Chapter 1:


1.1 Background

Many developing countries in Asia still rely on wood energy. It is estimated that more than half of the total energy consumption in many Asian countries is accounted for by wood energy. However, there is no precise information on a region-wide level and existing information are scattered in national agencies. Thus, there is a need to organize and analyze available information to serve as a basis for energy policy.

The present study is part of the regional Wood Energy Today for Tomorrow (WETT) studies undertaken by the Wood Energy Programme (WEP). The results of these studies will serve as inputs to other FAO activities and studies including Wood Energy Information System (WEIS), the Global Fibre Supply Study (GFSS), and the Asia-Pacific Forestry Outlook Study.

1.2  Objectives of the study

The two main objectives of the study are: (a) to assess past and present woodfuel consumption and production from forests and non-forest lands and analyse the future contribution of wood to energy in Asian countries; and (b) to present an overview of the different approaches, definitions, units and factors used by different agencies during the collection, storage, and presentation of data and information on wood energy.

The second objective is further divided into the following specific objectives:

1.3  Scope of the study

The study consists of the following tasks:

  1. Collection and analysis of wood energy data available in the databases of FAO, UN, and AIT and presentation of the information in the same format in order to facilitate comparison. The format will follow that used for the WETT study for Europe and the OECD countries.

  2. On the basis of the results of the first task, suggesting a "best estimate" of past and present consumption, production, and trade of woodfuels for all the countries according to main category of users (residential, commercial, and industrial) and areas (rural and urban) and undertaking a comparative analysis of woodfuel contribution with other sources of energy.

  3. Description of how the different agencies organize their collection, collation, and presentation of wood energy data, including an overview of the main characteristics, approaches, terminologies and definitions, parameters, conversion factors, and units used. This task also includes a detailed description and comparison of the databases consulted and recommendations for future improvement of wood energy database in the region.

  4. Analysis of the past and present role of wood energy in Asian countries and its interrelations with the forest and energy sectors taking into account supply sources, trade, and utilization of woodfuels.

  5. Following the analysis in the preceding task, analysis of the future role of wood energy, including (i) identification and analysis of the factors affecting the utilization, trade, and production of woodfuels, and (ii) analysis of scenarios of wood energy use.

  6. Taking into consideration the limitation on data and information available on woodfuel supply sources, analysis of implications for forests, woodlands, and trees of the present and projected woodfuel consumption and production patterns.

The study will cover the 16-member countries of the Regional Wood Energy Development Programme for Asia (RWEDP), which are divided into three groups. South Asia includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, which are also the members of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC). South East Asia comprises Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. These seven countries, excluding Cambodia, are also the members of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)1, along with Singapore and Brunei. China is treated as a separate group for the purpose of this study.

1.4  Methodology

In order to meet the above mentioned objectives the following steps were undertaken.

1.5  Overview of the report

Chapter 2 surveys three wood energy databases for Asia. The wood energy databases are described in terms of their methodology, definitions, measurements, scope. This chapter also discusses how the statistics available from these databases are tabulated in similar format to facilitate their comparison. The resulting tables, however, are presented in Appendix 1.

Chapter 3 analyzes the past and present role of wood energy based largely on the information presented in the CEERD/AIT database. This database is preferred over the two others because more information are available at the national level, although information are not adequately available for all countries under study. This chapter discusses different aspects of wood energy consumption patterns, including wood energy flow and wood energy supply, but the emphasis is on household and non-household rural/urban fuelwood consumption.

Chapter 4 examines the future role of wood energy by discussing the macro and micro factors affecting wood energy use. Towards the end of this chapter, three scenarios are developed that describe possible (not necessarily feasible) wood energy futures. Separate fuelwood consumption projections are made in each scenario, which are also compared with other existing projections to further test their validity.

Chapter 5 concludes the report by drawing the implications of the future role of wood energy for the forestry sector. Recommendations are also made with regards to the issues related to wood energy data.

1   Myanmar and Laos have been recently acepted as members in the group. Cambodia was also expected to get a membership along with Myanmar and Laos earlier, but the decision on Cambodia was delayed due to recent political development in the country.

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