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5. What sort of information?

A. Social
1. Local knowledge and production strategies
2. Land tenure
3. Labour
4. Other aspects of production and distribution of fuelwood
5. Consumption

B. Ecological and resources
1. Ecosystem
2. Fuelwood requirements
3. Land
4. Water
5. Nutrients
6. Labour
7. Seeds
8. Protection
9. Fuelwood collection and storage
10. Distribution
11. Utilization

C. Urban and commercial
1. Background material
2. Urban domestic energy studies
3. Industrial survey
4. Dealer survey


In this final paper we ask what sorts of information are relevant for wood fuel surveys, and how this information can be obtained. Throughout this volume we have stressed the variety of fuelwood situations, and the wide range of critical factors. This paper, unlike the preceding ones, is written in three sections, each with a different author. First, Brokensha and Castro emphasise the social anthropological approach, mentioning the various social institutions, and also important ecological aspects, that need to be taken into account. Next Reddy, with his broad multi-disciplinary approach, stresses the various relationships dealing with the ecological context and the resources needed. His section relates both to his own paper and also to deLucia's opening paper, with its emphasis on a systems approach. Finally Morgan, a geographer, examines the key factors involved in surveys of industrial, commercial and urban fuelwood problems.

By presenting these different but overlapping viewpoints, we hope both to indicate the variety of possible approaches, and also to show that there are many areas of agreement, no matter who does the survey nor where it is done.

A. Social

David Brokensha and Alfonso Peter Castro

We consider the socio-economic context of fuel surveys, emphasising:

(i) wood fuels (fuelwood/and charcoal); crop residues; animal dung; other organic matter;
(ii) both household and nonhousehold uses;
(iii) both commercial and noncommercial uses;
(iv) production, distribution, and consumption aspects.

We do not attempt to cover the whole socio-economic context, but concentrate on those aspects most relevant for a fuel survey, with emphasis on land, and on labour, followed by an overview of production, distribution, and consumption of fuelwood. For convenience, we divide our comments into several sections, but we stress that all are interrelated, and changes in one affect the others. We note one major distinction, whether fuel is used domestically, or as a cash-crop, as this has far-reaching implications.

We emphasize wood - fuelwood and charcoal - but in some areas other sources of fuel are important - cow dung in India, llama dung and woody roots in Peru, crop residues in the Sahel. There are clear regional differences; in Africa, for example, dung and brushwood are generally used less intensively than in India. Sorghum stalks are a major fuel source for two-thirds of Nigeria. In Ilorin market, guinea-corn stalks (which are fibrous and burn well) are sold as a preferred fuel, even when fuelwood is available, obviously expressing a cultural preference. Seasonality is very important, as crop residues are only available for a short period; with a longer season, up to six months in the drier areas of the Sahel. Where alternate biomass sources exist, they should be examined systematically, along the lines proposed. In addition, oars should be taken to consider the opportunity costs of using these items as fuel. For example, the dung might have been used as fertilizer for crops: what is the net loss involved? Crop residues like sorghum stalks are sometimes used as makeshift contour ridges in fields or as livestock feed. Again, what is the extent of the loss? The complex ramifications of using organic residues as fuel must be studied.

The eventual aim of fuelwood surveys is not just to collect information, but to suggest specific lines of action that can improve people's lives. We need first to show the importance of prevailing administrative and legislative policies and practices which set limits for what will be practical. National or sector development policies are vital aspects of any action. The problem is where to draw the lines of what is relevant, because of the wide range of sectors whose policy is significant for any fuelwood programs.

These include forestry, agriculture, rural development, land tenure and land reform, energy and resettlement, to name only the main ones. A knowledge of the broad aims of these sectors (i.e. the ministries and departments that are responsible for them) is required as well as an awareness of relative expenditures, which indicate some order of priorities.

We should also go beyond the national level and consider international policy, as shown by the specific interests of F.A.O., World Bank and other development agencies. And we should also look at lower levels - policies and actions at regional and district levels for these too will affect planned changes.

