This article estimates the contribution of forests and woodland resources to the incomes of households living around six local forest reserves earmarked for the Joint Forest Management programme in Zambia. It identifies the key factors that influence their decisions to engage in commercial exploitation of forest resources. The analysis shows that, in addition to the subsistence use of forest resources, rural households earn 30 % of their cash income from harvesting and selling forest products. The amount of forest income that households earn varies significantly across study sites and is influenced by market and household level factors as well as the occurrence and abundance of forest products. Factors that influence the household entry and exit into forest extraction for sale, the forest income they can earn, and the relationship between forest extraction and agricultural production are examined and policy implications discussed
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