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2. Wood energy situation

2.1 The general energy situation
2.2 Regional and national fuelwood situation
2.3 Rural/urban fuelwood and charcoal supply/demand
2.4 The environmental aspects
2.5 Social, economic and cultural considerations

The oil crisis in the seventies awakened interest in NRSE globally. The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries were more concerned initially about energy security, but recently more about environmental considerations, whereas energy shortage and its socio-economic and environmental repercussions were the issues of prime concern for the developing countries. This interest has continued over the years, marked by various activities to develop and apply NRSE. In this chapter, the energy situation in general, and in particular, regarding fuelwood and charcoal in the developing countries in the last decade, 1980-1990, is described.

Then the environmental, socio-economic and cultural aspects of the situation are discussed. These discussions are aimed at following the changes that have occurred in the situation and the way they are perceived, and thereby setting the stage for the review of the activities of donor organizations in the next chapter.

2.1 The general energy situation

By the beginning of the decade, during the second energy crisis, the total energy consumption of the developing countries (including China) was about 1 740 million tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE), which was 24% of the total world consumption (Figure 1). The growth rate of the commercial energy consumption decreased sharply from 7.8% between 1965-1980 to 4.6% between 1980-1988 for the low-and middle-income countries (WB, 1990). Thus by the end of the last decade, the energy consumption of the developing countries showed only a marginal increase to 2 560 MTOE - 29% of world total - as against the dramatic increases projected in 1981. The growth rate in the energy consumption of the OECD countries also decreased: from 3.0% between 1965-1980 to 1.0 % between 1980-1988. The per capita energy consumption of the developing countries was generally low compared to that of the OECD countries. This can of course be explained by the low GNP per capita of the former countries; in general, the energy consumption of countries is linearly correlated with their per capita GNP. Figure 1 also shows another distinguishing feature of energy consumption in developing countries: only these regions of the world show considerable reliance on forms of energy other than conventional (commercial) energy; 20% of the energy needs of the developing countries in 1990 were met by traditional, erroneously called noncommercial energy sources, mostly woodfuels.

The energy consumption of developing countries in 1988 is shown in Figure 2 by region and energy type. Sub-Saharan Africa consumed the least total energy, 120 MTOE, whereas Asia consumed the most, 1 350 MTOE. Europe, the Middle-East and North Africa (EMENA) consumed 650 MTOE and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) consumed 700 MTOE. The available estimates on consumption of traditional fuels, such as fuelwood and charcoal, crop residues and animal waste indicate that they constitute 60% of the total energy consumption in Africa (WB, 1989), 40% in Asia (ADB, 1989),10% in EMENA and 30% in LAC (PFE, 1989) (Figure 2). In many of the individual countries, the proportion of traditional energy consumption is much higher.

Figure 1. World Energy Consumption in 1980 and 1990. Source: Data from CEC, 1990

The drop in energy consumption growth rate of the developing countries is due to a combination of factors, the most important being the increase in oil prices. Oil prices increased nearly 10 times in the period 1970 to 1981. This presented different kinds of problems to individual developing countries. The oil exporting countries were faced with the problem of managing their huge additional resources well enough to stimulate desired growth which many of them failed to achieve. The oil importing countries on the other hand faced acute financial difficulties with increased import bills for oil, a situation that caused considerable deterioration in their balance of payments situation and contributed to heavy debt burdens in subsequent years. The economic situation of most of the developing countries greatly worsened in the last decade with many of them plunging into recession. This recession is marked by weak growth in the productive sector, poor export performance, mounting debt, deteriorating social conditions, environmental degradation and the increasing decline in institutional capacity (WB, 1989), all of which contribute to decreased energy consumption growth rates. The energy problems of these countries must therefore always be seen against this socio-economic background.

Nonetheless, some of the developing countries fared better, and some much better, than the grim picture painted so far. Notable among these are some of the Asian countries that have achieved considerable economic growth. This is reflected in their energy consumption patterns (see next section for information on individual countries) by the doubling of per capita energy consumption for the Asian region as a whole from 0.225 TOE in 1973 to 0.408 TOE in 1987. In the 1970s the region experienced high energy costs with high energy consumption (annual growth rate: 7.3 %) against a moderate economic growth of 5.3 % on the average. The region performed differently during the second oil shock period since 1979/80, experiencing low energy consumption growth (5.0%) against high economic growth of 6.7%. However, with lower energy costs after 1985, the region has again been experiencing increased energy consumption (6.2%) with a high economic growth of 7.5% (ADB, 1989).

