This paper demonstrates the importance of wildlife in the portfolio of environmental income in the livelihoods of poor rural communities living adjacent to a national park. The results show that wealthier households consumed more wildlife products in total than relatively poor households. However, poorer households derive greater benefit from the consumption of wildlife resources than wealthier households. Excluding wildlife compromised the relative contribution of environmental resources while at the same time increasing the relative contribution of farm and wage income. Environmental income had more impact in terms of poverty reduction in the lower income quintiles than in the upper quintiles. Wildlife income alone accounted for about 5.5% reduction in the proportion of people living below the poverty line. Furthermore, wildlife income had an equalizing effect bringing about a 5.4% reduction in measured inequality. Regression analysis suggests that the likelihood of belonging to a wealthier category of income increased with an increase in environmental income. As expected, household wealth significantly and positively affect environmental income generated by households. This seems to suggest that wildlife-based land reform also needs to empower poor households in the area of capital accumulation while imposing restraint on capital investments by well-off households.
Effects of Wildlife Resources on Community Welfare: Income, Poverty and Inequality