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1. The trend in the use of fuelwood consumption

The report describes a situation dominated by fuelwood and an overall rapid consumption reduction contrary to the report provided by S. Amous. The reason is as follows:

In 1981, the National Youth Service (NYS) was launched where more than 2000 students have to undertake a two-year service in the institution. This institution constituted the major source of fuelwood consumption mainly to cook food for the 2000 students per year. From 1982-1989, the number of students joining the NYS kept increasing and so did the fuelwood consumption. It was in 1992, that the fuelwood consumption decreased and this correlated to the phasing out of one year in the NYS. The use of fuel wood decreased gradually, as fewer students were joining the institution and in 1998, the NYS was phased out completely and the use of fuel wood consumption decreased dramatically.

1.1. Forestry Situation in Seychelles

The Forestry Section within the Division of Environment under the Ministry of Environment and Transport is responsible for the controlling and management of the forest resources of the country.

1.1.1. Forest area

No systematic forest inventories have been carried out in Seychelles and the available data are limited to a study by P.T. Henry (1976), which can be considered outdated. Based on aerial photo interpretation and field checking done by INDUFOR Oy in 1993, it is estimated that the forest area of Mahe, Praslin, Curieuse, La Digue and Silhouette islands is 17 600 ha. The outer islands of Seychelles are estimated to have additional 23 000 ha of forests of which nearly 15 000 ha are within National Parks or other protected areas. It should be noted that according to INDUFOR Oy this might be an overestimation.



Table: 1.1.1 Forest Area


Total Area (ha)

Forest Area (ha)

Of which in National Parks (ha)

Plantations (ha)


15 470

11 740

2 980



3 760

2 970








La Digue

1 010





2 000

1 840




23 010

23 000

14 810

4 400


45 540

40 600

18 440

4 880

The total area of forestland on Mahe is 11, 740 ha of which 2,980 ha are located inside the Morne Seychelles National Park. The Park also includes 100 ha of forest plantations originally established for production purposes. Total area of Mahe is 15 470 which means that the island’s forest coverage is 76%.

Forestland on Praslin and Curieuse add up to 3,260 ha. 11% of the forests are within the Praslin National Park. La Digue Island has 760 ha of forestland. Silhouette is mostly covered by vegetation of which 1,840 ha is classified as forestland.

The bulk (4 400 ha) of the estimated plantation area (4 880 ha) is on "other islands". The amount of plantations on "other island" may be a gross over-estimate, but the situation could not have been checked, as field visits to the outer islands were not possible because of their remoteness and distance to the main islands. The above-mentioned plantation area of the "other islands" is assumed to contain largely non-planted Casuarina forests.

It is estimated that the forest area is 40, 600 ha, i.e. 90% of the land area. Most of the forests are natural but there are a few plantations, including Casuarina (Casuarina equisitifolia), which cover about 4, 800 ha. About 25% of the plantations that have been established are for protection purposes, e.g. stabilisation of the reclaimed land such as the Casuarina equisitifolia (40 ha) rather than for fuelwood consumption. More than 45% of the forests are within the National Parks or other conservation areas.

The economic importance of the forestry sector is perceived as marginal. The Sectoral GDP contribution, including wood industries is no more than 0.4% (1990) but it has been increasing during the last few years. The Value Added in the sectoral gross output is significantly higher than in the economy on average. This adds to the justification of utilisation of forest resources in a sustainable way for meeting the country’s internal demand. The wood production has not been able to respond to the growing needs of raw materials in the processing industries, which is reflected in the increasing import dependency.

However, the indirect economic and environmental benefits of the sector are considerable. The amenity provided by the forests is important for the tourism industry. The vulnerable water supply is highly dependent on the vegetation cover provided by the forests.

1.2. Present Review of the existing data related to woodfuel (fuelwood and charcoal)

Over the last 20 years the Ex-National Youth Service (NYS) 1981-1998 used to be a major fuelwood user as food in the student villages (over 1000 students in the villages per year) was cooked by using fuelwood. The substantial consumption (estimated at about 3 500- 4 000 m3) was largely met by Casuarina (Casuarina equisetifolia) trees supplied from Desroches Island by the Island Development Company (IDC). In 1998, the National Youth Service was phased out and production of fuelwood from the island also ceased because the market no longer existed.

Some traditional bakeries still bake bread using fuelwood but however, the number is continuously declining because of the cost involve to harvest the wood from the forest and also because of the procedures impose by the government regarding the felling of trees. Another reason is that the tradition is also dying and bread is now being baked in electric and gas oven. Still today, on Mahe there are about 7 of such bakeries still using fuelwood for the business and on average they are consuming 75 m3 /year of fuelwood.

1.2.1. Charcoal

The annual production is estimated to be 50 tons per year. The main users produced their own charcoal using wood from their property that borders forest areas or from the state forests.

Charcoal is produced in the forest areas using logging waste and a permit is needed to carry out this activity. The sawmill at Grand Anse converts part of its production waste into charcoal. Charcoal is also produced on some of the outer Coraline Islands such as on Desroches Island and on some other islands managed by the Island Development Company (IDC). A few hotels and restaurants also produce their own charcoal for their barbecue. It is estimated that the hotels and restaurants consume 40 tons of charcoal annually. The use of charcoal in hotel and restaurant establishment is slowly diminishing as the hotels and restaurants are turning more and more to gas or other type of fuels. Household consumption is negligible.

As a whole woodfuel consumption is currently estimated at about 5 550 m3 (1992) in wood volume equivalent. The respective figure in the mid-1980s was probably in the range of 15,000 m3.

Table 1.1.2 Number of households using different types of fuel energy in 1992

Energy types

Number of households























*Source MISD

Of the total supply and wood products, less than a quarter is met by domestic supply while the balance is imported. About three quarters (74%) of total wood demand and wood products are absorbed by intermediate consumption, mainly in building construction and furniture, which indicate the importance of downstream effects of these products to the national economy. According to the study carried by INDUFOR Oy 14% of the households’ still use fuelwood for domestic purposes compared to 40% in 1977. However, the demand for fuelwood appears to be rapidly dwindling due to rural electrification and expanding use of gas in all the rural areas.

Due to electrification and urbanisation, the use of fuelwood has been declining drastically. The share of households using woodfuels has dropped as follows (1987 census):

Table 1.1.3: % use of woodfuel by household from 1977-1993


Household use of woodfuel in %







*Source INDIFOR Oy

The current rate is estimated to be 8% (1993).

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