It is also crucial to be aware of local values and attitudes and of the general social background. We emphasize the importance of understanding and using indigenous knowledge systems in any proposed development. This is particularly necessary in regard to two promising avenues for action - reforestation and conservation of energy - for both involve changes, sometimes substantial, in people's behaviour. A carefully integrated plan - integrated with local values, and worked out in conjunction with the local people - has a better chance of success than has one imposed from above.

Popular participation is a currently fashionable phrase in development circles, yet it is often not clearly defined and therefore difficult to implement. Fortunately, the fuelwood arena is one where participation often has a reasonable chance of success, and local people can and should be involved in initial discussions, in implementation, and in monitoring and evaluation. But local support of forestry programs is not always forthcoming. In part this is because community members may place forests and fuel requirements behind other development needs such as agriculture, water, roads, schools and sanitary facilities. Thus, the priorities and perceived needs of the forester and energy planner may not be the same as those of the local community.

Another factor that inhibits local participation in forestry programs, particularly those based on "community participation," is a factionalism and stratification (Noronha, 1980)e There may be no shared interests in a particular community. Instead, there may be numerous competing political functions based on class, ethnic, religious or other alignments. Moreover, there may be no tradition of cooperation regarding growing or harvesting trees, or fuel supply needs, yet planners sometimes expect cooperative forms, of organization to take root overnight.

Planners should carefully weigh the costs and benefits of using cooperative (or community) versus individual forms of organization in forestry programs. In some oases working through individual landowners may lead to a more successful program of tree planting than relying on a disorganized and undemocratic cooperative. At the same time, planners must also carefully evaluate their goals - a forestry program based on individuals and entrepreneurs may not benefit, and may well be detrimental to the poor.

1. Local knowledge and production strategies

Until recently, most development officials and researchers believed that the peasant had nothing to teach and everything to learn. To a large extent, this attitude still prevails in many circles. Many studies have shown, however, that local people often possess considerable knowledge about resources and their effective management and utilization. This knowledge, the cumulation of years of experience, is a crucial component of local fuel systems, and therefore constitutes an important area of knowledge that should be acquired by responsible officials (see Brokensha et al., 1978; Lipton, 1978).

There are usually clear local preferences for specific firewood species and parts of trees. These preferences are based on burning qualities, availability of wood, intended use and also on prevailing conversion technology. In general, the most desired species are those that are hard, dry rapidly, ignite easily, burn strongly but are easily controllable, emit little smoke, and do not give food an unpleasant taste. For example, the Tarahumara of Mexico say that "oak burns hot and clear, without smoke; pine is used only for kindling; cedar gives a hot fire but throws off dangerous sparks." Studies in India suggest that dry twigs and branches are commonly used because they are often ell that is available. In most parts of the world there have been recent dramatic shifts in preferences as preferred species disappear or become very scarce. The factor of accessibility is crucial, as, to quote a north-of-England folk saying, "if thee cannot get what thee like, thee mun (must) like what thee get."

2. Land tenure

2.1 Government land tenure
2.2 Group land tenure
2.3 Private land tenure
2.4 Competing land uses
2.5 The "poorest of the poor": The land poor and landless; rural women; the elderly and sick

A grasp of land tenure relationships is essential for understanding the regulation of access to trees and other fuel resources. (We use "land tenure" as a convenient term, though we are really discussing rights over land use). Land tenure includes legal and customary relationships between individuals and groups, involving rights in land: rights to build houses, to plant trees and permanent crops, to cultivate annual crops, to graze cattle, or to collect medicinal herbs or building material - and firewood. Sometimes it is useful to ask local people to draw simple maps showing their fuelwood areas, as this can help to show their own perceptions. In many parts of the world, older types of communal land rights are being replaced by individual title, as part of a so-called "land reform."

We distinguish three general types of land tenure: government, group, and private land tenure. Usually all three are found, either side by side or in combination. Furthermore, tenure relations change over time.

In all types of tenure, conflicts over land use and land tenure do occur. Such conflicts obviously affect the collection of fuelwood, so it will be necessary to find out, as discreetly as possible, who is involved, which lands are concerned and with what consequences. With group lands, conflict may arise from questions of who has which rights to gather wood, while with individual tenure there are often quarrels and litigation over the title itself.

