5. Concluding Remarks
The separate studies so far conducted have revealed interesting results but were not co-ordinated and the results were not widely discussed between the ministries of Environment and Tourism, housing Forestry, and the Ministry of Mines and Energy. Despite this, they have yielded useful information and seem to have produced fairly comparable end results.
The conclusions that can be drawn are that Namibia’s majority will still rely on fuel wood for the foreseeable future. Hence the management of its natural woodlands for ecological and direct material benefits, is a major economic activity worth undertaking.
The studies to be undertaken in the future should be systematic and conducted at regular intervals. The Directorate of Forestry plans to conduct fuel wood consumption studies at 5-year intervals. The next study is scheduled for the year 2001.
The charcoal industry should promote local consumption of its products, provided that the charcoal is manufactured from bush species growing in the commercial farms, which are easy to identify and supervise. Charcoal manufacture from the common access communally owned lands would be a recipe for Africa’s familiar over harvesting scenarios.
The systematic management of charcoal producing woodlands and its operation as a socially responsible, labour-intensive and environmentally friendly industry is likely to promote Namibia’s charcoal in Europe’s Certification-Demanding Consumers. Namibia must take this as a strategic issue in woodland management.