Forests and forestry organizations from the forest villagers' perspective: a case study from Turkey

Alkan, Hasan; Kilic, Mehmet
August 2014
iForest - Biogeosciences & Forestry;2014, Vol. 7 Issue 4, p240
Academic Journal
About 11% of the population lives in forest villages in Turkey, with income levels well below the national average. In recent years, local expectations have placed substantial pressures on forests resources, determining a tremendous social stress on forest ecosystems. The aims of this study were to evaluate the following aspects using a field-based survey questionnaire: (i) examine benefits the forest villagers receive from forest resources; (ii) evaluate the villagers views towards the surrounding forest resources; (iii) assess the villagers opinions towards forestry organizations, and work performed by these organizations; and (iv) determine the factors that influence villager satisfaction with nearby forests. Some 1059 people living in 11 forest villages located within the Directorate of Forest Enterprise of Sivas were interviewed. Results showed that the region has very limited alternative livelihood sources, and forestry is the leading regional source of income for villagers. Residents from all 11 villages are dependent on forest resources, and employments in the forestry sector were the most important forest benefits. Overall, the villagers were satisfied with available forestry jobs and other associated opportunities, however wages were considered insufficient, and workers expressed expectations for significant changes in labor safety conditions. In addition, certain prohibitions and restrictions placed on regional natural resources prevent residents from previous land-use practices, which adversely affected local opinions towards forests and forestry organizations. For example, strict forest protection measures will make obsolete the nomadic livestock breeding practices of some local villagers. This is the most common complaint directed at forestry activities, and will have an impact on the local income levels.


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