2. Towns and development
3. Rural fuel production for commercial demand
4. Rural fuel distribution: The dealer system
5. Substitution and innovation
Fuelwood studies have given rather less attention to the effect of urban demand on fuelwood production and supply than to most other aspects. The tendency to regard fuelwood as mainly the concern of rural producers and consumers discouraged the study of the commercial organization of the fuelwood industry, and of the role of fuelwood in the development process. Whilst it is highly probable that most fuelwood use lies outside the monetary economy, nevertheless there is growing, even substantial, evidence of the use of fuelwood in towns (including charcoal) for both domestic and industrial purposes (Arnold, 1978). There is evidence too of the purchase of fuelwood by a small proportion of rural consumers, particularly those who are not farmers or who have higher incomes.
The larger towns and cities are supplied with so-called "modern" fuels and power, particularly electricity, oil derivatives such as kerosene and petrol, gas (usually bottled), coal and coke. Electricity is derived from a number of sources, chiefly coal and water power, but increasing attention is being paid to the possibility of nuclear power and even geothermal energy. The essential features of "modern" fuels and power are that their supply is centralised and mostly in large units in contrast with a dispersed resource such as fuelwood whose production is almost entirely from small units. The urban concentration of population offers scale economies in the supply and marketing of energy which give a considerable advantage for users of "modern" forms of energy. It should, however, be noted that such scale economies can also affect the commercial fuelwood industry despite its more dispersed basis. This geographical difference in the supply structure between town and country is of fundamental importance for rural energy production in so fax as it is required to satisfy urban needs, for concentration of demand and therefore of the distribution system frequently results in concentration of production. This concentration is further encouraged by the factor of transport costs which can provide a marked constraint in the case of fuelwood. This constraint is less for charcoal but limits of about 250 km for Nairobi and rather more than 300 km for Dakar and Khartoum have been noted. Bangkok, with its enormous demand for charcoal for domestic use and its dominance as a city in Thailand, provides a remarkable example of a severely worked wood fuel hinterland. In Brazil, charcoal exploitation is located with reference mainly to industrial demands, particularly for smelting and metal-working.
Wherever towns exist and require fuelwood or charcoal there is always the probability of too rapid a rate of cutting associated with loss of forest or woodland and environmental deterioration, even in areas apparently rich in wood resources. Where urban expansion is extremely rapid, and particularly where it occurs in environments of very limited wood resources such as the African Sahel, such lose and deterioration can be serious, even alarming. It is therefore possible that in many cases the concentration of wood fuel production in rural areas supplying towns is a much more serious environmental and social cost problem than the problem of wood fuel production for rural consumption. If true it may mean that projects to provide more energy in rural areas will be insufficient to reduce environmental damage or solve the problem of rural energy shortage generally. The assumption that rapid urban growth would be accompanied by an increased consumption of centrally supplied fuel and power and a falling proportion of fuels of rural origin has in many cases proved untrue. Generally the towns have proved much less impressive in their "spread" effects of the supply of resources, wealth and technology out of their rural complementary regions, than in their "backwash" effects which tend to drain the rural regions of labour, resources and even capital.
Much of the development effort has concentrated on the towns and within the urban hierarchy, particularly on the largest cities. Often the very largest cities are growing faster than smaller cities and towns, so that the main contrasts in investment and growth are, as it were, within the hierarchy, and there exists in effect a class of "rural towns", dependent mainly on local resources and local exchange. Urban primacy has frequently been cited as a major feature of many developing countries and city size distributions have been related to economic development. In 1975 the percentages of urban population in the largest city were particularly high in Burundi and Lesotho (100), Mozambique (83), Guinea 77 Thailand (69), Jamaica (67), Panama and Costa Rica (65), Senegal (64) and Angola 62. Of the 92 lower and middle income countries listed by the World Bank, 34 in 1975 reported over 40% of urban population in a single city (World Bank, 1979: 164-165). Such primacy has been associated not so much with the spread of wealth to large numbers of urban people, as with the emergence of vast urban slums and informal settlements, mainly of occupier built houses, usually lacking in adequate provision of public utilities and services. These are often the districts which have received increasing numbers of rural immigrants, although in some cities the worst slums are in districts of old houses and the informal settlements represent an improvement. Sometimes such districts form a kind of transit camp between rural and urban status. They can be places where rural styles of life persist and where poverty strengthens the demand for fuelwood and charcoal rather than electricity. The most important cheap centrally supplied fuel is normally kerosene, affected in many cases by rising oil prices. Its competitiveness has frequently depended on price control policies or government subsidies. The rapidity of modern urban growth, cited as 4% per annum for developing countries as a whole for 1950-60 and 1970-80 (World, Bank, 1979: 72) reinforces this tendency for the persistence of rural life styles in urban locations. In effect it is a continuing transfer of a poor rural population to the towns, concentrating it as a purchaser of fuel and power, but unable for some time to improve its income status and change its lifestyle. This rapidity of growth is one of the most important problems of economic development and social change in developing countries. It cannot be doubted that it is of considerable importance in energy production and supply, and that its significance will increase as cities grow larger and as urban proportions of population increase. By the year 2000 it has been estimated that, if present trends persist, there will be 40 Third World cities each of over 5 million population, compared with 12 in the industralized countries (World Bank, 1979: 72).
The complementary rural regions which serve the towns are not small and localized. In many countries they take in most or all of the rural areas. Their bounds are often difficult to define as the urban-rural relationship involves so many different activities and movements for goods and people, and there is frequently a gradient of influence so that urban effects persist at a very low level, even at considerable distances. Within these regions the movements of fuelwood and charcoal frequently involve a variety of transport means and an elaborate organization of dealers, wood cutters and charcoal manufacturers. In some cases this organization is peculiar to the fuelwood and charcoal industry. In others it is part of a larger trading organization, involving the movement of agricultural produce and the supply of consumer goods from the town. This organization links producers and consumers, Its efficiency affects both and, moreover, being in contact with both, it is an important source of information for the research worker. The fact that the number of dealers is very much smaller than the number of producers or consumers, 'but that their information level is generally much higher than both, makes the dealer network a valuable focus for research, particularly where research resources are small and only a few people can be interviewed. That dealers are an important aspect of the development process, whereby rural producers are drawn increasingly into the exchange system, gives their information a particular interest for those who are concerned with development trends.
A commercial fuelwood industry creates not only a distinctive spatial character for fuelwood production in relation to the concentrated markets it largely serves, but also changes the character of fuelwood exploitation. It is more selective of tree species, whether for charcoal production or the urban fuelwood consumer, and it is also more wasteful of the wood resource (Morgan, 1981). It employs paid labour, sometimes specializing in cutting or processing skills, and it has to deal with problems of storage and seasonality in production and supply, in some cases regularly varying the area and location of exploitation. It also diverts wood fuel from subsistence use as poor people in areas of short supply sell their wood or charcoal to higher income groups in the towns. It is the commercial urban supply that creates the most rapid increase in demand for fuelwood, due to urban growth, market expansion a-ad the rapidly rising cost of alternative fuels. It is this sector which also has the most varied fuel demands, even in terms of wood fuels as such, where special preferences for given species as fuelwood or for conversion into charcoal are established, or where the needs for fuel in liquid or gas forms are encouraging research into the possibilities for cheap conversion of wood by pyrolysis or other means in order to improve its potential for substitution in place of other forms of energy.