Figure 2. Regional Energy Consumption in Developing Countries in 1988. Source: Data on commercial energy (excluding woodfuels), World Bank 1990; traditional energy (woodfuel and biomass) data are from various sources.

2.2 Regional and national fuelwood situation

The fuelwood situation regarding supply and demand at the beginning of the 1980s decade was comprehensively reviewed by FAO which presented the results in a map (FAO, 1981), as a contribution to the UN Conference on NRSE, Nairobi, 1981. A more detailed report was later prepared on the subject (FAO, 1983).

The FAO report described the fuelwood situation in the developing countries. In 1980, of the 2 000 million people, (75% of the population of the developing countries) who depended on fuelwood, 100 million (5%3 were living in a situation of acute shortage and were unable to obtain the adequate fuelwood to meet their minimum energy requirements. More than half of these people - 1 050 million were in a deficit situation and could provide for their minimum energy requirements only by over-cutting of the wood resources which was to lead to their depletion with disastrous ecological, environmental and socioeconomic consequences. Sixty-three out of 95 developing countries were faced with inadequate supplies of fuelwood (WRI, 1985).

Another major study that dealt with the fuelwood situation around 1980/81 period was the energy assessment carried out by the World Bank and UNDP for sixty developing countries. The results of the study for thirty countries were summarized in a report (ESMAP, 1984) and the supply/demand data for fuelwood and charcoal and their proportion in total energy mix are presented in Table 1.

The data demonstrate the enormous importance of fuelwood on a regional and country basis, of the 30 countries listed, 28 relied heavily on fuelwood. In 19 countries, fuelwood contributed 50 to 95 % of the total energy, and in 9 of the countries between 20 and 50% of the total used. In many other countries not included in the survey, fuelwood also made up a high proportion of total energy used; for example, 32% in India, 30% in Thailand, and 40% in the Philippines. Even in countries that were net exporters of fossil fuel, fuelwood still made up a significant proportion of the total energy used: in Bolivia, 42 %; Indonesia, 34 %; Nigeria, 59 % and Peru, 26 %. (Gregersen et al., 1989). Again, with this body of information, deficit situations were predicted for a number of countries.

It was quickly perceived by the international aid community that this was another energy crisis: the fuelwood crisis. There was response to the urgent needs in the way of aid activities to address the problems. The individual developing countries were initially sluggish in responding to the problem because, unlike the oil crisis, the problem did not immediately ring warning bells in the form of balance of payment deficits and fuel shortages affecting the vital arteries of transport and industry (Munslow, 1988). The rural people themselves did not perceive the problem then and have not done so to date.

The FAO analysis is regarded to have underestimated the woody biomass material obtainable around the villages. It was demonstrated that if the wood obtainable from fallow land and other factors were considered, a wood fuel deficit would not be deduced for most rural areas (Foley, 1987). It is now realized that there was in fact no woodfuel crisis, although there are clear problems of deforestation and desertification caused chiefly by other activities such as farming, grazing, forest fires, industries, etc. of which woodfuels are a by-product used to pay, at least partially, for land clearance operations.

The FAO survey was a good starting point but more studies need to be carried out to really determine the fuelwood position in various localities. This is why no effort is made in this document to conduct a woodfuel balance survey, in order to see the changes that have occurred over the years in the deficit situation pointed out earlier. Instead, it has been decided to merely look at the way in which regions and individual developing countries have progressed with respect to woodfuel resources, supply and demand.

The FAO woodfuel supply statistics (FAO, 1991) over the years have suffered from a number of drawbacks. Nonetheless, they should give an idea, or at least an order of magnitude, of the minimum available woodfuel supply potentials. The data for the different regions are given in Figure 3. Fuelwood production by developing countries was over 80 % of the total world supply throughout the decade. Both developing country and world production decreased only slightly during the middle of the decade, but are now rising at a low growth rate.

Fuelwood and charcoal demand and consumption data are scanty. The few scattered data available have been obtained from different types of studies: national energy balances, national household expenditure surveys, national household energy surveys and local micro surveys (Leach and Gowen, 1987). The data are of varying reliability and leave scope for improvement. The readily available data are tabulated in Table 1 for the thirty countries studied by World Bank/UNDP around 1979 to 1980. More recent data are also included in the table.