2.1 Government land tenure

In government tenure, rights to land and its products are vested in the nation-state and its public agencies and bodies. The amount of forest lands directly controlled by central governments varies considerably. In Nigeria, the state reportedly holds only 2 percent of the total land area. The Republic of Korea's government owns nearly 20 percent of the forest lands. In China, natural forests and many forest plantations are controlled by communes. In many countries, such as Mexico, the actual structure of forest ownership (including both public and private lands) is not known with accuracy.

Land ownership is not always a precise indicator of forest land control. Central governments may nominally own forest resources, but delegate control to local public authorities. For instance, local governing bodies, the panchayats, control forest lands in Nepal although the national government is the official owner. Control over federal forest lands in Mexico is spread among different organizations, including decentralized federal and state government agencies, government companies, private companies with permits and concessions, local land reform communities (ejidos), and other public and private bodies.

Besides direct ownership of forest lands, central governments may control fuelwood resources through land use regulations. This control has occurred in some nations as a response to deforestation and fuelwood shortages. For example, the Ecuadorian government has legislated provision for owners of forest land to reforest and conserve their forests. Land owners are allowed three options: carrying out afforestation and maintenance themselves at their own expense; having the Ministry of Development pay for the work in exchange for donating 70 percent of the wood production to the National Forestry Service; relinquishing ownership of the forest areas to local communities, which will control and maintain the forests. The last option is said to be the government's preferred method, although very little has been done in this way, and often co-operative groups that control land are in a confused state.

How government tenure affects access to fuelwood at the local level varies. Collection of fuelwood on government forest lands may be prohibited. People who live near forest reserves in Tanzania are allowed to collect dead or fallen wood left behind by a small number of licensed timber cutters. In Mexico and the Sudan, fees or taxes are collected on each load of sold woods. In Bara, Sudan, forestry officials admitted that much cutting goes on without permission on government land. "They said that their weak control over the activities carried out is due to lack of personnel and transport facilities" (Digernes, 1977:53): this situation also occurs in other countries. Thus, access to fuelwood resources on government land depends upon the specific country's policies and its ability to enforce them.

In enquiring into government control, a survey should concentrate on certain topics. First, what restrictions are there on access, how do local people perceive these regulations, and have they led to any friction or problems between forest service and local people? If this has led to reluctance or opposition to engage in forest conversation or reforestation, then the survey should ask "what can be done?" This question should be asked of a wide range of local residents, as well as officials.

Aside from the central government, local governing bodies such as village councils may regulate access to public forest lands. This local control has sometimes developed over long periods as a means of conserving important forest stocks In other cases, it has arisen as a local-level response to fuelwood shortages. Community control of forest lands is discussed further in the next section.

We need to ask how people perceive trees and forests, recognizing that there is a wide spectrum, including the Than of Borneo who are described as "having an insatiable craving for virgin land," and for whom treefelling is a major measure of manhood. At the other extreme are people such as the Kikuyu (Kenya) or the Chaga (Tanzania) who treated large trees with reverence, even appeasing the spirit of the tree when it was out down, At Mwanza (Tanzania), and in the Sahel too, local farmers out down trees because they serve as resting places for the seed-eating birds. When do people perceive of forests as for their benefit - and why?

2.2 Group land tenure

Rural communities in almost all developing nations enjoyed from ancient time certain customary privileges on nearby forest lands. Although this is sometimes called "communal tenure", the term "group land tenure" is preferable. This is because access to land may be based on criteria other than community membership, such as common descent or ethnic affiliation. For example, in many tropical African societies wood is collected solely from land which a lineage or other descent group controls, or else from the household's own "bush farm." Moreover, communal tenure may imply "collective" production, a condition rarely present in local-level societies.

Group land tenure differs from modern western forms of land-holding in that people who had rights in land usually had rights in use, which were clearly defined, but they had no right to sell the land. There were exceptions, but in general land could not be alienated. When people had limited rights of use, it was often stated that they might cultivate and harvest annual crops, but they were not allowed to plant permanent crops like trees. This is important as it could be a major barrier to tree planting.

