Household assets are increasingly seen as critical in poverty dynamics, both for reducing vulnerability and escaping poverty. Asset based approaches have thus become central to poverty analysis and development policy. In this paper we contend that for a better understanding of the role of assets in poverty reduction processes we need to consider asset 'functions' In addition to asset stocks. Further we propose that an analysis of asset 'attributes' (the factors that enable an asset to preform a particular function) provides a useful mechanism to examine social and other determinants of asset services. Asset services (or functions) can be also conceptualized as ecosystem services and this presents an opportunity to integrate poverty analysis into ecosystem services frameworks. We present an Ecosystem Asset Function Framework and illustrate its potential to contribute to the analysis of the role of natural assets in poverty reduction with a case study of biodiversity change from southern India.
Kent, R.; Dorward, A. Conceptualizing assets and asset services in livelihoods and ecosystem analyses for poverty reduction. SOAS, University of London, London, UK (2012) 23 pp.