Whereas subsistence fuelwood production is largely farm based plus localized gathering, a commercial industry can be farm based and can also exploit forest and wood, plantation properties on a considerable scale. In some cases cities produce their own "rural gatherers" in very large numbers, usually operating within a short distance of the built-up area. Where fuelwood is purchased, rather than obtained from the use of family labour not otherwise occupied on the farm, there is an interest in saving fuel in order to reduce costs. It is, therefore, in the commercial sector of fuelwood consumption that there is liable to be most interest in resource conservation by the use of more efficient stoves, whether for heating or cooking. Hence the peculiar importance of commercial fuelwood in any attempt to conserve wood resources and reduction of wood demand by greater efficiency in use. The commercial fuelwood industry helps to create a stove industry, whether through conservation or through the needs of processed fuels like charcoal. It also requires capital for some aspects of the exploitation process and therefore attracts the interest of entrepreneurs who have already been successful in other business enterprises.
Many of the charcoal burners and the small dealers, whether rural or urban, are drawn from the poorest sections of the population. In West Africa, women in particular have been found to act as retailers or as purchasers from farmers supplying very small quantities of wood at a time. There are, however, also the larger dealers capable of organizing the trading system, the producers and transport on a large scale. Trading structures are likely to exhibit considerable variations and need to be understood wherever rural energy development is to be subject to planning policy or technological innovation.
Very large numbers of poor people have become traders in wood fuel, either full or part-time, particularly in wood fuel for domestic purposes. Others are employed as labourers and charcoal burners or in the transport of wood fuels, so that in many countries wood fuel production and distribution is a major employer and a most important source of income. Such work is particularly valuable whenever the growing reason for farm crops is short and there is little alternative off-season employment. It is valuable also for the landless and especially for women who have few opportunities of earning an income of their own. Sometimes, however, the labourers and petty traders in fuelwood are despised as engaging in a poor person's industry, whilst charcoal burners in some countries are despised for being in a dirty activity, Wherever, a shortage of wood fuels develops as demand rises and supply fails to respond or is even reduced, rising prices encourage a greater interest in the trade, attracting richer and more powerful traders who may seek to control the market. Government-supported schemes to develop large scale wood plantations and centralized state controlled distribution systems ignore the existence of the great mass of petty traders and labourers and may even contribute to making large numbers of poor people poorer.
Research into commercial organization and urban demand shares many of the techniques and methodology developed in social science as a whole and discussed elsewhere in this publication. It also has its own special characteristics and Problems due in part to the existence of the small group of wealthier traders, usually highly organized, and having a strong financial interest in the fuelwood and charcoal industry. In addition the urban environment for research has a very different character from the rural environment, usually with a wider ranging class and income structure and special difficulties in sampling and ensuring an adequate response to energy surveys. In certain cities it can be an extremely hostile environment in which to attempt a social survey. The choice of satisfactory locations for research has to meet the demands of a number of very practical social and political considerations.
2.2 Urban functions
2.3 Incomes and employment
2.1.1 Geographical distribution
2.1.2 Urbanization and development
Urbanization refers to the transformation of an area from a rural character with small settlements and mainly extensive economic activities, such as agriculture and forestry, to an urban character, that is having high densities of population associated with centralized economic activities, more especially administration, commerce, services and manufacture. Urbanization includes urban growth. Its chief indicator is normally taken to be the proportion of population living in urban areas. It has become a world-wide phenomenon associated with economic and social transformation from the industrial and power revolution in Europe in the early 19th century to the spread of industrial growth, agricultural change and commerce throughout the world, more especially in developing countries since the early 1950s.
About 30% of the total population of the developing countries is urban, compared with 40%o for the world as a whole. The estimate for the ear 2000 is 46% for the former compared with a world figure of 52% (World Bank, 1979: 72). There are marked regional differences. In Latin America over 60% of the population already live in urban areas and show in many cases primate distributions, i.e. extraordinary levels of concentration into single huge cities. Only Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador fail to exhibit primacy, and Brazil and Ecuador are each dominated by two cities. In tropical Africa and southern Asia only a fifth of the population is urban, although by the year 2000 the proportions are expected to grow to nearly 40% in Africa and about 35% in southern Asia. In tropical Africa there are few cities of any great size although primacy is a common feature - Nigeria is an outstanding exceptions in southern Asia there are some of the world's largest cities, but the urban population is low in such huge population totals, India alone has nearly a third of the developing countries' population, excluding the centrally planned economies. Excluding Hong Kong and Singapore primacy on the Latin American scale is only characteristic of South Korea and Thailand.
Urbanization may be regarded as one of the most important features of economic development and social change. It is more especially associated with the growth of manufacturing industry, the development of administrative functions, education and services of all kinds, and with the centralization of most economic and social activity. The towns are, in consequence, the leading consumers of fossil fuel energy, electricity and imported energy. They also consume large quantities of energy from renewable sources in rural areas. As the problems and costs of using imported energy increases, so the importance of the rural hinterlands in the supply of energy grows. In some cases urban demand for rural energy has tended to outstrip rural supply so that the latter has become a constraint in development.
Opinion has become divided between on the one hand recognition of the need for industrial growth and the kinds of services that can most easily be supplied in urban concentrations, and on the other hand realization of widening income, social and political gaps between town and country, accompanied by urban diseconomies of overcrowding, water shortage, air pollution and traffic congestion, together with social evils associated chiefly with slums. The assocation of urbanization and "modernization" has been regarded as an association with foreign influence and values. The 1975 evacuation of Phnom Penh in the Khmer Republic was an attempt to destroy a "colonial" regional system in order to create a society less subject to foreign influences. Urbanization has assumed a variety of forms in the Third World and differences in the views of research workers in part reflect differences in regional experience.
Urban growth brings with it not only a concentration of energy demand, but a considerable increase in the kinds of energy required. The demands of modern industry, urban residence, transport and service functions must be served by forms of power generation and fuel supply which have been developed elsewhere to satisfy these needs, in particular by electricity and gas for industry, and gasoline and diesel oil for transport. So few attempts have been made to develop alternative forms of energy for these purposes, that in many countries, the price of urban growth is a huge dependence on imported energy and therefore on the development of export industries, or the export of raw materials to earn the foreign exchange required. Without the development of local energy resources urbanization has encouraged dependence on international trade and export productivity for energy supply, i.e. dependence on energy imports. The technology which can convert rural renewable energy materials into forms suitable for urban consumption, which can substitute for imported energy, has hardly been developed at an economic level, although sugar or manioc based alcohol is being produced in some countries (e.g. Brazil) and attempts are being made by pyrolysis to produce gas or liquid fuels from wood. In consequence the main role in urban development of wood fuel from the rural hinterland, and even occasionally of agricultural residues, is to supply the needs of people who cannot afford "modern" fuels or who lack the capital for the equipment needed to use it. They have become an essential part of the informal sector of urban economic activity, satisfying the needs of mall entrepreneurs and a low income domestic sector. Rural renewable energy in the urban, market has so far acted less as a substitute for other forms of energy, with the exception to some extent of kerosene, and more as a supplier of an additional distinctive demand.
2.2.2 Commerce and services
2.2.5 Urban-rural relationships
Fuel and power studies must take into account not only the city as a set of energy consumers, but the city as a political, social and economic unit. Cities have other needs besides energy, and in developing countries have limited resources in relation to development policy. They also have a set of functions which help to determine that policy and their economic growth, and which give them their distinctive character.
Most administrative functions reside in cities and are especially concentrated in the very largest cities, It is this which reinforces the industrial bias in investment which often encourages very large demands for commercial energy, even in poor countries. The social system may cocoon the government official from rural contacts and from awareness of rural problems. Urban pressure groups can exert considerable influence on government, although there are exceptions where a pro-rural elite exists in government or where there is a powerful rural mass movement. In some countries the urban bias in decision-making is reinforced by the existence of extensive government investment in manufacture and commerce or in wholly nationalized undertakings alongside a largely private agricultural sector. Within the city public local administration is often extremely fragmented. In capital cities it is frequently divided between national and local government in ways which make the creation of an integrated planning policy difficult.
