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Chapter I - Introduction

1.1 Objectives of the study
1.2 Implementation of the study

Recent developments in the overall energy situation have not only highlighted the essential role played by fossil fuels in today's world, but have also led to a sudden awareness of the fact that the greater part of the population in Third World countries is not really concerned by the problem of sources of energy to which it has no access. The importance of the traditional fuels, foremost among them fuelwood and charcoal, and the serious consequences of shortage of these fuels in terms of energy supply and the over-cutting of wood resources, made it necessary to assess the fuelwood situation in the developing countries. When preparations were being made for the United Nations Conference on New and Renewable Sources of Energy, Nairobi, 1981, FAO took the initiative of carrying out this survey in order to make the international community and the countries concerned aware of how acute the problem is and how dangerous it would be to allow present trends to continue. The results of the survey are set out in this report and also shown in a Map of the Fuelwood Situation in the Developing Countries.¹

¹ This Map was published by FAO, Home, in 1981 and distributed as a contribution to the Nairobi Conference

Fuelwood and charcoal have been the subject of continuous attention by FAO for more than thirty years. The Organization regularly publishes statistical information on production, in the FAO Yearbook of Forest Products, and technical studies. The three editions of the World Forest Inventory, of 1953, 1958 and 1963, contained information on the amount of fuelwood extracted, and that of 1958 underlined how much was gathered outside the forest. But no attempt, had yet been made to examine to what extent the volume of woody material available for energy and accessible to the people was sufficient to cover their requirements. In 1980 FAO assumed responsibility for the secretariat of the Technical Panel on Fuelwood and Charcoal for the preparation of the Nairobi Conference: it was this' Panel which recommended that the survey proposed by FAO lead to the preparation of a map which would show where the fuelwood deficit, and hence the problem, was most acute.

Most of the studies carried out to date have dealt with the consumption of wood fuels, sometimes comparing this, fairly briefly, with the potential yield of the forest formations. In addition, most of the studies on forest resources undertaken recently deal only with fairly dense formations suitable for commercial utilization for industrial purposes Even the FAO/UNEP project for the evaluation of tropical forest resources, the results of which were published recently, while covering all woody formations, both natural and planted, uses a concept of productivity relating to industrial wood. The present study has, therefore, consisted of analysing, zone by zone, the situation as regards fuelwood needs and supplies accessible to the people, covering all resources, both natural and planted formations, whether dense or scattered throughout the rural area, and the by-products of agriculture and industry. The information assembled makes it possible to pinpoint the problem better and above all to discern the seriousness of the degradation under way, bearing in mind the growth in the populations which continue to depend on fuel-wood, and the impact of shortages in zones with a fragile ecology: it demonstrates the order of magnitude of the deficits to be made up, and the relative importance of the various types of resources in the total supplies.

1.1 Objectives of the study

On the basis of the existing information, in particular the most recent data available from the FAO/UNEP project for the evaluation of tropical forest resources, supplemented by the authors of the study, the following objectives were set:

- to present an overall view of the situation as regards fuelwood in each of the main developing regions, and of the relative degree of dependence on this fuel in energy consumption;

- to assess the fuelwood supplies to which the populations have access and identify areas with a marked dependence where there existed in 1980 a noticeable imbalance between the populations' requirements and these supplies, i.e. to classify these deficit situations;

- to analyse present trends in order to show how the situations identified will develop if there is no change in trends between now and the year 2000; and to identify the zones which, although they have no apparent problem in 1980, will have a more or less marked deficit by the year 2000.

The results are given in this document on the basis of an analysis, the methodology of which is described in Chapter II. An overview of the fuelwood situation in the developing countries, together with a summary of the overall results of the study, is given in Chapter III. The regional situations in Africa south of the Sahara, North Africa and the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America, are each the subject of a special section in Chapters 17, V, VI and VII respectively. Chapter VIII discusses how to improve the situations, giving possible solutions and guidelines for strategies. A summary of the conclusions is given in Chapter IX.

A list and classification of fuelwood deficit situations is given in the annex.

1.2 Implementation of the study

The main work of analysis was carried out at regional level by teams of consultants or by regional institutions; FAO Headquarters was responsible for preparation, coordination and synthesis. The survey itself was conducted from February 1980 to July 1981 and the Map of the Fuelwood Situation was published in August 1981.

The following procedure was used in carrying out the study:

1) Preparatory phase: This entailed definition and preparation of a methodology of work and analysis, and rapid checking in tropical African countries of the validity and applicability of the methodology. At the same time the regional bodies or consultants were identified and their role as executants defined. The preparatory phase was completed by a meeting organized in May 1980 at FAO Headquarters between the central coordinating team and the regional teams in order to exchange views, effect an overall check of work procedures, and make available to the regional teams the information available at Headquarters.

2) Compilation and analysis of information at regional level: The regional teams collected and analyzed the information available country by country. They visited some countries selected as typical, for which case studies were conducted in order to improve understanding of the situations studied. On the basis of their experience and of these visits, the regional teams completed their analyses and prepared a preliminary regional report. During this phase the regional teams received constant backstopping from the central coordinating team.

3) Checking and harmonizing the presentation of the regional analyses: The preliminary drafts of these reports were examined at Headquarters. Certain clarifications and corrections were requested from the regional teams, together with some modifications in the presentation, in order to make possible an overall analysis based on a homogeneous approach. Regional maps were prepared.

4) Preparation of the overall analysis, the first results of which were presented to the Technical Panel on Fuelwood and Charcoal at its final meeting in December 1980. These results were incorporated in the Panel's report to the Preparatory Committee for the Nairobi Conference.

5) Preparation of the Map of the Fuelwood Situation in the Developing Countries and the accompanying explanatory note.

6) Preparation of this report synthesizing the results obtained.

The following institutions and consultants carried out the regional studies, an essential component of this report:

Africa south of the Sahara: Tosseh Gnrofoun and Joseph Brookman Amissah

North Africa and Middle East: Michel Baumer

Asia: The "Preinvestment Survey of Forest Resources" (now called "Forest Survey of India") Institute, Dehra Dun, India

Latin America: Universidad Nacional Agraria, Departamento de Manejo Forestal, Lima, Peru.

The preliminary attempt at classifying African tropical countries from the point of view of their fuelwood resources and consumption was carried out by the Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France.

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