Deforestation reduces fruit and vegetable consumption in rural Tanzania

Charlotte M. Hall, Laura Vang Rasmussen, Bronwen Powell, Cecilie Dyngeland, Suhyun Jung, Rasmus Skov Olesen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Belgium; received June 30, 2021; accepted January 18, 2022 by Editorial Board Member Carl Folke Strategies to improve food and nutrition security continue to promote increasing food via agricultural intensification. Little (if any) consideration is given to the role of natural landscapes such as forests in meeting nutrition goals, despite a growing body of literature that shows that having access to these landscapes can improve people's diets, particularly in rural areas of low- and middle-income countries. In this study, we testedwhether deforestation over a 5-y period (2008-2013) affected people's dietary quality in rural Tanzania using a modeling approach that combined two-way fixed-effects regression analysis with covariate balancing generalized propensity score (CBGPS) weighting which allowed for causal inferences to be made. We found that, over the 5 y, deforestation caused a reduction in household fruit and vegetable consumption and thus vitamin A adequacy of diets. The average household member experienced a reduction in fruit and vegetable consumption of 14 g_d21, which represented a substantial proportion (11%) of average daily intake. Conversely, we found that forest fragmentation over the survey period led to an increase in consumption of these foods and dietary vitamin A adequacy. This study finds a causal link between deforestation and people's dietary quality, and the results have important implications for policy makers given that forests are largely overlooked in strategies to improve nutrition, but offer potential "win-wins" in terms of meeting nutrition goals as well as conservation and environmental goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2112063119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume119
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 8 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

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