Commercial activity and service functions are not only important for the function of the city itself, but give it important links to the surrounding rural area. The city is a market for rural goods, including fuel, and an importer of fuel and power from other regions or other countries. Amongst other exchanges it deals with the movement of consumer and capital goods to its complementary rural region and the return flow of primary and processed materials. It is a source of investment capital, a centre for the supply and repair of farm tools and the supply of fertilizers and seeds. It is a local transport nexus. It is in part the product of commercial agricultural production and in part a stimulus to agricultural development through the influence Of its markets and services, It is a market for rural fuel through the demand of its poor people and the activities of part of its service population. At the same time it affects fuelwood production by the influence it exerts on agricultural methods and organization.
Most industrial development in developing countries is associated with major cities, particularly with ports and capital cities. Outside the larger urban contras it is difficult to find qualified management or particular skills. Only the larger centres have an adequate power and fuel bass, water supply, transport and commercial facilities for the larger firms. Much modern industry is the product of overseas investment, or of overseas management and technology. Parent companies often prefer location near to a suitable port and airport and may find difficulty with communication outside the capital city. The major cities attract office development and frequently provide trading or industrial estates with adequate services and even factory "shells". Much of the large scale industry is basic, i.e. exporting to other regions or overseas. A large part of the non-basic industry, supplying mainly local needs, is informal, small-scale, unregistered or unlicensed, using premises built for other purposes or functioning in the open. It frequently uses charcoal or fuelwood and is highly productive, although measures of its productivity are usually poor or non-existent.
Above all cities are places where people live, many of them too poor to make more than a limited use of the electricity with which their homes may be provided, or preferring the reliability of a stove using fuelwood or charcoal to the unreliability of commercial fuel and power supplies from distant sources. There are good indications in urban energy studies of a relationship between income group or social status and fuel and power preference, In many cities social groups in part exhibit distinct geographical distribution, that is the cities have sectors or zones dominated in whole or large part by particular groups, They also frequently have mixed sectors and broad zones of overlap in between. Where social survey work has already been completed it is possible to organize stratified sampling in a way which can take advantage of this geographical distribution. Some indications of social or income distribution may be obtained from maps or aerial photographs, since there are also associations with buildings density, size and type, and even in some cases with road plans. A core or inner ring of older buildings, often affected by multi-occupance and including some recent development may be expected. Cities mostly grow outwards, and unless there has been a great deal of urban renewal or unless extensive old outer suburbs have been absorbed by the expansion, there should be some progression outwards from older to newer housing with, in some cases, some association with age-groups and family size. Extensive peripheral informal or so-called squatter settlements associated with houses built by their occupants and of very varying character may be expected in most cities in developing countries. Such settlements may also appear on sites long overdue for redevelopment and close to the urban centre. Many informal settlements house middle income groups with larger houses of fair quality, often preferred to the ready-made tenement slums otherwise available.
The classification of settlement and society into urban and rural seems valid enough geographically, expecially in many developing countries where the built-up area limits are sharp, and valid socially when one considers differences in life-styles, occupations, incomes and access to political power. There are, however, problems in making the distinction in that cities are foci of social life for both urban and rural communities and centres for the provision of rural services. Many people move regularly between town and country for both social and economic activities and many families have members living in both environments. It would be false to assume that "modernization" belongs only to the city or that limited and apparently unsophisticated forms of energy use are necessarily traditional. The supposed homogeneity of either urban or rural society is not borne out by most detailed research. Both societies tend to be heterogeneous and both exhibit modern and traditional elements, Frequently migration to the city has been the product not of urban development causing attraction, but of rural social and economic change causing push.
The geographical concept of urban field, hinterland or complementary region defined as an area of flow of goods, information, services and people between it and a central place, has proved useful In studies of the relation of town and country. The urban field is not necessarily the exclusive zone of a particular central place, although low order goods moving short distances, such as fuelwood and kerosene for domestic consumption, tend to reach customers from their nearest supply centre.
Alongside the concept of urbanization we have the notion of "ruralization" or rural influences on urban environments. These are, however, "influences"' rather than "transformations". Ruralization is not the reverse process to urbanization, but rather its complement. The effect of rapid immigration in populating parts of the city with recently arrived rural people has been cited. Connections with rural locations as "home", are often strongly maintained, together with membership of rural based societies. Many cities have considerable populations of farmers, often only part-timers, but in many cases earning as much or more from their farming as from their more urban occupations. In the peripheral suburbs access to rural areas is easy and in consequence movements of people between town and country are frequent. Where wood is regarded as a common good or there is great pressure for fuelwood, a peripheral urban population can strip the immediately surrounding ("peri-urban") rural area of most of its fuelwood resource. Where urban demands are heavy and resources are poor the decline in fuelwood supply leads to high prices and high rates of expenditure. As much as 25% of income is spent on fuelwood amongst the poorer families in the West African Sahel and the Andean Plateau.
Income disparities between rural and urban areas in developing countries are commonly of the order of 1.5 to 3 times and in some cases may rise as high as 9 times. Urban costs of living are frequently higher and may include extra costs such as commuting, higher housing costs, water supply and sanitation, but some of these extra costs are for benefits. There are also extra rural costs for health, secondary education, journeys to market, doctors and places of entertainment. Higher income and standards of living make the urban areas attractive to rural migrants, even with long periods of unemployment or under-employment before the desired urban job is obtained. Lack of job opportunities, low earning capacity in farm work ("real rural incomes" are lower than most rural income estimates suggest, since these include the incomes of rural traders, money-lenders and the professional class) and a limited social environment combined with poor living conditions are strong push factors. These income differences are important factors in differences in fuel and power preference, and not just difference in access to fuels or differences in attitudes to modern technology and convenience. Frequently, surveys indicate that rural people would much prefer to cook with electricity, gas or kerosene rather than fuelwood, but either lack the income necessary or are simply unable to gain access to the preferred fuel. Poverty tends to worsen as technological modernization increases social and economic disparities. Income inequalities are maintained by a structure of production and a political power system that is oriented towards the sectors of the economy most susceptible to technological modernization. Hence the importance of an intermediate technology to reduce some of the disparity, despite doubts about its role as a poor man's alternative.
It might be supposed that the effect of rising incomes in towns would be the substitution of centrally supplied "modern" fuels for wood and charcoal. Such centrally supplied fuels are more varied and in relation to the demands of higher income groups may exhibit higher income elasticities. Fernandez (1980) has suggested higher income elasticities for "commercial" than "non-commercial" fuels in urban areas, whilst in rural areas income elasticities for both were thought to be similar. However, Cecelski & Dunkerley (1980) warn that quantification of these relationships has been based on inadequate data and that more studies are needed before current results can be confirmed. They conclude that "we cannot really be sure of the relative rates of growth of 'commercial' and 'traditional' energy consumption within total household use in the future".
The labour resource is an important factor in fuelwood exploitation and charcoal production, and local employment levels in other occupations are therefore a factor in fuelwood and charcoal supply. Unemployment and under-employment levels in developing country cities have been claimed to be high, although frequently the data regarding employment levels are doubtful and too little attention is paid to employment in informal industry and services. Often the urban unemployed must spend their time seeking work in the city and are unwilling to return to rural areas where there are so few adequately paid jobs. Near the city, villages tend to lose their young people to urban occupations in large numbers, so that labour for the development of fuelwood industries is often more available at some distance from the city. In some cases this may be a factor in planning the exploitation of forest resources. There is some evidence of return movements of labour from urban to rural areas, not just for social occasions, more especially where urban unemployment has reached extremely high levels. Some urban unemployed take short-term rural jobs in order to support the cost of their search for work.
