When people actually own a forest, the owners generally do a better job protecting the resource from fire than collectively owned land. This is especially true when the resource is owned by locals.
As for poverty, I would not be surprised to see the US catching up with Nigeria in that area. The ruling elite have mismanaged the US economy for decades. City streets are lined with homeless camps and millions of people are but a paycheck from hunger. The only thing holding the US together is the fact that the US Dollar is held as a the reserve currency.
If that stops things in the US will get bleak fast.
BTW: It gets cold here. Our poverty might start with people freezing.