Thus, all members of the community, ethnic group, lineage, or other supra-household land-owning entities were allowed to collect fuelwood for their own use. Group members freely gathered or out as much wood as they need; sometimes certain species of trees were placed in a special category, and people were need; allowed to out theme Forest lands were sometimes found on hillsides or scrub and thorn forests which were unsuitable for farming. In some oases, land was held in reserve for future generations.

Although one study found that 93 percent of all land in Malawi is still under the control of village headmen and chiefs, in most areas group tenure is being, or already is, replaced by private land ownership though private tenure and group tenure may co-exists.

What often occurs is that farm and other intensively used land will become privately owned, but forests and waste lands will remain under group tenure. In these oases, such as in Guatemala, community members retain access to the group's forest land, though it is not necessarily on a strictly egalitarian basis - those persons in power may have readier access to the forests than do marginal persons. The group-held forest land becomes an especially important resource to the poor and landless, and every township, village or settlement that possessed group-held forest was responsible for supervising its use, and for seeing that laws were enforced. Because the local people were directly involved, they were more effective in preventing encroachment, or illegal cutting, than forest guards usually are. Those people who depend on the forest for their income, as woodcutters or carpenters, are especially vigilant in preventing forest clearance.

Where socio-economic differences are pronounced or where political factionalism is intense, control over group-held forests may become the bone of contention among opposed groups. In his community study of Tepoztlan, Mexico, Oscar Lewis states that control over village forest resources led to intense friction between local political factions. One group, comprised of poorer peasants, and ex-Zapatistas (revolutionaries) protested about the depletion of the forests. The other group, led by the sons of the ex-caciques (wealthy political leaders), wished for expanded commercial production of firewood and charcoal (Lewis, 1951:236-238).

Forest depletion and fuelwood scarcity may cause changes in group land tenure, as well as in farming and settlement patterns. For example, firewood scarcity, along with population pressures and poverty, provoked families in Chamula, Mexico, to migrate to new forest areas, leading to competition for land and to quarrels with neighboring communities (Pozas, 1959).

2.3 Private land tenure

With private tenure, land is considered a commodity. The individual is free to sell, to buy, and to accumulate land. Private land tenure implies a monopoly, under which a certain person or group has absolute rights over land, and can exclude others. Bonds of friendship, kinship, and customary relationships between landed and landless may "soften" or "relax" this exclusivity to land. For instance, near Ibadan, Nigeria, wood can be taken from a neighbour's farm. However, with increased commercialization land tends to become stripped of social obligations, and treated as any other commodity.

When group land tenure changes to individual tenure, it may encourage an increased planting of trees, as the owners feel more secure and can afford to do long-range planning, as happened in Kenya. Studies have shown that once farmers get individual title to their land, they tend to set aside a portion of their land for planting with eucalyptus, Grevillea robusta or other quick-growing useful species.

Under private tenure, the question of land ownership distribution becomes crucial. Many areas are characterised by patterns of land concentration. That is, land and fuel ownership are concentrated among a few individuals or families.

2.4 Competing land uses

Fuelwood systems must be seen in relationship to existing patterns of land use, Areas of low population density and extensive land use have tended to be most appropriate for traditional community forestry systems. Such conditions are increasingly disappearing because of rapid population growth and the expansion of commercial agriculture and forestry.

Researchers should be aware of any changes in local infrastructure, technology, or residential patterns that could alter current land use patterns. The construction of roads and bridges opens up areas to settlement and increases access to markets. The introduction of tractors may lead to the clearing of trees from fields. Power saws make the cutting of trees easier and faster. Increases of population and the colonization of new lands presents greater pressure on forests.

2.5 The "poorest of the poor": The land poor and landless; rural women; the elderly and sick

In a recent paper Marilyn Hoskins (1979:5) has written that, "Enthusiastic participation in any project only comes from those who believe they have something at stake and who are committed to the project's success." While Hoskins was referring to one particular (and very important) disadvantaged sector of rural society - women her statement could easily cover the position of others, including the land poor, the landless, tenants, and the sick all of whom lack power. Since the 1970s, international development agencies have declared their concern for the "poorest of the poor." It is these groups whom we know least about, especially in regards to their access to fuel supplies. Although so far we have been discussing mainly those people who have some land rights, in many parts of the world a rapidly growing proportion of the people has no formal rights in land. Moreover, another large proportion of the population has rights to land, though the amount held is insufficient to meet household subsistence demands. Sometimes the land poor or landless are tenants or sharecroppers, having access to another's land in exchange for rent or other services. Although a tenant may have some security of tenure through customary or legal relationships, implied in tenancy is that the landowner may sometime reclaim direct use rights over the land. In some areas where farming has recently become capitalized and commercialized, as in the "green revolution" areas of Asia, the eviction of tenants has occurred.

