5. ANALYSIS OF THE PAST, PRESENT AND FORESEEABLE TRENDS OF WOODFUEL USE IN LIBERIA
In the past, (before the civil war), woodfuel consumption was at a lower level compared to the present rate of wood use because of the presence of other alternative sources of household energy supply. Electricity was available in most parts of the country while cooking gas and kerosene were at a very less cost in the consuming market. As the civil war approached the capital city of Monrovia, conditions of insecurity gave rise to present high demand for woodfuel.
At present, the effects of the war have given more pressure to the use of woodfuel throughout the country for the past nine years. While charcoal is being mainly consumed by the urban sectors, with a less percentage of fuelwood, the rest of the country depends almost entirely on fuelwood (fire woods) for home energy. The rapid supply in response to the increased need of the commodities has provided some environmental problems in recent years.
With the continuous absence of electricity supply in the urban sectors and the lack of other alternative sources of household energy supply in most parts of the country, the demand for woodfuel is expected to increase. These conditions may likely create more environmental havoc and more social problems as the population increases rapidly. Also, there is an unconfirmed report that charcoal is being exported through metal containers at the various shipping ports. If this information is checked and proven to be true, then the future of our forest is in danger, because charcoal production sharply increase to satisfy the export market. This will have an adverse effect on the future.