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Effects of decentralised forest management (DFM) on deforestation and poverty in low- and middle-income countries: a systematic review

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While the primary goal of reducing deforestation is clear, the policy and academic literature debates the extent to which decentralized forest management (DFM) programs in developing countries should incorporate goals of poverty reduction.

To move the debate around DFM beyond theoretical discussions and into better-informed, evidence-based discussion, this review examine the evidence on the effects of DFM programs on deforestation and welfare outcomes in low and middle income countries (LMICs), aiming also to assess whether these goals are at odds with each other.

The first objective of this review is to assess the evidence on the effects of DFM programs on the conservation and poverty outcomes in LMICs. A second objective is to assess the extent to which these programs’ effects on poverty in turn affect whether conservation benefits are realized. The third objective is to evaluate how institutional and social conditions (namely, inequality, institutional capacity, corruption, and democratic accountability) moderate the effects of DFM programs.