Working Paper
Forest Management, Gender, and Food Security of the Rural Poor in Africa

This paper addresses the economic impact of forest management on gender and food security of rural poor in Africa. The analyses reveal that deforestation places major demands on women and children’s time, limiting their opportunities to obtain an education or undertake income-generating activities. It also impairs the capacity of forests to contribute to food security. The econometric evidence applied in Cameroon taken as an accurate picture of Africa suggests that the producer prices of coffee, and cocoa, timber prices, and food crop prices influence at various degrees the decision to deforest. The agricultural value added per hectare positively affects forest cover. The fertilizer price index, the credit to farmers and the per capita GNP have no effect on the activities of deforestation. Food security is negatively correlated to forest depletion. Finally, the oil boom, the structural adjustment policies and the devaluation of the CFA franc have seriously increased the speed of forest depletion in Cameroon. A critical lesson from these results is that policy measures outside of the formal forest sector are a key part of the problem – and therefore of the solution – of forest conversion in Cameroon.