Abstract: The relationship among population, environment and poverty is mediated by a number of socio-economic, cultural, political and developmental variables whose relative significance varies considerably from one context to another. This study examines the complex interrelationships between rural poverty and land degradation and attempts to explain the inefficacy of broad development programs implemented in alleviating rural poverty and reversing deterioration of land resources. The purpose of this study is to advance an integrative model to analyze the processes creating rural impoverishment and land degradation in a developing country. The case of Zambia is used to empirically substantiate and validate the framework. The model is designed to provide a vehicle for elucidating the interactions between rural poverty and land degradation, particularly deforestation. Deforestation is related positively to population pressure on cultivated land (the smaller the cultivated area per person, the higher the rate of deforestation); the rate of population growth (the higher the population growth rate, the higher the rate of deforestation due to land clearance and fuel wood provision) and policies favorable to agriculture (the more profitable the agricultural policy, the lower the rate of deforestation). Deforestation is negatively related to the use of modern farm inputs such as fertilizer (the greater the use of modern inputs the lower the need to clear more land for farming). Open-access land tenure situations were found to stimulate deforestation. The model is then used to propose a policy package to improve the living conditions of the poor people and to minimize environmental degradation in Zambia.
Mweemba Liberty and Wu Hongjuan , 2008. Environmental Degradation and Rural Poverty in Zambia: A Silent Alliance. Research Journal of Applied Sciences, 3: 369-376.