Socio-economic impacts of natural pine forest management (Pinus occidentalis Sw) on forest dwellers in the Dominican Republic
LANDSAT-Data show that, despite the ban on all forest activities in the Dominican Republic, an accelerating rate of deforestation is taking place. To date no study investigating the political and socio-economic aspects of 'conventional forest management' (timber production) has been carried out resulting in a total lack of knowledge concerning forest management and its constraints. The present study attempts to measure the impact of an existing natural pine forest management project on forest dwellers' living standards and on employment in the small-scale timber-processing industry of rural areas. A tentatitive assessment of the impact of forestry and forest industry on employment at a nation-wide scale was also attempted. Non-parametrical statistics were used to measure the impact of the project by comparing the results of a survey of project-beneficiaries with results from non-beneficiaries of a Project and a Control area. The results indicate that the project had certain positive effects on the living standards of the beneficiaries in terms of employment and income. The impact, however, was not strong enough to cause a significant difference compared with the living standards of non-beneficiaries. Results also indicate that other important factors such as ownership of land and agricultural and forest activities were not influenced at all or even negatively. It is recommended that socio-economic studies should be carried out before projects are planned and implemented in order to take account of the needs of 'target groups' and to achieve positive impacts which significantly improve living standards.