The developing countries in Asia are home to approximately three quarters of the world's woodfuel users, but have only one quarter of the forest cover in the South. That sounds dramatic, but it is not. The paradox is explained by the fact that most woodfuels in Asia do not come from public forests. It has been found that about two thirds of all woodfuels originate from non-forest land. The implications of these important findings are still to be absorbed by many policy makers.
Major implications are that woodfuel consumption is not a general or main cause of deforestation, and that woodfuel consumption will remain, whether or not there are forests. The future of Asia's tropical forests and the problems of woodfuel users are not as closely linked as is often assumed.
The present document summarizes characteristics of wood energy supply and use, and provides an outlook on wood energy to the year 2010. The document presents a critical review of available wood energy data, leading to best estimates of future consumption. It also tries to estimate the present and future potential supplies of fuels from wood and crop residues. The study shows that in most countries, the actual availability of woodfuels is not the major concern; rather it is their distribution to people in need.
This point leads to recommendations to policy makers on how best to integrate woodfuel supply with other objectives, particularly in the forestry sector. The integration of woodfuel development in other relevant sectors like agriculture and energy is also strongly recommended. The document further calls for efforts to upgrade fuels from crop residues by using cost-effective technologies.
The present document has been prepared at the request of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission. The study is a joint effort by Tara Bhattarai, Conrado Heruela, Willem Hulscher and Auke Koopmans, with Jaap Koppejan and Joost Siteur contributing to data analysis and modelling, and Arjan Kraijo to literature research. The work continues, particularly in much-needed efforts to strengthen the available wood energy data.
Chief Technical Adviser