There is diversity in the energy consumption patterns of the countries. Therefore, for a meaningful analysis, it is useful to classify the countries on the basis of relevant energy and energy mix indicators. The indicators selected are the per capita energy consumption, and the percentage of biomass consumption in the energy mix. In Table 1 the countries have been arranged according to increasing per capita total energy consumption and four main categories may be discerned. These are the low and high energy consumers which consume less and more than 600 kgoe per capita respectively, and under these categories are the high and low biomass consumers which consume more and less than 50% biomass respectively. The countries in the various categories are listed in Table 2 according to region and for 1979-1982 and 1987.

Most of the biomass requirements of all the countries were met by fuelwood and charcoal except a few countries, notably Ethiopia, which depended more on other forms of biomass such as dung. The majority of the countries (21) are low energy consumers which are generally (17 countries) associated with high dependence on biomass and most of them are in Africa. The four low energy, low biomass-consuming countries are all oil exporting countries except Papua New Guinea, which explains their reliance on commercial fuels, but even then, they all required more than 34% biomass. Of the four oil exporting countries, Nigeria depended most heavily on biomass (59 %). On the other hand, commercial fuels are preferred in the high energy-consuming countries.

The changes that have occurred in the energy situation, including the fuelwood and charcoal contribution, are difficult to assess because of lack of data on consumption. The energy indicators for 1987 of some selected countries (Lesotho, Sudan, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia), for which data were available, are given in Table 1. The energy mix of traditional and conventional fuels of countries for around 1980 and 1987 are given in Figure 4 for comparison. In general, there was no major change in the energy consumption patterns of the countries. The marginal energy consumption growth caused no changes in the consumption category classification (Table 1). The changes in the proportion of traditional biomass and commercial energy were also only minor, except for Lesotho (Table 4).

Table 1. Energy Consumption for Various Developing Countries in 1979 to 82 and 1986-88

Figure 3. World Fuelwood and Charcoal Production for Various Years

Table 2. Classification of energy consumption patterns of 30 developing countries

Number of countries in category









Low consumer






High biomass






Low biomass






High consumer






High biomass






Low biomass






Figure 4. Energy Consumption of Some Developing Countries around 1980 and in 1987

2.3 Rural/urban fuelwood and charcoal supply/demand

It would be useful to gather, for various years, information for all the developing countries and to prepare a fuelwood and charcoal consumption energy chart showing what might be regarded as key indicators, such as population, per capita total energy consumption, percentage commercial, percentage fuelwood and charcoal, percentage rural and percentage household consumption. This could convey a graphic idea of the situation and changes that occurred in the energy consumption pattern of the countries concerned. However, only a preliminary sketch of such a chart is possible, as given in Table 1, for 30 developing countries for 1979-1982 and 1987. There are a lot of gaps in the table because of a lack of data. The problem of data on fuelwood and charcoal activities in developing countries has been long known and stressed by the international community, but it is only recently that a few developing countries have responded and have begun to compile the data.

The unavailability and variability of data are only parts of the problem; another important difficulty is that the consumption patterns are usually location specific and national generalizations cannot help in designing appropriate interventions for specific locations. Tables 3 and 4, which give the annual per capita consumption of rural household energy and woodfuels (or biomass) between 1979 and 1984 for various parts of regions and countries respectively, and a similar table for urban consumption (Table 5), illustrate these points.

It is obvious that fuelwood consumption depends on many factors such as geography, rural/urban location and use of other biomass fuels. Cold areas usually have a higher consumption than warmer areas' because of additional space heating requirements. In Africa, there is almost total dependence on fuelwood for the rural households, but in other regions other biomass resources contribute substantially.

Demand for fuelwood in the urban areas of developing countries is usually lower than in rural areas. One of the main reasons for this is the prominence of other fuels such as charcoal and fossil fuels in the energy mix of the urban areas. There is a kind of ladder of energy sources in the urban areas: from fuelwood at the bottom, through charcoal, kerosene and gas, to electricity at the top. People generally climb this ladder as their income increases. Therefore charcoal, which is hardly used in the rural areas because of availability of free fuelwood, is quite popular in urban areas because of higher income and other factors such as its lightness and non-smoking nature.