Besides 'landless,' 'land poor,' and 'tenant,' there are other terms associated with these groups: a semi - or full - proletariat and 'penny capitalists.' The former terms related that these sectors comprised the seasonal or year-round wage labour force for farms, plantations, public work projects, mines, factories and other enterprises. The latter term points out that many of the rural poor engage in small-scale, often ambulatory, commerce, and other non-farm occupational specializations.

Besides direct market purchase, access to wood fuel supplies is often obtained through public or community lands. Although these lands may nominally be held by the 'community,' a community of interest is frequently absent and competition and conflict between different village factions and users for control of this land is intense. Another common means of access to fuel supplies is through social relationships based on kinship, patronage or some other tie. Those without formal access to land may have access through wealthier relatives or through patrons. A tenant or wage-worker may be allowed access to fuel supplies by the landowner, but such access continues only as long as they are associated with the owner. Finally, access to fuel supplies may be obtained through the customary rights of the poor to gather crop residues, dung or other fuel sources, although such rights are lost as these become considered valued resources.

Another forestry-related issue associated with the landless and land poor is that they engage in charcoal-making and wood fuel sales as part or full-time specializations. Driven by the need for survival and the lack of alternative means of livelihood, these desperate people become prime agents of deforestation. Simply denying these people legal access to forests is an insufficient solution to this problem because it invites poaching and the general non-cooperation of the local people in any forestry efforts. A difficult yet more realistic solution is to create alternative means of livelihood for the rural poor. Moreover, the use of trees as an income source and the needs of forestry programs can be integrated so that the rural poor receive some direct economic benefit from any afforestation or conservation project.

The position of poor rural women in local fuelwood systems deserves careful attention. Recognition is usually given to several important aspects of Women's involvement such as cooking and wood collection, but other activities and sources of involvement remain largely unexplored. Little attention has focussed on how women obtain access to trees. Land rights are often assumed to be held by the 'head of household' - the adult male - yet this simplifies the complex arrangements that exist at the local level. The impact of divorce, separation and widowhood on access to fuel supplies is only beginning to be considered. Women's expertise in the use of forest products has seldom been taken into account. How forestry programs affect women's economic activities is also in further need of investigation.

The elderly and the sick are frequently overlooked in development projects, and forestry programs seem no exception. Once again, little investigation of their participation in local situations has taken place. Consideration of their plight underscores the need of researchers to be aware of those forms of poverty that tend to be hidden on the surface. Moreover, it draws attention to the fact that social relations must be seen in a wider framework than individual nuclear households. Many times children are given the responsibility of supplying fuel for an elderly or sick individual who may or may not be a relative and a resident of the household. This use of children, as well as the reliance of the elderly or sick on their grown-up sons and daughters for care, illustrates the value of offspring to parents as a form of old age and sickness insurance.

3. Labour

3.1 Labour allocation
3.2 Hired labour
3.3 Distance and frequency of trips - Time
3.4 The social context of collection
3.5 Technology
3.6 Loads

3.1 Labour allocation

The collection of fuel accounts for a significant proportion of household labour. Other activities - agricultural tasks, collecting water, domestic duties, child-care are also time consuming, and the investigator should have a general idea of the relative amount of time that each task takes. This is important, because if people start to spend more time collecting fuel, then they will have less time for other tasks. We need to know how this affects agricultural production, nutrition and health, and general well being. We should know, for example, if special trips have to be made for firewood, when in earlier days the people could combine this with routine agricultural activities. Here, as elsewhere, both the behaviour and the perceptions of the people should be noted. If any changes or innovations are proposed, we must first know how local people perceive the problem, then build on their perceptions.

