The need to protect forest resources from unsustainable, yet rational, human actions has attracted global attention. This is because smallholder dependence on forests can degrade forest resources and cause deforestation. While efforts to understand forest programmes and motivations to protect forests have increased in recent decades, there remains a limited understanding of household factors affecting participation in forest support programmes, especially in the context of high-pressure areas, such as the Miombo woodlands. This study was conducted in the North-Western, Copperbelt and Eastern Province of Zambia. In each province, we selected landscapes consisting of protected and non-protected forest areas. We administered structured interviews to 1123 households and used logistic regression to estimate determinants of participation. We found that better education, landholding size, increased share of forest income, cash crops and non-farm income, and access to forests and markets have a negative impact on participation in forest support programmes. Being located in landscapes with protected areas was positively associated with participation. We suggest that, in order to increase participation, forest programmes should focus on households with low levels of education, limited livelihood opportunities, and poor access to markets. Besides, programmes should provide incentives, including support for farm inputs and at the same time encourage reforestation and agroforestry methods.
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