18.104.22.168 Social and economic impacts
Climate change impacts on forestry and a shift in production preferences (e.g., towards biofuels) will translate into social and economic impacts through the relocation of forest economic activity. Distributional effects would involve businesses, landowners, workers, consumers, governments and tourism, with some groups and regions benefiting while others experience losses. Net benefits will accrue to regions that experience increased forest production, while regions with declining activity will likely face net losses. If wood prices decline, as most models predict, consumers will experience net benefits, while producers experience net losses. Even though the overall economic benefits are likely to exceed losses, the loss of forest resources may directly affect 90% of the 1.2 billion forest-dependent people who live in extreme poverty (FAO, 2004a). Although forest-based communities in developing countries are likely to have modest impact on global wood production, they may be especially vulnerable because of the limited ability of rural, resource-dependent communities to respond to risk in a proactive manner (Davidson et al., 2003; Lawrence, 2003). Non-timber forest products (NTFP) such as fuel, forest foods or medicinal plants, are equally important for the livelihood of the rural communities. In many rural Sub-Saharan Africa communities, NTFP may supply over 50% of a farmer’s cash income and provide the health needs for over 80% of the population (FAO, 2004a). Yet little is known about the possible impacts on NFTP.