3.3 Additional rural energy resources
3.6 Transport costs
The organization of rural fuel production to satisfy commercial demand has some similarity to the commercial organization of agricultural production. Producers are scattered at varying densities over a considerable area and their goods have to find their way to a centralized market. As with agriculture there is a considerable subsistence sector and the relationship of commerce and subsistence is for many farmers an important element in production. In some regions there are few specialist wood fuel producers, but in others, more especially those where wood fuel has acquired a commercial value, wood fuel production and distribution is a major industry with many full-time employees and entrepreneurs. Wood resources come variously from forest estates, woodlots, plantations, areas of woodland or forest held in common, and farmland, including farm fallows, crop land and pasture, and areas of tree crop production. For most farmers wood cutting and gathering are secondary activities often left to the women and children. Often the wood fuel produced on their farms is simply the by-product of clearing land for cultivation. There are farmers, however, who derive a large part of their earnings from it. In India some social groups, such as the gypsies, live almost entirely on earnings from fuelwood gathering and production, whilst small dealers and producers in areas like Gujarat have increased their bargaining power by organizing themselves into co-operatives. Ay (1980) noted in southern Nigeria that whereas in the past only the poorest people sold fuelwood, today there are farmers who make a good living from it and who use powered saws to increase their output. Full-time entrepreneurs may contract with farmers or estate holders to out wood on their land, using hired labour, or to convert such wood into charcoal. Split logs and charcoal are usually produced either by a hired labour force or by small independent entrepreneurs. It may be guessed that well over ninety percent of fuel produced in rural areas consists of wood and charcoal, apart from areas with a high level of dependence on dung or crop residues. This paper will be concerned mainly with wood and charcoal dependent areas and with the factors concerned in the commercial production of their fuel.
Fuelwood is usually sold either as roundwood, mainly for domestic use in stoves or open fires, or as split logs, chiefly for commercial and industrial purposes, Twigs and very thin material are not usually sold, but may be used as a cheap or free fuel in rural areas. There are some exceptions, e.g. Kenya, where their sticks are bundled for sale, Wood may also be sold for fuel as wood chips or processed into a variety of other energy forms, including gas and liquid. The timber industry is an important source of fuelwood from material otherwise wasted, not only at source, but in processing centres where wood is cut into planks or other shapes. Most species will burn, but vary considerably In their qualities as fuelwood or for ease in cutting and handling. Different species may have different prices. Drying out and avoidance of rot are also important features. In survey work there are distinct problems in measuring quantities of fuelwood sold or consumed, as it is normally handled by the bundle or the larger stere and these have some variation in size and considerable variation in the amount of wood contained, even between bundles of similar volume, It is important to bear in mind that tropical forests and woodlands characteristically contain a very great variety of species, with considerable variation in density, burning properties and shape. This variety can also occur in the fallow trees and useful trees of tropical farms. Much of the woodland supply, particularly to the towns, comes from farmland, including both wooded areas within croplands and old fruit, fibre and oil producing trees. It is estimated that in Sri Lanka, for example, over half the wood fuel comes from coconut and rubber plantations.
For most fuelwood production very little capital is required. An axe or a machete are the only tools needed and where large trees must be cut they may be killed by ring girdling or burning at the base and left to dry out. Dead trees which await cutting may be seen as a widespread feature in tropical Africa and represent a form of fuelwood capital. They may be counted for survey purposes on large scale aerial photographs, but there are dangers in attempting to use information of this kind. We do not know from aerial photographs whether the dead trees are intended for use as fuelwood and many trees are hidden under the living canopy. Moreover, we would also need to know the seasonal pattern of tree killing and cutting before we could interpret photographs taken on a particular day of the year. In recent years capital expenditures have been increased as more trees have been purchased for split logs and as more sophisticated tools have been used, including chain saws and chemicals for killing.
For many farmers fuelwood is still regarded as a free good. No price has to be paid and the tools used are those already in use on the farm. There are, however, rural landless people who possess no wood resources of their own and are dependent for wood fuel on what they are allowed to gather or out on farms, where they work as labourers or can obtain from a village communal resource. Where wood shortages occur such people have great difficulty in obtaining fuel for cooking. Pew of them can afford to buy it, so they rarely affect the commercial supply except as a source of hired labour. For them increased wood production by the development of plantations, involving costs and commercialization, would not provide a solution for their fuel problems, except in so far as it reduced the demand in the commercial market for any village wood to which they had access.
Fuelwood production is attractive to the pet-by entrepreneur who has very little capital, and to the farmer who wishes to become a part-time trader and to expand his earning capacity beyond the production possibilities offered by his farm. It may also be attractive to those entrepreneurs, including women, who have no farms. However, there can be little doubt that urban-based traders, better provided with capital, have realised the possibilities, more especially in the "industrial" trade in split logs which needs regular supply and a large scale spatial organization.
It should not be forgotten also that national governments usually through a forestry department, and local authorities from urban to village levels, have frequently invested capital in fuelwood production, chiefly in the form of plantations. Urban growth was understood as a factor in the creation of fuelwood shortage early in the century, and fuelwood plantations were developed in Africa and southern Asia.
Charcoal is the most important commercial fuel derived from wood. Smoke free, capable of controlled use in a small and cheap stove, and also capable of producing greater heat than wood, it is suitable for a wide variety of industrial and domestic uses and especially for use In an urban environment. It can also be used as a reducing agent in metallurgy and as an absorbent in filters. In most developing countries it is the chief form in which wood fuel is used in towns, but in a few countries, such as Nigeria and Zimbabwe, fuelwood is preferred to charcoal, and cooking on open fires is widespread, even in the towns. Charcoal is also easily stored, takes up less space than wood for a given production of heat and does not deteriorate, It is more easily handled in transport and distribution and is less easily ignited so that it is safer to use than wood. It can, however, produce fumes, even asphyxia in poorly ventilated rooms, and is also generally regarded as a dirty fuel with large quantities of dust. In many countries charcoal is replacing fuelwood for both domestic and minor industrial purposes, particularly in the towns. In part this is a product not just of its greater convenience as a fuel, but of commercial advantage, which in many cities makes charcoal somewhat cheaper than fuelwood for equivalent heat production. In subsistence fuel consumption there is very little tendency to change and most of the advantages lie with fuelwood as an apparently "free" good. In commercial consumption costs of handling and distribution are as important factors in total cost as the costs of production. In southeast Asia and Cast Africa charcoal has become the chief fuel of the urban poor whilst fuelwood has remained dominant in rural areas. Distance to wood resource has acted differently between fuelwood and charcoal so that the more distant the resource and the greater the transport cost, the greater advantage of conversion to charcoal (see Digernes 1977 and 1980).
In most countries charcoal burning is still done in simple earth or pit kilns by small entrepreneurs, often operating individually or in very small groups and employing little if any capital. Their methods are labour-intensive, can use large pieces of wood and are little affected by wood moisture content. The quality and quantity of charcoal produced is variable and by-products are lost, so that over-all efficiency is low. In Tanzania and Kenya very small kilns are operated by individual burners, but in Senegal large earth kilns are used by burners' co-operatives, each employing 10-15 workers, and operating under a system of licences (Foley & van Buren, 1980). In some countries, such as Thailand, brick kilns are used on a small-scale, "cottage industry", basis to supply urban demand (de Backer & Openshaw, 1972). Brick, concrete or metal kilns give better control and a cleaner product, but require some capital investment. Like earth and pit kilns they make possible a widespread, fairly mobile and small scale operator industry. Much higher levels of efficiency are possible with continous production kilns or retorts from which all gas and liquid by-products are recovered, and which achieve high yields with quality control. They are capital-intensive, but use much less labour for a given output. Size and moisture content of wood need strict control and external energy sources are also required. Continous production kilns and retorts need large quantities of wood and are fixed, that is the wood has to be brought to theme Unless cheap transport is available, intensive local wood production is required, usually in the form of wood fuel plantations.