Data should be collected on who gathers or harvests fuelwood, and on who uses it. Investigators should consider whether firewood gathering is a gender - or age - defined task within the household. For instance, women are mostly responsible for firewood collection in Africa. Women were said to begin collecting wood as young girls, and continue until they are physically unable to do so. Older women's tasks are sometimes lightened by daughters or daughters-in-law.

Sometimes boys and men are assigned the task of gathering fuelwood. For example, in Jamaica, getting wood is a boy's work, and boys ordinarily gathered firewood in Chan Kom, Mexico. Men will quit work early at their farm plots in Guatemala to collect wood, with men and boys sometimes gathering wood together.

Collecting wood is often the responsibility of both men and women, and young and old. In Uchumarca, Peru, Stephen Brush noticed that:

Many people pick up firewood as a normal part of any excursion outside of the village, and it is common to Bee men, women, and children dragging or carrying small bundles of firewood (Brush, 1977:77).

In many cases the distance required for gathering wood will determine who gathers it. "Women tend to stay closer to the village, while men will range farther in search for the best wood." In the Sudan, women gathered wood near the home, but men sought it if the supply was more than four km. away.

Gender and age preference in wood collection tasks are never absolute social facts. As fuelwood supplies diminish, so do sex and age rules adapt to meet changing needs. Moreover, individuals must adapt to their own personal and household circumstances. For instance, in Mbere, Kenya, when wives are absent or sick, then men must collect wood themselves. Unless they have kinfolk, willing neighbours, or the ability to pay, the elderly and the handicapped must; gather fuelwood themselves. When shortages begin, these latter two groups are often the most hard-hit. This is especially true because people who gather for them for no recompense when wood is plentiful may become more reluctant to help as greater distances are involved, and as more time must be spent.

In most areas, fuelwood scarcity has imposed extra burdens on women because collecting wood takes a longer time, and they still have all their other tasks to do, Therefore there should be a systematic examination of ways in which women's lives have changed.

3.2 Hired labour

As fuelwood becomes a commodity, production relations also change, many sellers collecting and transporting the wood themselves. However, in some instances fuelwood collectors may actually be hired workers, and several variations are found. For example, in Cheran, Mexico, wealthy widows without grown sons pay others to collect firewood. Wealthy households in Bara, Sudan, employ servants to gather wood for them now that wood is in short supply while poorer households must collect it themselves.

Where fuelwood production comes under control of larger-scale entrepreneurs, wage labour relationships become more established. In La Abarca, Chile, lorry owners aquired woodyards and during the winter months they hired "idle tenants" from nearby estates to chop wood. Because the winter is the agricultural off-season, work was scarce, so wood-choppers for these firewood contractors tended to be badly paid. There are other accounts of entrepreneurs who contract or who simply sell on the market, using gangs of hired men. Unfortunately, little information is provided on labour conditions and terms for these workers.

With commercialization of fuelwood, there soon appears a wide range of people who have vested interests in the trade that builds up, because their livelihood depends on It. These include the people who collect and transport fuelwood, as well as those involved in distribution and selling, perhaps at distant towns. These vested interests might actively try to prevent any changes in fuelwood supply, such as would result if government agencies or private people established fuelwood plantations. This important aspect of hired labour warrants investigation. In the case of illegal exploitation, as in tribal areas of India, this is a means by which contractors pass the rise of penalties (fines, imprisonment) to the workers.

3.3 Distance and frequency of trips - Time

We are concerned with time; how much time is spent collecting fuel by different households. People may not have accurate ideas of time, so, to determine time spent, we need to know the location of the source, so as to calculate distance, and also to know the number of trips made each week. This is clearly related to transport, as people who can use a bicycle, barrow, sledge, pack-animal cart or track, obviously have an advantage over those who must carry fuel on their own backs. Again, enquiries should be made on changes in time spent on this task. Serious considerations must be given to methods of acquiring this information. For example, there will probably be seasonal and daily variations in distance, time, and especially in the frequency of trips. The concept of "distance" presents a special problem. Also, tasks may be multi-purpose rather than single-purpose. That is, a variety of labour activities (gathering herbs and other plants, visiting neighbours, checking on fields or herds, returning from farm work) may be carried out on the same trip when firewood is gathered. This can be determined rather easily.

