In the Forest Department of Bangladesh, a Participatory Agroforestry Program (PAP) was initiated at a denuded Sal forests area to protect the forest resources and to alleviate poverty amongst the local poor population. We explored whether the PAP reduced poverty and what factors might be responsible for poverty alleviation. We used three poverty measurement methods: the Head Count Index, the Poverty Gap Index and the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke index to determine the extent poverty reduction. We used a linear regression model to determine the possible differences among factors in poverty reduction. Data were collected through semi-structured questionnaires and face to face interviews within the study area. PAP proved effective at poverty alleviation, considerably improving the local situation. The linear regression model showed that PAP output explained the income differences in poverty reduction. Participants identified bureaucracy and illegal money demands by forest department officials, an uncontrolled market system, and underdeveloped road infrastructure as the main obstacles to reduction of poverty. Overall, PAP is quite successful in alleviating poverty. So this program might be of interest at other degraded forest areas as a tool to alleviate poverty.
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