There are preferred species for charcoal production and a great deal of waste is often incurred in preparations Many tropical forests and woodlands have a great variety of species so that the density of wood production suitable for processing may be much less than it appears. Hence the advantage of particular environmental conditions which favour the concentration of a preferred species, as for example the estuarine concentration of mangroves which produce very suitable wood for charcoal manufacture. Plantations of one species clearly have a considerable advantage.
Crop production and livestock rearing provide a wide range of waste materials capable of burning. Dried cattle dung is used in southern Asia and a few regions in tropical Africa, mainly in the villages, but occasionally as a commercial fuel even in towns. Sorghum stalks are sold for cooking fuel in west Africa and a great variety of crop residues are used In the villages, including rice stems and hulls, groundnut hulls, twigs, leaves and the remains of fruit and nut picking and preparations Oil seed wastes are commonly used as fire-lighters. Most of this material is used on a subsistence basis, but in such use it frequently releases an equivalent quantity of fuelwood for sale. Thus rural poverty encourages the "export" of the higher quality fuels.
There are a number of other sources of fuel and power in rural areas including methane from animal dung and vegetable waste, alcohol from crop plants or biomass plant production systems, direct use of solar energy, wind, falling water, peat, minerals and the use of human and animal power. Some of these may become extremely important as substitutes for wood fuels or for other major sources of energy as new discoveries in technology change the preferences in and the balance of fuel use. However, at present their commercial use and commercial potential are limited.
Wherever wood is out for commercial purposes the chief cost is labour. In many commercial operations hired labour gangs are used, as in the cutting of wood fuel for industrial purposes in Brazil or in west Africa. Even where small operators cut on their own account, they must out for the cash they can earn as a return on the labour they expend, as compared with the earnings they could achieve in some other activity.
In the case of roundwood for domestic use, much of it is cut on farms by spare-time labour, including the labour not only of men but of women and children, normally regarded as free, i.e. no wage is involved and the labour has already to be supported with the produce of the farm. In some cases fuelwood cutting and sale may provide a woman's perquisite, a small source of spare time cash.
Labour is most available during the dry season when wood dries well and is usually easiest to out. With seasonal variation in both cutting suitability and labour availability there is seasonal variation in productivity and prices, of which the commercial wood fuel research worker must be aware. Wet season prices can be very high and encourage the exploitation of poor quality or distant resources. Charcoal production is more specialized than fuelwood cutting and preparation and may be expected to attract some more permanent or at least longer term labour force. Even so difficulties in the rainy season are considerable and lead again to seasonality in production. A point of some importance is that although the drier savanna woodlands generally have a poorer wood resource in terms of productivity per hectare, they do have a long dry season offering long-term labour employment in wood fuel production. The attraction of working in the industry to poor farm labourers with no alternative employment in the dry season should be considerable.
With a concentrated urban demand for fuelwood and charcoal, and supposed high levels of urban unemployment and under-employment, it might be thought that urban labour was easily available for cutting and processing near the town. One may suspect that in some instances this is not the case, despite high levels of urban unemployment, as fuelwood cutting is a rural occupation and labour looking for work in the town may prefer not to return to rural areas. At Ife in southern Nigeria immigrant Hausa from northern Nigeria are employed in tree cutting gangs, instead of local labour, and have to be transported to the work site. Moreover, where the unemployed are seeking urban jobs they may prefer to be on hand to take whatever may be offered as it is offered. They may even have some part-time informal occupation on a regular basis. These constraints would not, of course, prevent those living in the peripheral suburbs from visiting neighbouring rural locations to out some wood on their own account. In some locations rural areas near to towns may be expected to exhibit high rates of emigration and to be occupied mainly by older people. Where this proves to be the case such areas will be affected by labour shortage and may need immigrant labour for wood fuel exploitation. In other locations, however, long distance migration is an important factor in the urban labour supply, competing with local rural migrants for jobs, and reducing urban dependence on the surrounding hinterland.
Land as a factor includes both location and environment., Where wood is planted or managed in an agro-forestry system we may need to consider the cost of land or its implied coat as a factor. In some cases, particularly in Tropical Africa, the existence of use-right or usufructuary systems of land tenure may mean that land cannot be bought and sold as such and the question of land costs does not arises However, even in these cases some changes of tenure are taking place and, some trees, particularly valuable timber, fruit and fibre trees, may be owned even where they occur on land subject to common rights. However, private tenure is widespread, particularly in Latin America and Southern Asia, and is reported to be expanding in Africa with consequent reduction in access in fuelwood (Brokensha & Riley, 1978). Ownership may take the form of owner-occupation where farming families may gather fuelwood on their own property, or on estates where various forms of renting or leasing farms may operate which may not always include an automatic right for farmers to take wood. Sometimes a distinction is made between wood fuel for the farming family and wood fuel for commercial purposes, the rights to which may be leased to specialized wood cutting or charcoal making firms. Much of the forested land is owned or controlled by governments, and various degrees of management are exercised through forest or agriculture departments or ministries. Evidence of deforestation and fear of timber and fuelwood shortage has encouraged some governments at either national or regional level to increase their control of forest lands, including both ownership and increased supervision of private forest management. In some cases government has acquired land for state controlled wood fuel plantations. However, not all cases of such intervention have proved effective and In several instances there has been a successful private response to fuelwood shortage by cultivating wood as a cash-crop, as in Ethiopia or India, or developing multi-purpose wood plantations as in Kenya where black wattle has been grown for both tannin and wood fuel, or Nigeria, where teak has been grown for wood fuel and timber.
It may be expected that location in relation to the urban market will be an important production factor, since one of the major costs in the supply of wood fuels is transport, although admittedly varying considerably from one location to another. Generally we may expect transport costs to have an effect on the location of commercial fuelwood production since fuelwood is a relatively low-value bulk goods Loading and unloading is often a very expensive element, but except in so far as labour costs may vary with location, in general terms it should not necessarily be a location differentiating factor.
Ferguson (1973) calculated the distance limits for fuelwood and pole production around the towns for northern Nigeria. Although his results are not universally applicable, they do give an idea of the kinds of cost which may be expected and their variation in relation to road quality and production systems. He was able to show, for example, that the combination in plantation systems of fuelwood with pole and timber production generally lowers fuelwood production costs and makes conveyance possible over greater distances than when fuelwood is produced alone. In practice transport costs also vary considerably between operatives and may be affected by local regulations and subsidies. Much wood in Nigeria, and elsewhere, is known to move as a "make-weight" or "fill-up" load on lorries, and travel as a driver's perquisite, which he may sell on his own account at destination, that is lorries carrying food, commercial crops or even passengers, may carry wood as an additional load in any remaining empty space.
In effect the transport cost of such wood may be nil, Wood and charcoal may also be carried by farmers or their family labour as head loads, bicycle loads or animal loads. Again such conveyance may be a spare time occupation, almost impossible to cost for the purpose of a fuelwood research project. Charcoal is usually much cheaper to transport than wood and is frequently carried for considerable distances - often in excess of 300 km. where urban demand is high and especially in the rainy season, where local wood may be too moist or when labour may abandon wood cutting for farming.
