Work Package 3

„Livelihoods und opportunity costs“

Land use decisions are de facto implemented by different land users (e.g. subsistence-oriented, market-oriented). These are differing across countries and regions.

To politically influence land use decisions, an analysis of the relevant land uses, involved land users and their decisions is essential. Market-oriented land users are expected to be influencedby monetary incentives and market structures. Their decisions on forest maintenance versus alternative land uses may among others beguided by price incentives. Mainly subsistenceoriented land users are expected to build their livelihoods on diversified human, social, natural, physicaland financial resources („sustainable livelihoodcapitals“) to assure resilience (CHAMBERS, CONWAY,1991).

Here, different livelihood resources substitute merely monetary ones. At the same time, all land users are affected by national and sub-national laws and probably also by traditional norms.

The main influencing parameters for policy design can be deduced from the knowledge of drivers of land use decisions. Monetary policy instruments (e.g. incentive and compensation payments from PES or REDD+) can be effective if a land user is acting according to financial influences. In this case, the adequate amount for compensation payments needs to be assessed. Subsistence-orientedland users, however, will be guided mainly by securing the nutritional basis and other existential resources.

Research questions

  • Which land user types are the most relevant actors in the landscape context/ the country? (Quantitative importance?)
  • Which influence do land users have on the de facto land use type and practice andwhat drives their decisions? (Differentiation of subsistence- and marked-oriented land users)
  • How can land use decisions be managed politically? Will monetary incentives or the provision of livelihood commodities be effective? Which roles do traditional norms play?
  • Which revenues can be generated from alternative land use forms in comparison to forestry? What are the opportunity costs of avoided deforestation?


Samples of relevant land users in each country will be surveyed systematically, to gather informationon their livelihood resources, land use practices and influences. Therefore, about 400 land users per country and stratum will be interviewed (KREJCIE,MORGAN, 1970).

The needs of the subsistence-orientedland users and their influence on deforestation and forest degradation will be analysed accordingto the „Sustainable Rural LivelihoodsFramework“ (SCOONES, 1998) (based on the surveyof 5 „livelihood capitals“). Approaches for policy design can be deduced from the findings, which combine the preservation and sustainable managementof forests and the securing of livelihood needs.

Opportunity costs of avoided deforestation can be calculated from the investigation of netrevenues (yields, prices, market opportunities) from the relevant alternative land use forms to forestry (KÖTHKE, 2014).

Spatial differentiation and monetary quantification is achieved by combiningthose results with the information on spatial heterogeneity within the landscape stratum and country.