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Chronic Poverty, Remoteness, and the Importance of Forests

Briefing/policy papers

Many of the poorest of the rural poor live in remote forested locations, far from markets. The remote poor are often the chronic poor – those who are poor all through their lives, and whose children inherit poverty and powerless-ness. Their livelihoods are ‘complex, diverse, risk-prone and food-insecure’. Forests provide them with subsistence items such as food, medicine, fuel and building materials; cash from forest products; a safety net when times are hard; and vital environmental services.
To increase the welfare of people living near forests, remote areas need to become a policy priority for government. Solutions include better knowledge about poverty and remote-ness issues; assuring land-access for those in forest areas; pro-poor local government policy and budgeting processes, and the use of the MDGs and the PRSP to push for these.