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Seminar 13 Mar 2013 - Session 2 - Trees and child nutrition in Africa by AIckowitz

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Much of the literature on food security implies that future food production will need to come either at the expense of forests or from intensification of land in ecosystems other than forest. When the definition of food security embraces the concept of nutrition in addition to adequate energy (calorie) supply, then the prevailing attitude that we need to replace forests or ignore them in the food security debate becomes an open research question. This paper questions the view that increased forest conservation compromises food security and investigates the relationship between tree cover and child nutrition. We integrate food consumption data for ca. 140,000 children from 21 African countries with data on vegetation cover to examine the relationship between tree cover and three indicators of nutrition. We find that for the majority of children in our sample, there is a statistically significant positive relationship between tree cover and dietary diversity; a statistically significant positive relationship between tree cover and fruit and vegetable consumption; but no relationship between animal source food consumption and tree cover. Overall our findings suggest that children in Africa who live in areas with more tree cover, up to a certain threshold, have more nutritious diets.

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Seminar 13 Mar 2013 - Session 2 - Trees and child nutrition in Africa by AIckowitz

  1. 1. Trees and Child Nutrition in Africa Amy IckowitzCP3/C5 Seminar Tree cover transitions and investment in multicolored economy: hypotheses grounded in data
  2. 2. Hypothesis: Trees and Forests are important for nutrition - Collection of nutritious NTFPs - Farming mosaics may promote more diverse diets - Agroforestry and fruit production - Ecosystem services of forests for agriculture - availability of fuel wood - May provide ‘back up’ foods for lean season
  3. 3. Study using DHS dataWe Integrate• nutrition data from Demographic Health Surveys • From 21 countries in Africa with• % tree cover • to investigate whether there is a statistically significant relationship between indicators of child nutrition and tree cover
  4. 4. Sample: about 95,000 children between ages 13 and 59 months in about 9,400 communities (21 countries )
  5. 5. Regressions• 3 Dependent Variables: Dietary Diversity Score; fruit and veg consn; ASF consn• Independent Variables: • % Tree Cover and % Tree Cover2 • Mother’s education • Father’s education • Wealth Index • Rural Dummy • Child age & age2 & age3 • Distance to Rd • Distance to closest city of 10,000 • Aridity Index • Boy dummy • Month of interview • Country dummy
  6. 6. Result: Dietary Diversity Score (DDS)• There is a statistically significant non-linear relationship between % tree cover and preferred DDS measure peaking at 60% Dietary Diversity Score & Tree Cover Note: 93% of 0.07sample has less 0.06 than 60% tree 0.05 cover 0.04 Dietary Diversity 0.03 0.02 0.01 0 0 20 40 60 80 100
  7. 7. Result: Fruits and Veggies• There is a statistically significant non-linear relationship between forest cover and fruit and veggie consn which peaks at about 52% tree cover 0.18 Fruit & Veg Consn 0.16 0.14 Note: 91% of 0.12 sample has less 0.1 0.08 than 52% tree Fruit & Veg Consn 0.06 cover 0.04 0.02 0 0 20 40 60 80 100
  8. 8. Result: Animal Source FoodsThere is no statistically significant relationship between tree cover and Animal Source Food consumption
  9. 9. Next Steps• Try to understand what lies behind these relationships• How they differ by region• Collect primary data with more detailed nutrition info. and more detailed info. on where the food is actually come from • in different kinds of African forests (humid, montane, dry) • Uganda, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Zambia, Guinea
  10. 10. So overall…We are making progress towards ‘grounding the hypothesis’ that forests and trees are important for nutrition in data
  11. 11. Thank You!

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