The analysis of transport systems in order to understand their effectiveness for moving wood fuel usually involves dealing with a considerable complexity in freight rates, alternative systems, combinations of transport modes and trade-offs between the different kinds of good carried and the prospect of return loads, Specialist wood or charcoal producers, hiring their own transport to move fuel to urban markets, may find very little prospect of a return loads. In Nigeria, however, the movement of fuelwood and food crops on donkeys to the city of Kano finds a return load in the urban night-soil which is used to fertilize the surrounding farms. Where a number of private lorry owners exist, they will frequently offer competing freight rates, subject to local and seasonal adjustment which make general freight rates for broad estimation extremely difficult to calculate. Often operating costs depend in part on government regulations designed to limit private transport operations for political purposes, to control it for safety reasons, or to protect a competing government owned system. Railway freight rates in any one country frequently exhibit bewildering variety between goods carried, by locations or for varying distances. Over long distances railways are generally cheaper than lorries for the movement of bulk goods. Where wood fuel resources and their markets are both close to railway it can prove an efficient and cheap means of moving wood over considerable distances. River or lagoon transport can be even cheaper. Lagos, the capital of Nigeria, is at the centre of a system of lagoons offering cheap water-borne access to mangroves cut for charcoal. Charcoal also moves overseas quite cheaply, particularly to markets close to port. Kenya, for many years has exported charcoal to the countries of the Arabian peninsula, but has had to ban the trade because of the fear of overcutting. However, movement by railway or by water frequently suffers from the disadvantage of a limited network, requiring additional modes of transport to reach markets situated at some distance from the system. Where several modes of transport are combined, costs are high, due to the expense of loading and unloading, and in such instances direct movement from resource to market by road has a competitive advantage even over long distances.
Transport can act as a spatially differentiating factor in the production of wood fuels and their supply to urban markets, other factors being equal. A simple model can be made to illustrate the general effect (see Figure 3-1). This model can be made a closer approximation to reality by increasing its complexity through the admission of other factors such as the availability of capital and labour, management, information, social relationships and population distribution and movement. The model suggests a zonation of the different forms of wood fuel production (Morgan, 1981). Next to the town, here assumed to be the chief centre in the region of commercial wood fuel consumption, there is a peri-urban zone varying in width for the locations for which data are available, between 2 and 5 km. This zone is heavily cut, even degraded around some cities as people from the town have regular access to it on foot or by cycles It has lowest transport costs and is often a location for wood fuel plantations, but in many cases it is difficult to protect these from damage or illicit cutting. For distances extending up to 15-60 km from the town there is a zone of near farmland (width 10-58 km), Here woodland or forest usually occurs in patches in areas unsuited for farming. In accessible locations charcoal burning and wood cutting create considerable pressures on wood resources. Commercial production concentrates on roundwood and split logs., Beyond is the main area of farmland extending up to 80-300 km from the town width 20-285 km). Here again woodland occurs in patches, but many of these are more extensive. Transport costs are higher and commercial roundwood production is often small or non-existent. Instead charcoal and split logs are the main commercial products. Beyond 80-300 km from the town are the forest reserves and main timber exploitations where fuelwood is a useful by-product and large scale charcoal production is possible.
4.1 The urban dealer network
4.2 The rural dealer network
Very little research has been done on fuelwood and charcoal dealer systems as such, although many publications refer to commercial aspects, transport and trade. In part this may arise from a tendency for research workers to focus on consumption as the key indicator of energy availability problems and as the focal point of substitution between one form of energy and another. In part it may also have arisen from a more ecological interest in production with an assumption that most production is oriented to subsistence supply and therefore of little economic interest. In part also it may be based on the assumption that general dealer and market studies will uncover all that we need to know about dealing in wood fuels. Although fuelwood and charcoal are sold in some markets and are also handled by dealers handling other goods, there is increasing evidence of a distinctive group of fuelwood and charcoal dealers, some of whom appear to have invested money in transport and production, and there is also evidence of considerable sales outside the periodic markets. In some cases, particularly In the case of fuelwood and charcoal for industrial purposes, there is direct delivery from production source to consumer. Domestic roundwood supplies may be fetched by consumers from farms or roadside sales points by cycle, car or pack-animal or may even be head-loaded, or, more commonly, may be supplied from a local retail fuel store. Where fuelwood is sold to urban consumers on any large scale it may be expected that such stores will occur at frequent intervals, as they do in the cities of southwestern Nigeria, for most urban customers prefer to carry wood loads for only short distances.
More study is needed of wood fuel dealer systems for they may well affect supply and oven fuel preferences., They often provide an occupation for poor women, at both the town and country ends of the network, and they are an important means by which information is ex changed between producers and consumers.
Many dealers may specialize in fuelwood and charcoal, but may also handle other fuels such as kerosene, and supply In addition such goods as hurricane lamps, fire-lighters, matches and electric batteries. Small metal mood stoves are usually brought directly from their makers.
In most countries the supply of wood fuel and the operations of the network of dealers are much affected by government controls of trade and transport, by regulations of trade in general and of the handling of wood fuels in particular, by systems of price control including regularly posted prices, by the activities of ministries of energy, fuel and power, forests and agriculture, and even by direct intervention in the distribution system, In extreme oases sales of certain fuels have been banned, as, for example, in the Republic of Korea where the government prohibited the sale of fuelwood to the towns. Substitutability of the various forms of fuel and power depends in part on their prices, and these are affected not only by price controls aver the whole range of energy supply, not just wood fuels, but by subsidies given to encourage the use of a particular fuel rather than another - for example, kerosene has been subsidized to encourage its use in place of wood where deforestation is thought to be threatened. Thus government policy affects energy costs and preferences and can affect the livelihood of vast numbers of people In the wood fuels trade. Many of these are specialized dealers so that some new regulation affecting fuel supply and perhaps reducing income cannot be countered by increased dealing in other commodities. However, some dealers buy and sell other goods and are able to change the pattern of their operations in relation to their estimate of the changing profitability of the goods which they handle.
Figure 3-1 Suggested zonation of farmland and fuelwood production around towns of over 100.000 population in the humid savannas and rainforest.
Taken from a diagram in W.B. Morgan and We Moss, fuelwood and rural energy production and supply in the humid tropics, United Nations University, Tokyo, and Tycooly International, Dublin, 1981.
Dealers have information about production, consumption, fuel preferences, prices and movement and are sometimes willing to supply information to research surveyors, often depending on the extent to which their activities are affected by government regulation. The kinds of fuel they sell and the quantities currently available are often on display at their stalls. It is possible to identify and even rank order preferred species. Repeated in different regions this exercise can provide a regional comparison of resources. Since dealers are small in number compared with either producers or consumers they provide a small group of people, fairly easy to identify and find. They are normally in most accessible locations and usually have a great deal of knowledge not only about fuel supply and production, but about one another and the operation of the dealer systems Their customers and the people from whom they obtain their supplies are frequently regular and well known to them.
Where funds for research on the wood fuel industry are very limited and few research workers can be found to conduct social survey work, concentration on dealers may frequently be found to pay handsome dividends in the amount of information obtained for the effort expended. However, it should not be thought that research based on dealers alone can provide a reliable over-view of the entire production, supply and consumption system for wood fuels. Research workers should always attempt to sample all aspects of the system wherever possible.
Little information is available on urban dealer networks. The most detailed study in probably Omotara's (1974) account of the dealer system in Ife, southern Nigeria, where there is a small hierarchy of sellers of fuelwood and charcoal in which the chief element is a large number of women dealers selling fuel locally from small stalls and who appear to be well organized in a regular system of supply. Major dealers or wholesalers supplied the women with wood and charcoal owned lorries and arranged for direct delivery to bakeries, cooked meat sellers, schools and retail outlets. Wood supply was particularly sensitive to transport costs and there can be little doubt that rising fuel costs must encourage contraction in the area of supply with more intensive cutting. Charcoal had only limited use for cooking and heating and was sold mainly to heat irons for pressing clothes, or for industrial purposes such as metal working. Some immigrant labour was used to out wood, otherwise the dealers Interviewed were local people. By contrast, in Abidjan, Monnier (1972) found that the sale of fuelwood at both wholesale and retail levels was in the hands of immigrants from Mali.
