Does Secure Community Forest Tenure Affect Forest Condition? New Pre-Treatment Evidence From a Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of a REDD+ Project in Zambia


Paper prepared for presentation at the “2016 WORLD BANK CONFERENCE ON LAND AND POVERTY,” The World Bank—Washington DC, March 14-18, 2016.

Authors: M. Mercedes Stickler (USAID), Heather Huntington (The Cloudburst Group), Aleta Haflett (The Cloudburst Group), Silvia Petrova (USAID) & Ioana Bouvier (USAID)

Although the global literature suggests stronger forest tenure is associated with better forest condition, several recent meta-analyses of this relationship have resulted in “mixed and heavily qualified” findings (Seymour et al., 2014, p. 2). There are numerous factors influencing these mixed econometric results, including, inter alia, selection biases and inconsistent definitions or methods, and the global literature is limited to selected geographies, with few rigorous case studies from Africa (Seymour et al. 2014). This paper seeks to begin to address these gaps by analyzing an original data set collected as part of a prospective impact evaluation of the Community based Forest management Project (CFP), a USAID-funded reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) program in eastern Zambia. Drawing on survey data from 2,822 households, including 1,052 female-headed households and supplemented with contextual and spatially-derived statistics, our analysis will contribute novel evidence on the relationships among forest tenure, governance, and condition.