"Trees, woodlands and forests are multi-purpose resources that provide varied functions in society and differing roles in rural livelihoods across the developing world" (Potter et al, 1989:268).
The above quote establishes that there is a relationship between tree resources and rural livelihoods and that this relationship is varied. The term 'tree resources' encompasses an array of resources. It is not just the tree that is utilised but its individual components e.g. bark, sap, leaves, roots etc. Also it is not just the tree that is resourceful but also the environment it provides and the ecosystem it is part of, as well as the ecosystems' roles and functions e.g. for soil stability. 'Rural livelihoods' refers to the activities of rural dwellers in order to live. "A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (including both material and social resources) and activities required for a means of living" (Carney, 1998:4). The relationship between tree resources (including forests) and rural means of a living is complicated and diverse.
In this essay I aim to explore the different relationships between tree resources and rural livelihoods. Detailing the different direct (e.g. for food and building materials) and indirect (e.g. for tourism) relationships, investigating their nature and researching both historical and contemporary examples. I also want to explore the effects of such relationships such as environmental degradation and loss of biodiversity and the possible solutions for the future, namely the possibility for sustainable rural livelihoods to find a balance between tree resources and rural livelihoods. I intend to investigate the effects of urban livelihoods and livelihoods of the developed world on tree resources and rural livelihoods, particularly the effects of deforestation and agro-forestry.
There are many direct relationships between tree resources and rural livelihoods, where livelihoods are dependant on trees as a supply. The first of...