Undoubtedly in Africa and in southern Asia much of the fuel trade of rural origin is in the hands of petty dealers with very little capital and who may deal in other goods as opportunities permit. They will no doubt suffer from problems of liquidity, although the demands of other members of their families may discourage the holding of much cash., Often fuelwood dealing is an unlicensed trade easy to enter, the first step on a trading ladder, and in consequence despised by the bigger dealers. Attitudes undoubtedly vary from region to region, Charcoal production and dealing may require licensing, and where they do, some unlicensed activity, difficult to discover and estimate, may be expected. Not all retail dealers require stalls. Digernes (1980) refers in Bara, Sudan, to an extensive fuelwood business operated by women and children, whilst the charcoal trade was managed by men. Both commodities were sold from door-to-door. There is no market place for fuel in Bara. Ouedraogo & Vennetier (1977) refer to the considerable fuelwood traffic of Ouagadougou, much of it carried in donkey-drawn carts which move along the streets in search of customers. Hehr (1967) reports door-to-door charcoal sales in Guatemala, some with regular customers.
Survey work amongst urban dealers has some advantages over research in rural areas. At least the dealers are more concentrated in space and, where they sell from stalls, are easily accessible. In some cases itinerant traders operate from door-to-door. These may sometimes be more difficult to contact and may object to the delay in their activities imposed by having to answer questions, although some researchers have reported no difficulties in interviewing them. There will also be an element of uncertainty with regard to the trading population, unless surveyors are stationed at key points in the city for very long periods in order to ensure meeting all the dealers involved. The complexity of many dealer systems could also create problems in that the sale of fuels from rural areas may not be solely in the hands of specialized dealers in ail established network. Other dealers may sell fuel, and part-time traders may exist, including farmers selling some fuelwood for extra cash.
In the rural areas petty dealers in fuelwood are common in the villages., Some deal in other goods or handle consumer goods from the city for sale in rural areas. Many, however, are very poor people who buy a little mood from local farmers or who hire a few labourers to cut for them and then arrange for its transport to a roadside site, where it can be picked up by lorry or sold to passing customers. In southern Nigeria and Kenya a great deal of wood is sold directly to a car-owning affluent class. Distance to roadside has to be paid for or cost a great deal of effort. In consequence not much commercial fuelwood is obtained from places poorly served by road transport, except where the pressures of demand on a poor resource base and, in consequence, prices are very high. Accessibility is a very important factor in the geographical distribution of the dealer network. Ay (1980) noted that location near a main road was an important element in the fuelwood business in Nigeria. Both split logs and roundwood may be sold by petty dealers and even charcoal produced by farmers in small quantities from clearing trees to create farmlands However, much of the split log and charcoal business is by direct sale to urban industrial or other large-scale consumers. In consequence it is often handled by major dealers seeking larger and more concentrated resources for production, justifying the hire of lorries especially for the purpose. Activity on this scale often occurs at some distance from the city and is not necessarily spread round the city but may be concentrated on main roads. It can be strongly sectorized (Sale, 1981) in areas where contracts for cutting have been made and where the dealers have adequate information about the nature and abundance of the resource they seek. Large scale production systems for commercial purposes, concentrated into particular regions, appear in a number of countries. They have been noted, for example, in Uganda in the supply of charcoal to Kampala and Entebbe, and in Thailand in the charcoal trade to Bangkok.
The transport factor clearly has a very important role in the dealer system, although it should not be assumed that transport costs operate in some uniform way to create a regular friction of distance and a definite boundary to supply. Fairly clear boundaries may occur where there is a "watershed" effect, that is where the supply areas of two cities meet. There is a tendency for petty dealers to sell to the nearest city and not to engage in trading competition with one another. The product, as between one dealer and another, is fairly uniform (dealers handle similar varieties of wood species in a given area) and often, despite the informal nature of the system, there is a broad correspondence in prices at a given distance. However, the most expensive transport costs may be head-loading or bicycle-loading to the road, or loading and unloading lorries. Freight rates may differ between lorry owners and be "stepped" so that the cost per ton/mile decreases with distance in a series of fixed steps. Direct delivery of industrial fuelwood by lorries owned by an entrepreneur, who also has control over cutting and preparation, clearly has some cost-reducing advantages.
Even charcoal manufacture may face high local transport costs, not just to market, but of wood to kiln and from kiln to lorry pick-up point, as Ay (1980) has shown. As favoured hardwood species become more scarce local cutting has to move further into the woodland and away from the kilns. Eventually the producers themselves must follow since charcoal is less costly to move than wood, and then charcoal must be headloaded to the collecting point.
Wood and charcoal may also be carried by pack-animals or on carts drawn by animals. In such cases very small transport "operators" may exist in large numbers, often farmers acting as part-time wood carriers and dealers. Where movements of petty carriers are widespread, as around Kano in northern Nigeria and Ouagadougou, survey work faces a heavy task in achieving an adequate check on fuel movements
5.2 Innovation and change
5.3 Improving efficiency in energy production and use
The towns are the chief consumers of fuel and power and particularly of oil derived fuels and hydro- and thermal electricity, Huge quantities of energy are needed not only for industrial purposes, but for transport, including the network linking town and country side, and for the cooling of offices and hotels. The more developed the production, administrative and information systems, the more commercial energy has been used as a substitute for labour, and the more dependent, in many cases, the urban system has become on imported oil. In the surrounding rural area the use of commercial energy, although usually less than the use of local fuelwood, is nevertheless of vital importance for the developing sector of the rural economy, including the transport of rural fuel and farm produce to urban consumers, the return movement of consumer goods, rural lighting (usually kerosene or electricity) and rural power uses. Attempts to reduce the bill for imported oil must concentrate mainly on urban uses which offer the main scope for substitution.
The area of urban-based and rural-based interchange of fuel and power supplies provides a zone of energy competition and substitution. Both rural and urban fuel and power resources are of considerable variety. The urban have a wider range of uses, generally require more elaborate and expensive equipment, are centrally organized close to their main market, and to reach rural consumers have to overcome the friction of distance and the costs of supplying very small markets. The rural have dispersed production and local consumption, but move inwards to a large market, again being affected by the friction of distance, but requiring only cheap or virtually no equipment.
In most developing countries fuelwood and charcoal have an over-riding importance as the fuels of poor people, of informal industry and as stand-by fuels. Nevertheless there has been a great deal of commercial competition by other fuels for these uses and substitution has taken place. The substitution of fuelwood for these other fuels is also taking place as relative prices and availability change, that is substitution is acting both ways at different times and in different places. The cost of oil imports has made heavy demands on foreign exchange in most countries and in consequence urban areas appear to have increased their requirement for rural fuels. In India kerosene prices almost doubled between 1973 and 1975 and there was some reduction in kerosene sales after some popularity in 1970-73. McGranahan et al, (1980), for example, reported a three-fold increase in kerosene prices in et al., the period 1974-77 compared with a doubling of charcoal prices, so that for many urban consumers charcoal became a preferred fuel. Such a change is not always easy to effect, however, as it involves a change in equipment. Kerosene stoves are expensive items for poor people, and they are understandably reluctant to cease using something on which they, have spent a high proportion of the little capital they possess.
In considering substitution we are therefore concerned both with the increased use of fuelwood and charcoal as alternatives to more expensive imported fuels, and with the possibility of finding substitutes for wood fuels wherever wood resources appear threatened by unduly heavy demands. In examining these possibilities we have also to bear in mind altering conditions of supply. The period 1980-81 for example has seen the world oil supply shift from shortage to glut. We have also to consider encouraging increased production, particularly of wood, and applying conservation techniques, including the development of more efficient stoves.
