There is an increasing understanding that forests and the forestry sector are key elements in poverty reduction strategies in Africa. However, issues of equity between various forest users are becoming a major challenge to environmental development, forest management and poverty reduction. This paper presents an analysis of household representatives' socio-economic determinants and other constraints on accessing forest products, based on data collected through a questionnaire survey of 1865 respondents in seven districts of the Sissili province, southern Burkina Faso. Three logistic regression models were developed to examine determinants of access to the forest for collecting fuelwood, grazing livestock and collecting non-timber forest products (NTFPs). The results showed that access to forest products is associated with individual characteristics. Age, ethnicity, occupation and sources of income were significant determinants of access to all types of forest products. Access to the forest for grazing livestock was further influenced by gender and household size, while access to NTFPs was influenced by gender, household size and education level of the respondents. The formal forest law that precludes grazing in the forest, and customary rules and regulations pertaining to land tenure, were reported to be serious constraints to forest access for women and migrant people. Understanding the factors influencing access to products from commonly-owned forest resources could form the basis for developing, modifying and targeting policy instruments that promote equitable access. Policies should particularly encourage the direct involvement of vulnerable and marginalized groups (women and migrants) in forest management activities.
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