Foraging Wild Resources and Sustainable Economic Development

Abstract : As exemplified by the MDGs' adoption in 2000, it was recently thought that poverty alleviation, hunger reduction and environmental conservation should be tackle simultaneously. For that purpose, forests people had to intensively exploit and to commercialize the wild resources (NTFPs) they usually foraged from the nature for their self-consumption and for marginal trade. After a first wave of optimism, most studies have however concluded that such outcome was dubious, i.e., that foraging was not able to sustain economic development. We consider a theoretical framework and provide an economic analysis explaining such result. We identify four cases, according to two distinctions. First, foraged wild resources can be used either for self-consumption or traded on the market. Second, foraging can be either an exclusive mode of production or be combined with farming. However, an economic development based on the intensive exploitation of wild resources (through specialized foraging and trade) is not sustainable in the long-term. When considered as an economic system, the persistence of foraging wild resources is only consistent with self-consumption or with marginal trade. Intensive foraging dedicated to trade and market extension lead to the disappearance of sharing (or cooperation) between foragers; wild resources as well as most foragers are likely to get worse in such situation even though some counterexamples can be identified.
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Serge Svizzero. Foraging Wild Resources and Sustainable Economic Development. Journal of Economics and Public Finance, 2016, 2 (1), pp.132-153. ⟨hal-02146473⟩

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