6. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
From the review of the studies conducted on the availability and consumption both at national and regional level of Eritrea, there is a gap between the actual production of fuelwood and the demand/ consumption rate. To alleviate this problem the following actions have to be promoted:
· Live wood harvesting from the existing eucalyptus plantations has to be enhanced
Eventually, the wood obtained from planted trees will partly replace the fuelwood gap and other sources of energy like kerosene, liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and electricity reducing the destruction of forests.
From previously planted eucalyptus plantations (currently about 15,000 ha with annual increment of 2000 ha of afforestation area) an estimate of 10% is reached for pole production. Thus, about 0.5 million poles will be harvested which can serve for house construction. This can replace, to some extent, the poles that are imported.
From this harvest, if we assume mean annual increment of 5 m3 /ha/yr. about 33,750 tonnes with annual increment of 4,500 tonnes of fire wood can be collected annually, which can greatly minimise the shortage of fuel wood.
On the other hand, the fuelwood supply for the major urban centres of the highlands that is obtained from the eastern lowlands, although it is not well documented, is estimated to be only 10% of the total annual consumption.
Fuelwood obtained from plantation forestry is estimated to be 34,000 tonnes/annum. However further study is required on to the amount of sustainable yield of the existing plantation and their increment.
Programmes that are directed towards increasing wood production should be promoted. These are:
Creating awareness on tree planting for woodfuel
Increasing the availability of quality tree seeds
Encouraging the establishment of on-farm tree nurseries to meet the high demand for healthy tree seedlings and the appropriate species
Encouraging the adoption of agroforestry to facilitate intercropping of food crops and woody perennials with or without livestock, since average land holdings are small
Encouraging on-farm wood lots especially in areas where household land parcels are fairly large
Programmes that will affect the reduction of woodfuel demand have to be encouraged. These include:
Promotion of energy efficient wood-stoves
Promotion of fireless cookers
Promotion of other conservation measures like: covering food when cooking, soaking dry grains overnight, chopping food into small pieces before cooking, preparing food before lighting the fire and planning to have a small family
Encouraging change to use alternatives like biogas, solar energy, wind energy and other energy conservation techniques.