The Contribution of Pine Forests to the Living Standard in Farming Systems in the Zerhoune Mountains, Central Morocco

H.P. Wolff


In Morocco, human impacts lead to a growing deforestation that are likely to surpass in future the reafforestation efforts by the national forest service. Consequently, consid ering local requirements is of increasing importance in forestry planning. In order to determine the role of plantation type forests in the economy of local families, a representative double-stage survey was conducted in a rural community in Central Morocco.
People in the community used forests for sylvopastoral activities, combustible and herb collection. Results from the first survey allowed distinction of three classes of farming systems by parameters about realized and potential forest utilization. A more profound analysis of these classes was the subject of the second survey. The results substantiated the classification due to significant differences in economic characteristics.
Forests played a role as a resource nearly exclusively for farming systems of the first class. Farming systems of the other classes were either able to replace products from forests by purchase and by products from own sources (class 2) or had to get along with restricted access to forests due to different reasons (class 3). For members of class 1, contribution of fuelwood to income amounted to only 2.4% in average, but allowed substitution of cash expenses for combustibles and longer heating periods in the cold season. Those farming systems also sent on average the largest number of livestock to forest pasture. The importance of forest pasture derived more from the period of availability than from the contribution to the annual fodder demand, which was with 5% to 7% relatively low.
Families from class 3, which had family incomes comparable to those of class 1 but significantly more family members, were not able to replace fuelwood from forests by purchase. Contributions of livestock husbandry to their family income were about the same as for families from class 1. Families from class 2 had higher incomes and more cash available than the families from the other classes. They refrained from fuelwood collection even if labour capacity was no limiting factor and despite their expenses for combustibles, that were two to three times higher than those in the other classes. Consequently, constraints of liquidity and household supply seemed to be of greater importance for decisions about forest utilization than maximization of income. In general, contribution of forests to living standard of forest users was low, even if community members collected all available litterfall for fuelwood and forest pasture was already overstocked. A potential source for enhancing the incentives on the farmers‘ level and thus the population's interest in preservation of communal forests in future are the revenues form timber sales. These revenues are actually awarded to the community's budget and do not lead to recognizable effects on the families‘ level.

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