1. Wood energy is and will remain an important economic sub-sector in all RWEDP member-countries. The consumption of wood and other biomass fuels will increase in the foreseeable future. Non-forest land will continue to be the main source of woodfuels. Wood energy use is not and will not be a general or main cause of deforestation. Prime area of concern is not the availability of woodfuels per se, but rather their distribution to people in need. The weaker groups in society, particularly women and children, are the ones who suffer most from restricted access.
2. Aggregated for all the RWEDP member-countries, potential woodfuel supply exceeds woodfuel demand, both in 1994 and in projections for 2010.
3. In Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as Nepal to some extent, present woodfuel demand may go to the limits of potential supply. By 2010 national shortages can be expected.
4. In India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, aggregate national consumption in 1994 is not limited by aggregate potential supply, but this may change by 2010.
5. In most other RWEDP member-countries, residues from forests and crops represent an under-utilized potential to supplement woodfuel.
6. In all countries, localized woodfuel scarcities may occur in particular areas.
7. The key player for supplementing available woodfuels is the agricultural sector and enhancing woodfuel production on agricultural land can play a major part in increasing woodfuel supplies.
8. In areas and countries of woodfuel scarcity, other biomass fuels are likely to become complementary sources of energy.
9. As a first approximation it can be stated that woodfuel use is carbon neutral, i.e. there is no net emission of carbon into the environment.
10. Thanks to woodfuel use in Asia, the avoided environmental costs for recapturing CO2 from the global atmosphere were at least 14 billion US$ in 1994, and will increase to 17.5 billion US$ in 2010.
1. The role of woodfuels produced in both forest and non-forest areas should be recognized, and treated as an important economic sub-sector requiring development.
2. Wood energy should be integrated into rural energy supply strategies and pursued as a common task for all relevant sectors, e.g. agriculture, forestry, rural development, energy and industry.
3. Woodfuel should be looked on as an important product in its own right, rather than just as a by-product of agricultural land. Integrated woodfuel production on agricultural land should be promoted.
4. Current efforts at reforestation and afforestation should be continued. Natural forest management, with popular participation, should get high priority in areas where woodfuel is not (yet) a tradable commodity.
5. Prevailing rules and regulations which hamper wood energy development should be reviewed and amended. These apply to: land ownership and holding, tree tenure, tree planting and harvesting in private and community lands, transportation and trade of wood and related products produced by the private sector or local communities.
6. Selection of fast-growing tree species for wood energy crops, identification of appropriate provenance to match specific conditions, and improvement of the survival and growth rate of trees at degraded sites and waste lands, should all be supported by further R&D.
7. Infrastructure should be developed further in areas where woodfuel is already a traded item and where potential exists for supply enhancement to meet the existing and growing market demand.
8. The good use of by-products and residues from wood industries should be encouraged in order to reduce wood waste and to supply additional fuels, in part by converting them into modern wood energy.
9. R&D for upgrading and combusting fuels from crop residues and other loose biomass should be promoted, for the use of households and of traditional industries.
10. More key data on wood energy supply should be collected to support wood energy policies.
11. Wood energy data bases should be established at regional, national and local levels. Private and public sector agencies related to wood energy development should be supported with information.
12. Wood energy subjects should be integrated into the training curricula of relevant sectoral education and training.
13. The priorities within wood energy conservation programmes should be the supply of convenient, healthy and attractive household stoves at affordable prices, so as to reach the maximum number of wood energy users.
14. The cost-effectiveness of projects for wood energy development in Asia in terms of global CO2 savings should be communicated to interested donors agencies.
Box 5 - About RWEDP
The Regional Wood Energy Development Programme in Asia (RWEDP, GCP/RAS/154/NET) is a long-term programme of FAO, funded by the Government of The Netherlands. Member-countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The development objective of RWEDP is to contribute to the sustainable production of woodfuels, their efficient processing and marketing, and their rational use for the benefit of households, industries and other enterprises.
The programme has the following three immediate objectives:
1) To contribute to an improved database on wood energy at regional and national level and to improve the capacity of institutions to generate, manage and assess such data at regional, national and sub-national level.
2) To contribute to the development and adoption of improved wood energy policies, plans and strategies in member-countries.
3) To improve the capabilities of government, private and community-based organizations in implementing wood energy strategies and programmes.