Simple interviewing of local people about distance, time and frequency of trips for fuelwood collection may load to an inaccurate assessment of the local situation. Random spot checks (see the Observation section) are recommended. If there is enough time, these should cover seasonal as well as daily variations. Some sort of stratified sample, based on differential modes of transportation, may be useful in showing distance and time requirements of different households. Accompanying people on fuelwood collecting trips - a real, if arduous, form of participant observation - can help in determining whether a variety of tasks is performed directly or indirectly; it can help in many other ways such as acquiring some sort of "feel" for the rhythms, group dynamics and burdens of this endless, time-consuming task of collecting fuelwood.

Information should be gathered on the extent to which local people consider these trips as burdens, and whether they believe the amount of time and labour required to collect wood has changed.

3.4 The social context of collection

Obviously, much drudgery is involved in collecting fuelwood, as in collecting water, and other routine tasks. Time must be spent and heavy loads collected and carried home. As wood supplies diminish, the drudgery and hardships increase. Furthermore, fuelwood collecting may be a task which is a particularly heavy burden on certain groups such as women, children, the elderly, the handicapped and the poor.

At the same time, ethnographic reports and other accounts of community life show that in many instances fuelwood collection is an important social activity. Mary Elmendorf, commenting on the Mayan woman of Chan Kom, Mexico, writes:

I had never really understood why most of the women did not seem to mind going to the wood, the immense loads of firewood they brought back looked painful to carry on their tumpline, their foreheads straining against the rope... A Mayan friend ... told me later that when women go to lenas (gather wood) it is an outing - a group experience. 'The women love it,' she said. 'They are free in the woods. In addition to collecting wood, they gather all the different kinds of flowers, plants, and roots (Elmendorf, 1976:28-29).

Other observers report that in some areas fuelwood collection is regarded as a pleasant social activity, a welcome break in the routine, when women can chat with their friends.

As mentioned earlier, not everywhere and not everyone has considered gathering wood to be an enjoyable task. Many of the accounts which described it so were written before the onset of serious fuelwood shortages. One report concludes that: is unlikely that firewood collection today provides much satisfaction. Nearly all collectors face long journeys, restrictive laws, selfish landlords, dwindling forests and higher prices, and fuelwood is simply one of life's major sources of anxiety for many collectors (USAID 1980:25).

But fuelwood gathering remains an important social activity in many areas. Conversation, passing gossip, joking, and play by children helps to pass the time and reduces the drudgery of the work.

3.5 Technology

Attention should be given to the technology used, since it influences several aspects of production, distribution, and consumption. Technology limits the range of wood sizes that can be processed and determines which species can be used. For example, hand tools, including axes, hooks on the end of poles, long knives, and machetes, that are most frequently used in collecting fuelwood, can seldom fell and break up large trees. Because wood cannot readily be reduced to small sizes the adoption of new stoves may be restrained. Chain saws, which are presently being introduced in some areas, can lead to accelerated cutting.

A significant part of technology relates to transport - what hand-drawn or animal-drawn carts are available, are pack animals or bicycles used? What are the possibilities of intermediate technology type innovations, which could extend the range of wood gathering, and out down on time?

Also, conversion technology is important. What sorts of stoves and ovens are in use? Much labour may be spent in cutting and preparing wood for stoves, and some stoves require tiny pieces of wood that are difficult to cut.

Another aspect of technology is the manner in which trees are "killed," whether by ring-girdling, burning the base or even applying chemicals, and how long trees are left before being felled.

Finally, technology cannot be understood without enquiring into indigenous knowledge. We need to note what people know/believe about trees and their uses.

The technology used by cutters and gatherers can be easily ascertained through observation. It would also be useful to make a systematic comparison of the technology utilized by different types of producers, such as households, small-scale commercial operations and larger enterprises.

3.6 Loads

Technical problems associated with measuring the amount of wood and energy produced and consumed in fuelwood usage are dealt within Annex III. In this section we discuss some general aspects that investigators may encounter in the field.