Table 3. Annual per capita consumption of rural household energy and woodfuels: Country and regional averages and ranges.

Region/Fuel Type

Per capita biomass consumpn. m3 wood equiv.

Total (GJ)

Percentage as biomass

Africa: South of Sahara

Lowlands: dry

1.0 - 1.5

10 - 14

95 - 98

Lowlands: humid

1.2- 1.5

12 - 14

95 - 98

Upland: (1500 cm)

1.4 - 1.9

14 - 18

90 - 95

North Africa & Middle East

Large consumers a)

0.2 - 0.8

2 - 8

Small consumers b)

0.05 - 0.1

0.5 - 1

Mountain areas c)

up to 1.5

up to 15

Asia. including Far East

Desert and sub-desert

0.3 - 0.5

3 - 5

Agricultural regions, dry tropics:

wood fuels

20 - 50

crop residues

0.2 - 0.75

2 - 7.5

20 - 40

animal waste

0.45 - 0.30

4 - 2.5

20 - 50


0.65 - 1.05

6 - 10

80 - 90

Agricultural regions, moist tropics:

wood fuels

20 - 50

crop residues

0.3 - 0.9

3 - 9

20 - 40

animal wastes

0.55 - 0.4

5 - 3

20 - 40


0.85 - 1.3

8 - 12

80 - 90

Shifting agriculture, moist tropics

0.9 - 1.35

10 - 14

80 - 90

mountain areas:

wood fuels

1.25 - 1.8

13 - 18

65 - 85


0.55 - 0.2

4 - 2

10 - 25


1.8 - 2.1

17 - 20

90 - 95

Latin America

hot areas

0.55 - 0.90

10 - 14

50 - 60

temperate areas

0.70 - 1.2

12 - 17

55 - 65

cold areas

0.95 - 1.6

18 - 23

50 - 65

a) Tunisia, Iraq, Morocco, Algeria, Turkey.
b) Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, S. & N. Yemen.
c) North Africa, Iraq, Turkey.

Source: Leach and Gowen, 1987.

Table 4. Per capita consumption of household energy and biomass (GJ): Local averages and ranges.


Average (GJ)

Range (GJ)

% Biomass



Ulipur village



Briscoe 1979

Sakoa village


7.0 - 19.3

97 - 98

Quader & Omar 1982

4 villages


Quader & Omar 1982

large survey



Mahmud & Islam, 1982

Large survey


3.8 - 5.5

97 - 100

Douglas 1981

Budget survey (occupatn.)


3 7 - 6.1

79 - 91

Parikh 1982


8 villages


17.8 - 59.2


Diaz & del Valle 1984


Large survey (income)


4.3 - 5.6

92 - 95

Natarajan 1985

Tamil Nadu, 4 villages


5.8 - 8.8

97 - 99

Aiyasamy 1982

Tamil Nadu, 17 villages


4.2 - 10.1

97 - 99

SFMAB 1982

Pondicherry (income)


10.2 - 11.2

91 - 97

Gupta & Rao 1980

Karnataka, 6 villages


8.9 - 11.4

97 - 98

Reddy, et al, 1980

3 villages


7.6 - 44.8

96 - 99

Bowonder & Ravishankar 1984


3 villages (and income)


5.3 - 10.6

45 - 97

Weatherly 1980


3 zones (and income)


7.6 - 11.5

84 - 93

Guzman 1982


Pangma village


4.0 - 37.8


Bajracharya 1981


budget survey (income)


3.5 - 5.8

81 - 92

FBS 1983

Papua New Guinea:

highland village: Jan,


2.5 - 9.2


Newcombe 1984a

highland village: May


2.4 - 16.1


Newcombe 1984a

South Africa:

7 villages


5.2 - 14.5


Furness 1981

Sri lanka:

6 regional zones


7.5 - 11.2

89 - 93

Wijesinghe 1984

budges survey (income)


2.3 - 5.4

86 - 92

DCS 1983


18 villages


4.4 - 26.1


Skutsch 1984

Note: Ranges are not for individual households: ranges for them are much greater. These ranges apply to averages at one level of disaggregation below the average shown in the table: e.g. income or caste groups in a one-village survey.

