The supply and demand dynamics of Miombo woodland : a household perspective
This thesis is concerned with the way householders use their woodland and tree resources in the face of physical and socio-economic resource constraints. Its rationale is the belief that the identification of the characteristics that control the supply and demand dynamics of small holders' woodland and tree use will contribute to the understanding of how forestry interventions can more positively influence the way they manage their environment. The study takes the form of a case-study of a smallholder farming community in North Kasungu District, Central Malawi. It uses a range of research methodologies in an attempt to broaden the scope of analysis and accommodate a multi-disciplinary approach to the dynamics of household miombo utilisation. The research methods used are a participatory woodland inventory, a questionnaire survey, participatory household and household tree resource survey and a 25-month programme of monitoring household woodland and tree utilisation. The analysis is based on statistical interpretation of cross-tabulated data and supported by correlation and multivariate analysis techniques. Whilst perceptions of environmental change and utilisation constraints reflected the availability of the woody resource, the availability of household resources - particularly labour - influenced household collection and tree-planting strategies. The findings of the research indicate that socio-economic, as opposed to physical, supply constraints influence the patterns of woodland utilisation between and within household types. Resource availability and seasonality exacerbate the household differentiation, reducing the capacity of the poorer, smaller and female-headed households to adapt. The 25-month monitoring of firewood and woodland food utilisation revealed the extent of the intra-household division of labour, which was largely manifested along the lines of either age class or gender. Modelling the results of firewood collection indicated that whilst the wife remained the main collector, the relative labour supply elasticity of the household members to collection related to the marginal valuation of their labour. This was shown to be influenced by season, gender, social differentiation and employment opportunity.