus was verified. This cross-sectional study leads the authors to posit that poverty has a minimal negative effect on major forest degradation in Ghana. The study found that the poor were rather conscious, and future-oriented with regard to the environment, specifically forests owing to how their livelihoods and survival are directly linked to their immediate environment. The results suggest that the poverty-environment nexus could be country, or context-specific and varies between geographical and historical contexts. By implication, the seemingly universal assertion that the poor are those who cause major deforestation in communities could be problematic. Henceforth, the study maintains that it would be a fallacy to make generalisations that poverty is the main cause of major forest degradation, since the link between poverty and the environment is very context-specific. We argued on the premise that reduction of poverty in Ghana may not lead to the reduction of forest degradation. Joint implementation of holistic poverty-environment strategies that incorporate both the poor and the rich should be adopted to curb the wanton forest degradation in Ghana.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
Achard F., DeFries R., Eva H., Hansen M., Mayaux P., Stibig H-J. 2007. Pan-tropical monitoring of deforestation. Environ. Res. Lett., 2, 4:1-11, DOI: 10.10.88/1748-9326/2/4/045022
Angelsen A., Chitsike L., Ekoko F., Holden S., Johari M.Y.H., Nagla B.K., Shiferaw B., Valencia L.B., Vainio M., Wik M., Amiray N., Yee W. 1995. Poverty and the Environment. International Social Science Council, Comparative Research programme on Poverty.
Angelsen A., Jagger P., Babigumira R., Belcher B., Hogarth N.J., Bauch S., Börner J., Smith-Hall C., Wunder S., 2014. Environmental income and rural livelihoods: a global-comparative analysis. World Dev. 64: S12–S28.
Angen M.J. 2000. Evaluating interpretive inquiry: reviewing the validity debate and opening the dialogue. Qual. Health Res., 10, 3: 378–395.
Anijah-Obi F. N. 2001. Environmental Protection and Management: Planning, Process and Strategies. Calabar: Clear Lines Publ.
Bolognesi M. 2015 Rapid mapping and impact estimation of illegal charcoal production in southern Somalia based on WorldView-1 imagery Energy. Sustain. Dev., 25: 40–9.
Braun V., Clark, V. 2006. Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual. Res. Psych., 3, 2: 77-101.
Broad R. 1994. The Poor and the Environment: Friends or Foes? World Dev., 22, 6: 811-822.
Bryman A. 2004. Social research methods (2nd ed.). London: Univ. Oxford Press.
Call M., Mayer T., Sellers S., Ebanks D., Bertalan M., Nebiec E., Gray C. 2017. Socio-environmental drivers of forest change in rural Uganda. Land Use Policy, 62: 49-58.
Carter M.R., Barrett C. 2006. The Economics of Poverty Traps and Persistent Poverty: An asset-based approach. J. Dev. Stu., 42, 2: 178-99.
Cavendish W. 1999. Poverty, inequality and environmental resources: Quantitative analysis of rural households. Working Paper Series 99-9. Centre for the Studies of African Economies. Univ. Oxford: Oxford, UK.
Cavendish W. 2000. Empirical Regularities in the Poverty-Environment Relationship of Rural Households: Evidence from Zimbabwe. Imperial College, London, UK.
Cavendish, W. 2000. Empirical Regularities in the poverty-environment relationship of African rural households. World Dev., 28, 11: 1979-2003.
Chowdhury E., Ahmed S. 2010. Poverty-Environment Nexus: An investigation of linkage using survey data. Int. J. Env. Sus. Dev. 9(1/2/3): 91-113.
Dasgupta P. 2003. Population, poverty and the natural environment. [in:] Karl-Goran M., Jeffrey V. (eds.) Handbook of Environmental Economics. Vol. 1. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science., 191-247.
Dasgupta S., Deichmann U., Meisner C., Wheeler D. 2005. Where is the Poverty-Environment Nexus? Evidence from Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam. The World Bank, Washington, DC, USA.
Deininger K., Minten B. 1996. Determinants of Forest Cover and the Economics of Protection: An Application to Mexico. Research Project on Social and Environmental Consequences of Growth Oriented Policies, Policy Research Department Working Paper, n 10, The World Bank, Washington D.C.
Desta A. 1999. Environmentally Sustainable Economic Development. Praeger Publ., Westport, Conn.
Duraiappah A. 1996. Poverty and Environmental Degradation: a Literature Review and Analysis. Creed Working Paper Series No. 8. International Institute for Environmental and Development, London and Institute for Environmental Studies, Amsterdam.
Duraiappah A. 1998. Poverty and environmental degradation: A literature review and analysis of the nexus. World Dev., 26, 12: 2169-2179.
Durning A.B. 1989. Poverty and the environment: Reversing the downward spiral. World Watch Paper No. 92. World Watch Institute, Washington, DC.
Ekbom A., Bojö J. 1999. Poverty and environment: Evidence of links and integration in the country assistance strategy process. World Bank Africa Region Discussion Paper No. 4. World Bank, Washington, DC.
Forestry Commission 2017. Ghana’s National Forest Reference Level January 2017 National Redd+ Secretariat, Forestry Commission, Accra.
Glaser B., Strauss A. 1967. The dictionary of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. Chicago, IL: Aldine.