Source: Leach and Gowen, 1987

Table 5. Per capita urban consumption of household energy and biomass (GJ): Local averages and ranges


Average (GJ)

Range (GJ)

% Biomass



budget survey (occupatn.)


3.4 - 3.5

49 - 67

Parikh 1982


Hyderabad (income) a)


2.1 - 2.9

26 - 72

Alam et al. 1983

large survey (income)


3.1 - 3.9

36 - 78

Natarajan 1985

Pondicherry (income)


5.7 - 6.6

70 - 84

Gupta & Rao 1980


budget survey (income)


2.7 - 4.8

25 - 80

FBS 1983

Papua New Guinea:

Newcombe 1980

squatters settlements




government housing settlements




high-income housing


13.5 - 33.7

< 1

Sri Lanka:

budget survey (income)


2.3 - 3.8

22 - 87

DCS 1983


Lome (income) b)


4.6 - 5.5

Grut 1971

a) Excludes electricity use.
b) Wood fuels only.

Note: Ranges are not for individual households; those ranges are much greater. These ranges apply to the averages at one level of disaggregation below the average shown in the table: e.g. income or caste groups in a one-city survey, cities or towns in a multi-city survey, and income groups in a national urban survey.

Source: Leach and Gowen, 1987.

2.4 The environmental aspects

At the beginning of the 1980s decade during the oil crisis, the main worry that spurred development in fuelwood intervention activities was to address the financial burden and supply insecurities of fossil fuel. There was also some concern for the perceived problems of the spread of deforestation and desertification in the developing world. Shortage of wood fuel and pressures on scarce fuelwood resources were initially largely held responsible for this situation, but the position on environmental considerations has changed over the years. It is now recognized that factors other than fuelwood pressure may be the chief cause in the deforestation process. The main factors are:

1) Land clearing for agricultural purposes (this is the principal cause, contributing to up to 70% of the permanent forest destruction in Africa between 1950 and 1983) (Munslow et al., 1988);

2) Over-grazing;

3) Changes in cropping practices, such as reduction of fallow period due to population pressures;

4) Erosion and impaired soil structure;

5) Fuelwood consumption

6) Pressures from other uses of wood: timber, pulpwood, forest fires, public works, etc.;

7) Lack of reforestation.

Deforestation combined with soil erosion and loss of soil fertility then lead to desertification which has far reaching adverse ecological, climatological, agricultural, socio-economic and environmental consequences. Although the existence of a fuelwood crisis might be questionable, especially in the rural areas, there is overwhelming evidence to show that deforestation and desertification are prevalent in the developing countries and that there is an environmental crisis.

Recently, environmental problems have taken a new shape that is generating a lot of interest in the industrial countries. There is concern about emissions from industrial activities, including energy activities.

The combustion of fuelwood and biomass in general produces pollutants quite similar to those produced by the combustion of coal and other fossil fuels. The major pollutants are sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and fly ash particulates. The effects of these pollutants have been well documented (Sax, 1974; Hutzinger, 1989); they are only briefly summarized here.

Sulphur dioxide and NOx are responsible for acid deposition (acid rain) and urban smog is caused by the action of sunlight on NOx, carbon monoxide and certain organic compounds.

The accumulation of greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide but also carbon monoxide, methane, nitrous oxide, nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds and fluorocarbons, in the atmosphere is leading to global warming. The gases trap the heat radiated from the earth and retain it near the surface thus leading to increasing global temperatures. Carbon monoxide is toxic, many of the PAHs are known carcinogens and particulates introduce trace elements into the ecosystem that may be harmful.

In industrial countries biomass is being encouraged as renewable energy source for the future, particularly because of the much lower emission of pollutants from such materials relative to fossil fuels. Biomass materials contain little sulphur and so cause little sulphur emission. They emit CO2 when combusted, but renewable biomass recaptures an equal quantity of CO2 during its growing period, resulting in a net CO2 emission of zero; the carbon cycle (Figure 5) illustrates this. This environmental advantage is quite significant because the energy sector contributes most of the global CO2.

The new environmental considerations have three implications. One relates to the highly polluting habit of cooking in enclosed kitchens in developing countries. Women are those most exposed and are thus highly susceptible to toxic effects of the pollution. This is an area that could benefit from intervention in the form of improved stoves, education on proper cooking practices and the importance of chimneys. The second is that further impetus is provided for developing countries to develop wood energy. However, in view of the increased pressure on fuelwood resources that this would create, it has to be done in a sustainable manner, that is, along with woodfuel development programmes.