Substitutions for wood, which in general have been more widely reported, include increased kerosene and butane use in South Korea, where the sale of wood in towns was banned, and the subsidised use of kerosene and soft coke in India, where domestic stoves have been developed for their use,
Animal dung has also acted as a substitute for wood where local wood resources have become scarce. Kerosene has provided the cheapest and most common substitute for wood, although much less popular in recent years due to rising prices. A major difficulty in effecting the change has been the need to purchase stoves, thus involving a capital cost. Often such stoves have been too small for the needs of large families and unsuitable for the use of traditional cooking utensils. They are also generally less effective than open wood fires for stewing or simmering food, a popular method of cooking in many countries. An urban tendency to nuclear household units may be an important factor where kerosene preference occurs. A campaign to substitute kerosene for charcoal in Mauritania was mostly unsuccessful (Arnold 1978, Floor 1977), whilst in Senegal a campaign to substitute butane had only limited success (Arnold 1978, UNEP 1976). Gas, chiefly bottled butane or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) has substituted for wood in richer households where a gas stove can be afforded. In some countries there are problems of distribution, so that gas users continue to keep wood fuels as a stand-by.
Coal, as suggested above, seems a useful substitute for oil at port sites and recommendations for its increased use in the event of a severe wood fuel shortage have been made, for example, in Dakar and Dar-es-Salaam, by Foley & van Buren (1980), The authors recognise that in domestic use the substitution of coal for charcoal in the two cities is not immediately feasible because of the lack of mutable stoves and ventilation. Coal is also still a more expensive fuel. There is a much better case for using coal as a substitute for oil in large-scale industrial applications. From these it could be extended to small-scale applications such as bakeries and forges. However, in the event of a shortage of wood fuels the authors claim that no fuel other than coal is likely to be available in these port locations in sufficient quantity and at a price which would make possible substitution for charcoal. In India, one of the more important Third World coal producers, the use of coal, including soft coke for domestic purposes, has been encouraged in order to reduce the oil bill. The use of coal on the railways is an important element in such a policy and may encourage the development of railways rather than motorways. Coal is predicted to have a longer life than oil fuels and long term policies are likely to emphasize its advantages for a number of purposes. Electricity seems to have been less successful as a substitute for wood even in areas where rural electrification has taken place. Many homes use electricity for lighting but continue to use wood fuels for the more expensive cooking and heating. Some countries, however, have ambitious rural electrification programmes. Thailand's electricity authority, for example, plans to bring electricity to 90% of the rural population by 1995.
Schemes to substitute wood for other fuels, chiefly oil derived fuels such as kerosene, seem more in demand, as oil import bills have risen to over 25% of export earnings in several of the poorest countries. Even if oil prices currently fall, they will have to drop considerably before many countries can afford to drop plans for oil substitution. Moreover, on present evidence the oil glut may not last long and a general situation of supply being short of demand seems likely over the next 30-40 years. A great deal of current research is therefore concerned with determining future Wood fuel demands, possibilities for substitution and increased production.
It is mainly in the towns and amongst the urban poor that most such substitution must be effected, although the use of kerosene cookers in the rural areas has been declining as prices have risen and as wood is so cheaply or even freely available locally. It would seem probable that a rising urban demand, chiefly for charcoal, will increase the demand pressures on the productivity of the rural hinterland and on the distribution system supplying rural energy to urban consumers. Attempts to improve wood and charcoal stoves should find a larger and readier market, whilst more people should be able to find work as dealers and wood cutters. The possibilities for such change, however, depend considerably not just on the operation of the energy market, but on government pricing policy. In most countries the prices of several or even all forms of energy are affected by subsidies, price controls or both, and therefore government itself in many cases is already determining, or at least affecting, energy preferences (see above).
The town may be regarded as a zone of considerable energy innovation potential since it usually contains a more educated population, and tends to drain the rural areas of their younger and better educated people. In many cases urban people have the higher incomes needed for the often high initial costs of innovation. Surveys should include not only the possibilities for wood and charcoal stoves, but the possibilities for energy savings in a wide variety of fuel uses, including transport, industry, and energy uses in offices, hotels and shops. The problems of handling charcoal or of carrying home a fuel as bulky as wood could well encourage innovations intended to reduce fuel consumption. Moreover, urban wood and charcoal burning may cause air pollution and be regarded as a hazard or at least a nuisance. The town has a considerable concentration of energy use and also has its energy users in close proximity to one another, with advantages both for research and for the diffusion of innovations. Moreover it is frequently the social focus for the surrounding rural area, that is some of its citizens can act as leaders in innovation adoption over a wide region.
In discussing the supply of rural fuel, particularly that part of it which enters the commercial sector and is sold in the towns, research workers should be aware that the use of such fuel is only one, possibly minor, element in the economic and social life of a community, an economic and social life which may be in process of change. In many cases the interest in wood fuels research arises from the study of development and from the objective of trying to maximize any advantages gained, whilst reducing or even eliminating the disadvantages, in other cases interest may arise from an appreciation that the local economy is stagnating and unable to satisfy people's aspirations. In others again the situation may be more complex, involving both changing and stagnant elements, and perhaps increasing disparity of income between social or geographical groups. However small it may appear as an element of economic or social change, the energy supply is nevertheless a fundamental part of the development process, both affecting it and being affected by it. It should therefore occupy an important place in development planning.
Rural energy research, therefore, cannot be divorced from development planning and policy. It is the latter which should decide objectives and determine the research framework and orientation, A great deal of planning is concerned with "improvement". In a sense we should always be concerned with improvement, but sometimes concern with no more than improvement arises from constraints in development planning such as shortage of input resources, lack of an over-all development objective, inability to conduct study outside a particular field of interest or inability to integrate the various facets of research into one programme. The "transformation" of economy and society should also concern the research worker. It is much more difficult to plan for transformation and may seem beyond the ability of most research workers. However, as already argued it is somewhat pointless to attempt improvements in the production, supply and use of rural energy resources without examining all related aspects of energy supply and use, and their implications for economic activity and social life. A very small energy innovation, such as the introduction of a new stove for example, may have implications for alternative fuel use, housing design, cooking, meal times and the daily rhythm of social activities and work which may involve transformation whether we want it to do so or not. In the rural energy context we cannot afford to concentrate on improving rural energy production or on reducing fuelwood consumption without examining, not just the consequences for other aspects of rural life, but the implications for urban energy supply and the return flow of centrally-supplied energy to rural areas.
Reduction of waste in wood and charcoal production systems should always be borne in mind as an effective contribution to solving a problem of wood shortage, although often at some cost in time and labour use, i.e. it needs time to persuade people to change their existing use techniques and preference, whilst a number of extension workers or advisers will be required and will need to be trained. In energy survey work casual advice on this subject by field assistants may do more harm than good, and may even undermine the credibility of the survey. An awareness of the nature of the problems involved and the potential for savings, with due regard to the need for obtaining results before offering advice, must form part of the training of the survey team.
The substitution of wood stoves for open fires and improvement in the design of wood stoves are possible means of achieving savings in wood use. Open fires do have a very low level of efficiency in using wood fuel, but not every design of wood stove can offer improvement, and efficiency varies considerably between designs. It is useful in studying fuel consumption, not only to discover the kinds of stove already in use and the extent to which they have proved popular, but to establish the preferences in use and the design criteria for new kinds of stove. The integration of social survey work and engineering design in such innovation possibilities is an important objective in study. Amongst the major considerations are cooking preferences, adaptability of stove design for different purposes and locations, the kinds of cooking utensil preferred and the relationship of the design to production methods.
Considerable wood savings may also be achieved by using more efficient kilns for charcoal production and such a development may be envisaged wherever wood shortages occur. The basic problem is that the least efficient kilns are also the most flexible in use and the cheapest, as was discussed above. Lowest costs of all are achieved by simply heaping earth or producing charcoal in pits., Improvements such as introducing metal or brick kilns may involve the import of materials from other regions, and in use may require new skills and involve changes in employment. In a survey of production systems these are all important aspects to be considered in a development programme.