Drivers of Household Decision-Making on Land-Use Transformation: An Example ofWoodlot Establishment in Masindi District, Uganda
Tumwebaze, Susan Balaba
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Land use transformation at the farm level is attributed to household decision-making, reflected by the behavior and activities of smallholder farmers. Unfortunately, household decision-making in local communities and its determinants are site-specific and hardly understood. This study uses multistage purposive selection of households as a unit for the analysis to investigate the transformation from pure agriculture to farm forest mosaics, especially through woodlot establishment. We use key informants, household surveys, and observations to obtain data on decision-making amongst 84 farm households in Nyantonzi parish, Masindi district, Uganda, as an example. Specifically, the study addresses four research questions. Firstly, what is the current status of gender-based decision-making at the household level? Secondly, is decision making within farm households individualistic or collective? Thirdly, which factors are considered to select annual, perennial and tree-crop farm management regimes? Fourthly, what determinants influence the decision-making process and the likelihood of woodlot establishment? A multilevel analysis comprising parametric statistical models and binary logistic regression is applied to assess difference in household natural, physical, human, and social capital, highlight gender roles, and obtain factors associated to selection of crops and determinants of woodlot establishment at the farm level, respectively. Results reveal that gender based decision-making is clearly disaggregated on the basis of husbands and wives and it is individualistic, mostly dominated by husbands with lower participation by wives and other family members. Households consider various factors before making any decisions, e.g., market prices for both annual and perennial crops, food consumption for annual crops, ease of management, and yields from the previous season for the tree-crop management regimes. The likelihood for woodlot establishment is positively influenced by the willingness and intention of households to establish woodlots and relative age of household head. However, knowledge of land use Policies, Laws, and Regulations (PLRs) in relation to tree planting and harvesting and access to non-farm income reduce the likelihood of woodlot establishment. Here, we recommend that current and future forest land restoration initiatives focus on reducing the gender gap and increase women’s participation in decision making, provide market information platforms on wood products, and include woodlot farmers in social organization. Current PLRs on tree tenure should be improved and clearly communicated by using the existing communication assets and social gatherings as channels of change and influence for decision-making.