Understanding deforestation and forest fragmentation from a livelihood perspective

Urech, Zora Lea; Zähringer, Julie; Rickenbach, Olivia; Sorg, Jean-Pierre; Felber, Hans Rudolf (2015). Understanding deforestation and forest fragmentation from a livelihood perspective. Madagascar Conservation & Development, 10(2), pp. 67-76. Institute and Museum of Anthropology, University of Zurich 10.4314/mcd.v10i2.5

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Worldwide, forests provide a wide variety of resources to rural inhabitants, and especially to the poor. In Madagascar, forest resources make important contributions to the livelihoods of the rural population living at the edges of these forests. Although people benefit from forest resources, forests are continuously cleared and converted into arable land. Despite long-term efforts on the part of researchers, development cooperation projects and government, Madagascar has not been able to achieve a fundamental decrease in deforestation. The question of why deforestation continues in spite of such efforts remains. To answer this question, we aimed at understanding deforestation and forest fragmentation from the perspective of rural households in the Manompana corridor on the east coast. Applying a sustainable livelihood approach, we explored local social-ecological systems to understand: (i) how livelihood strategies leading to deforestation evolve and (ii) how the decrease of forest impacts on households' strategies. Results highlight the complexity of the environmental, cultural and political context in which households’ decision-making takes place. Further, we found crucial impacts of deforestation and forest fragmentation on livelihood systems, but also recognized that people have been able to adapt to the changing landscapes without major impacts on their welfare.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability > Unit Critical Sustainability Studies (CSS)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

Graduate School:

International Graduate School North-South (IGS North-South)

UniBE Contributor:

Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics




Institute and Museum of Anthropology, University of Zurich


[424] Landscape change, stakeholder demands for ecosystem services, and resulting trade-offs in north-eastern Madagascar




Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

31 Aug 2015 16:12

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:49

Publisher DOI:






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