Forest diversity, tobacco production and resource management in Tanzania

Johannes Sauer, Jumanne M. Abdallah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


This paper aims to deliver empirical evidence on the links between production efficiency, biodiversity, and resource management by analysing a case study on small-scale tobacco production in the Miombo woodlands in Tanzania. The subsistence nature of tobacco production in Tanzania suggests that most power-driven equipments, fertilizers and sustainable crop processing technologies are beyond the reach of most small-scale tobacco growers. The consequence is that in order to expand their production, tobacco farmers heavily substitute such inputs by an increasing use of wood. Hence, an increasing amount of forest land is cleared by the farmers resulting in forest degradation and a loss of biodiversity. This study determines in a first step the efficiency of tobacco production bordering the Miombo woodlands in Tanzania as well as investigates factors for the relative inefficiency on farm level. In a second step, the relation between forest species diversity in the surrounding woodlands and tobacco production efficiency as well as between diversity and the type of institutional arrangement with respect to forest management are empirically analysed. The results indicate that the different efficiency measures vary widely over the sample, showing a significant positive effect of the curing technology-i.e., the design of the barn-and the source of the firewood. The majority of farmers produce with increasing returns to scale. A strong positive correlation between the tobacco production efficiency and forest diversity as well as between community-based arrangements and forest diversity is revealed. This suggests that an increase in agricultural production efficiency with respect to tobacco is conducive for environmental sustainability in Tanzania. It finally supports property rights-based institutional arrangements for the management of forest resources as such motivate the sustainable management of unreserved forest resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-439
Number of pages19
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • 2SLS
  • DEA
  • Efficiency analysis
  • Forest diversity
  • Resource management


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