Forest support (FS) programmes are often designed to achieve specific outcomes, which can be related either to forest conservation or sustainable use of forest resources. Given the limited success of FS programs in Zambia in the past, a better understanding of the determinants of participation can help improve the design of future FS programs and contribute to sustainable forest management. Using the data from a survey of 1123 households in the North-Western, Copperbelt and Eastern Provinces of Zambia, the study aims to identify the determinants of participation in forest support programs.
Our results show that socio-demographic attributes were less prominent factors explaining participation in FS programmes; instead, participation can be explained mainly by economic and access factors, such as distance to forests and distance to markets.
Households with younger and better educated household heads are less likely to participate in forest support programs. An increase in the size of households’ landholdings is negatively associated with participation in forest support programs, too. An increase in income from various sources had a negative impact on the probability to participate in FS programs. This indicates that households often choose to participate in FS programs when the opportunity costs of participation are low, meaning that their access to other income activities is limited.
Lastly, our results demonstrate that in landscapes without protected forest areas (non-restricted access to and use of forest resources) households were less likely to participate than their counterparts in landscapes with protected areas.
In order to encourage participation in forest support programs, policy makers should seek to provide additional incentives, such as farm input support and access to off-farm activities.