The patterns of woodfuel production and consumption, and their associated social, economic and environmental impacts, are site-specific. An analysis of the sector requires a holistic view of the people and places most affected by (or dependent on) these resources.
WISDOM is a database that provides a spatial analysis of woodfuel supply sources and consumption through a GIS platform designed to overcome the limitations of site-specific or national level analyses that fail to comprehensively integrate the data on woodfuel consumption and production across the relevant sectors.
While designed for wood energy planning, data layers can be overlaid with poverty statistics and used to analyse alternative development scenarios for energy, agriculture, forestry and other national policies. The data supporting WISDOM can be used to produce maps and statistical information to support strategic planning—providing “big picture” information while highlighting local level impacts. More than just a tool for wood energy specialists, it can be used to identify vulnerable populations and ecosystems that require the attention of policy makers in all sectors.
The scope of the study is to apply WISDOM for the analysis of wood energy and poverty situations at regional level, in which a group of countries are studied together. This particular case involves ten countries of east and central Africa: Rwanda, Kenya, Egypt, Burundi, DR Congo, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, and makes use of information derived from the FAO’s Land Cover Classification System (LCCS) and field data from a variety of sources.
This exercise shows that WISDOM is a flexible tool that can be applied for the analysis of woodfuel situations and associated sectors at regional level with several important benefits:
a) it allows for a consistent and holistic view of wood energy systems over entire countries or regions and helps determine priority areas for intervention;
b) it helps to improve understanding of the area-based flow of woodfuels under different ecological and socio-economic conditions;
c) the database can be used to collect existing scattered data from different sources and identify gaps in wood energy data;
d) it promotes cooperation and synergies among stakeholders and institutions and helps to combat the fragmentation (of information, of responsibility) that presently impedes the development of the sector; and
e) it allows action to be concentrated on targeted areas and thus optimises the use of available resources (human, institutional, financial and others).
The east Africa WISDOM report provides examples of the data sets, maps, and analysis provided by the database. The report explains the process of data collection and provides illustrations of the various thematic layers that can be produced at local, regional and national levels. It identifies the number and location of wood energy deficit areas where the lack of sustainable energy might be a threat to agricultural production, food security and nutrition, whilst at the same time highlighting areas where opportunities for increased/improved woodfuel production could benefit local populations.
Forest Products and Economics Division