Figure 5. The Carbon Cycle Source. UNIDO, 1990

Finally, developing countries are caught up in a dilemma regarding the choice of technology. They have the chance to start their energy technologies on a sound footing regarding pollution by implementing the advanced least polluting technologies, so that they do not have to change their systems in the future to reduce pollution as the industrial nations are now having to do. However, this option will be constrained by the higher investment required and the need to use cheaper technology to realize some economic progress. The choice will depend on the situation of individual countries. The higher income developing countries certainly have more flexibility, and for these countries, the new technologies being considered in the industrial countries may be quite attractive (BTG, 1991a). It is therefore essential that developing countries start a wood energy transition from present wood energy systems operated in informal markets to better structured, organized and planned ones. There is some latitude for these countries however.

Their present contribution to the global pollution is only 25 %, with the industrial countries contributing the balance.

2.5 Social, economic and cultural considerations

Socio-economic issues are many, encompassing issues that are affected by and/or play a role in the energy and environmental crises and intervention programmes. Sometimes, they have a combined cause/effect role. In this section the main contributors to the various crisis are presented, while the other factors are discussed with the interventions.

It should be recognized that wood-based energy for thermal energy and power is for most of developing countries economically feasible, technically viable and socially acceptable.

It should also be pointed out that wood energy involves a chain of activities which provide jobs and income to a large number of men, women and young people.

2.5.1 The linked forces

There is a strong link between the population growth, agricultural and environmental problems in the developing countries (WB, 1990a). A high population growth rate starts it all, which then puts pressure on fragile land and natural resources, leading to damaging agricultural practices that ultimately produce environmental degradation. It has therefore been suggested that the three problems should be tackled together.

While individual governments in the developing world should be encouraged to approach problems in such an integrated manner, it would be better for outside intervention to clearly identify and focus on the most crucial points that can serve the interest of the greatest majority. The two roles played in a complementary manner can yield the most benefit.

Fragile land and low productivity technology are the main problems that have allowed the situation to deteriorate, and it would appear that emphasis should be placed on introducing and diffusing technology, more or less for its own sake, and then the people can be expected to use it to tackle the problems themselves. Hence, the focus on energy technology is a good beginning but is sub-optimal. Different countries and even localities will have different technology needs to help address their socioeconomic and environmental problems and, therefore, the scope of diffusion programmes needs to be expanded to cover areas including materials technology which is usually a constraint to all others.

There are constraints and barriers to the implementation of long-term solutions such as poverty, low education, external debts, etc. which should be removed or taken into consideration for the solution of wood energy problems in developing countries.

2.5.2 Land tenure system

Traditional land tenure arrangements, which provide security of tenure through customary rules of community land ownership and distribution of land to individuals within the community, break down as new settlers arrive and customary law is less recognized. In many cases, governments acquire all land rights de jure, resulting in open access to land. The result is diminishing land tenure security. The incentive for individuals to protect the land from soil erosion and to protect trees from excessive cutting is reduced as their traditional tenure security is eroded and is not replaced by alternative arrangements to guarantee security. This negatively affects agricultural development and contributes to the lack of response by farmers to soil degradation (WB, 1990b).

2.5.3 Other socio-economic factors

The gathering of wood in rural areas throughout the developing world is performed almost exclusively by women, sometimes assisted by children. As fuelwood becomes scarce, which is the case in many parts, the collection time has increased and, although it is not perceived by the men, this has many undesirable consequences. The women have less time for their other important functions such as agriculture, cooking and child caring, which may affect the nutrition and health of the entire family.

Scarcity of fuelwood minimizes the cooking of high quality foods such as beans, with nutritional and health implications. It also leads to substitution by other biomass like crop residues and animal waste for fuel which may endanger farming systems. The purchase of woodfuel, especially in the urban areas, puts greater economic burdens on their meagre incomes.

Wood fuel production, harvesting, transportation, sale and use, constitute income generating activities for a great number of people of rural and urban areas from which they obtain some income to cover their basic needs. Unfortunately, so far only a few activities have been developed to assess the socioeconomic importance of wood energy systems.

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