GOFC-GOLD 2009. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries: a sourcebook of methods and procedures for monitoring, measuring and reporting. GOFC-GOLD Report Version COP14-2 GOFC-GOLD Project Office, Natural Resources Canada, Alberta, Canada
Guba E.G., Lincoln Y.S. 1994. Competing paradigms in qualitative research. [in:] Denzin N.K., Lincoln Y.S., Handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publ., 105-117.
Heady C. 2000. Natural resource sustainability and poverty reduction. Env. Dev. Eco., 5, 3: 241-258.
Holden S., Bekele S., Mette W. 1996. Poverty, Market Imperfections, and Time Preferences: of Relevance for Environmental Policy? Discussion paper #D-26/1996, Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Agricultural Univ. Norway.
Israel M., Hay I. 2006. Research Ethics for Social Scientists: Between Ethical Conduct and Regulating Compliance. Pine Forge Press, London, UK.
Jalal K. 1993. Sustainable development, environment and poverty nexus. Occasional Paper No.7. Asia Development Bank.
Jodha N.S. 1998. Poverty-Environmental Resource Degradation Links: Questioning the Basic Premises. International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, February 1998.
Kebebe E. and Shibru F. 2017. Impact of alternative livelihood interventions on household welfare: Evidence from rural Ethiopia. Forest Pol. Econ. 75: 67-72.
Mabogunje A.L. 2002. Poverty and Environmental Degradation: Challenges within the Global Economy. Environment: Sci. Pol. Sust. Dev., 44, 1: 8-19.
Metz J.J. 1991. A Reassessment of the Causes and Severity of Nepal’s Environmental Crisis. World Dev., 19, 7: 805-820.
Murad M.W.N., Mustapha N.M. 2010. Does poverty cause environmental degradation? Evidence from waste management practices of the squatter and low-cost flat households in Kuala Lumpur. World J. Sci., Tech. Sus. Dev., 7, 3: 275-289.
Niringiye A., Wambugu S., Karugia J., Wanga E. 2012. An Investigation of the Poverty-Environmental Degradation Nexus: A Case Study of Katonga Basin in Uganda. Res J. Env. Earth Sci., 2, 2: 82-88.
Nwagbara E.N., Abia R.P., Uyang F.A., Ejeje J.A. 2012. Poverty, Environmental Degradation and Sustainable Development: A Discourse. Global J. Human Soc. Sci., 12, 11: Version 1.
Ostrom E., Burger C., Field E., Norgaard R., Policansky D. 1999. Revisiting the Commons: Local Lessons and Global Challenges. Science, 284, 5412: 278-282.
Pasanen T., Lakkala H., Yliluoma R., Tuominen V., Jusi S., Luukkanen J. and Kaivo-oja J. 2017. Poverty–Environment Nexus in the Lao PDR: Analysis of Household Survey Data. Dev. Pol. Rev., 35, 3: 349-371.
Ramphal S. 1992. Our Country, the Planet: Forging a Partnership for Survival. Cahners Business Information, Inc., New York.
Ravnborg H. M. 2003. Poverty and Environmental Degradation in Nicaraguan Hillsides. World Dev., 31, 11: 1933-1946.
Ravnborg H.M. 2003. Poverty and the Environmental Degradation in the Nicaraguan Hillsides. Danish Institute for International Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Ritchie J., Lewis J., Nicholls C.M., Ormston R. 2013. Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers. Sage Publ., London.
Scherr S.J. 2000. A Downward Spiral? Research Evidence on the Relationship between Poverty and Natural Resource Degradation. Food Policy, 25: 479-498.
Sedano F., Silva J. A., Machoco R., Meque C. H., Sitoe A., Ribeiro N., Anderson K., Ombe Z. A., Baule S. H. and Tucker C. J. 2016. The impact of charcoal production on forest degradation: a case study in Tete, Mozambique. Environ. Res. Lett. 11, 9:1-12 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/9/094020
Sikod F. 1985. Quality of Human Resources: Gender and Indigenous Peoples - Poverty and Environmental Degradation in Cameroon. Univ. Yaounde II, Soa, Cameroon.
Somanathan, E. 1991. Deforestation, property rights and incentives in central Himalayas. Econ. Polit. Weekly, 26: 37-46.
Swinton S.M. and Quiroz R. 2003. Is poverty to blame for soil, pasture and forest degradation in Peru’s Altiplano? World Dev. 31, 11: 1903-1919.
UNDP. 1990. Human Development Report 1990. Oxford Univ. Press, New York.
van der Werf G.R. Morton D.C., DeFries R.S., Giglio L., Randerson J.T., Collatz G.J., Kasibhatla P.S. 2009. Estimates of fire emissions from an active deforestation region in the southern Amazon based on satellite data and biogeochemical modelling. Biogeosciences, 6: 235-249.
Vedeld P., Angelsen A., Bojö J., Sjaastad E., Kobugabe B.G. 2007. Forest environmental incomes and the rural poor. Forest Policy Econ., 9: 869-879.
World Bank. 1992. China’s environmental strategy paper. World Bank Report No. 9669-CHA. World Bank, Washington DC.
World Commission on Environment and Development, (1987). Our Common Future. Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford.
Zulu L.C., Richardson R.B. 2013. Charcoal, livelihoods, and poverty reduction: Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa. Energy Sustain. Dev., 17, 127-137.