Demand for soil, water and forest conservation in Burkina Faso

Abstract: The objective of this thesis is to investigate how different household characteristics and policy-relevant variables affect individual household demand and willingness to engage in natural resource conservation activities in Burkina Faso. The thesis is based on four individual studies that examine Burkina Faso, a country rich in natural resources such as soil, water, and forests. The four studies use household data within each of the country's four regions: north, south, central and west. The data set contains information about actual choices, as well as household characteristics, socio-economic variables, and subjective perceptions concerning, among other things, long-term land use rights and soil degradation. Our different models estimate the effects of these variables on the probability of engaging in soil and forest conservation. We also estimate the demand of resource products such as non-timber forest products (NTFPs), and drinking water. The results of the statistical analysis indicate that forest and soil conservation activities by households are mainly determined by four policy-relevant variables: membership in community-based forest management associations, security of land use rights, training and education. Age and gender do not seem to have an effect on willingness to engage in natural resource conservation, although migrants are less likely to participate in forest surveillance. Further, an increase in household size decreases the participation in community work. Household size is shown to have a significant effect on the demand for NTFPs in the sense that larger households prefer imported or substituted products instead of NTFPs. Moreover, the analysis of the effects of price and income show that the two products that we expected to be substitutes are normal and complementary goods. Concerning the demand for drinking water, the price elasticity derived from the regression analysis shows that water demand is rather inelastic. Furthermore, the results also show that the income elasticities are positive, but smaller than one, implying not surprisingly that water seems to be a necessary good in Ouagadougou.

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