Household fuels are difficult to measure exactly, because villagers do not use, scales. They might indicate amounts by referring to a head-load, cart-load, stack or sack (for charcoal), all of which vary considerably. Some people may increase confusion by estimating in kilograms or other international units, without a precise idea of the weight. Wood volume itself will vary according to the particular species, moisture content, the size and shape of branches or logs, and the proportion of twigs and leaves included. Volume-to-weight ratios also vary, according to area or season. Various sized pieces of wood defy traditional forestry appraisal techniques.

4. Other aspects of production and distribution of fuelwood

4.1 Transport
4.2 Marketing and sales
4.3 Storage
4.4 Reforestation

In this section we pay particular attention to the socio-economic rather than to the technical, aspects, and again we have been selective, choosing some important issues.

4.1 Transport

Attention should be given to the infrastructure and the various modes of transporting fuelwood from where it is produced to its consumption or marketing site. Studies indicate that a wide range of transport is used: for instance, a study in Ougadougou, Upper Volta, found that trucks, station wagons, ox carts, mules, bicycles, and pedestrians brought firewood into market. Buses and similar modes of public transport are often used in Guatemala. Very often the vehicles will have mixed loads, such as fuelwood, agricultural produce and livestock, which complicates the measurement. Similarly, the infrastructure used in transporting fuelwood supplies is highly varied. All-weather, well maintained tarmac roads or dirt paths which are inaccessible in wet weather may be used in carrying supplies to market.

The kind of transport available, along with other factors, can have an important impact on the marketing and production structure. Transport networks influence the spatial range of fuelwood markets, determining whether a community has access to commercial supplies for sale or purchase. The construction of rural feeder or access roads can open up new areas of production, allow greater volume to be transported, or make available new markets.

Forest resources may be in areas where no bus service or even roads exist, so that producers will have to take their loads to the marketing sites. Ownership of, or access to, transportation facilities influences entrepreneurial opportunities and the internal structure of fuelwood production and marketing. With the use of trucks, the carrying of the loads of several wood cutters is possible, and middlemen become an important aspect of the distribution systems.

In many areas, enterprising farmers take advantage of fuelwood demand, and of improved communication, to make some income from selling firewood or charcoal. Along many roads, it is a common eight to see people at roadsides, waiting either for a pre-arranged contractor, or for any passing lorry driver who might buy the fuelwood.

In some cases a sort of vertical integration happens. In Chile, lorry owners were able to use woodyards in the winter months, and to employ labourers who would otherwise be idle, in chopping wood. The lorry owners proceeded to sell this chopped wood to bakeries and consumers in urban areas.

4.2 Marketing and sales

4.2.1 Noncommercial and commercial production:
4.2.2 Employment patterns
4.2.3 Seasonality, production and prices
4.2.4 Fuelwood prices and household socio-economic status
4.2.5 Sales

4.2.1 Noncommercial and commercial production:

Fuelwood is often referred to as a "noncommercial" fuel, although charcoal is almost always a commercial fuels This in because many, if not most, rural households collect it for their own consumption. This is much easier when people have their own farms, or have clear rights to gather fuelwood over a particular piece of lands. We need to ask about the non-farmers, not only the landless but also specialists, service people, labourers. Do they buy fuel? Or do they have permission to collect? As a freely obtainable good, no local market existed for fuelwood. In some areas, though, fuelwood has been long considered a commodity. The key factor is usually availability, In the Lake Patzcuaro region of Mexico, people from lake communities, where deforestation already had occurred, traded fish for firewood and ocote (resinous pine) supplied by highland areas. In the Basin of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, shortages of wood have long caused firewood and charcoal to be commercialized. Among Pasil villages in the northern Luzon Highlands of the Philippines, firewood is exchanged for rice in-densely populated areas, but no market exists for it in sparsely settled West Pasil. At times, a few individuals may purchase fuelwood while the rest of the population gathers it themselves. For instance, in Mbere, Kenya, school teachers, rural business owners, and bar and canteen owners were buying fuelwood before its transition from a free good to a marketable commodity among the general populations.

William Morgan's paper provides a valuable overview of the commercialization of fuelwood in tropical Africa. With rapid population growth, increased urbanization, changes in land use patterns as agriculture expands or land quality decreases, high prices for fossil fuels, and local shortages of wood, the commercialization of fuelwood is becoming a ubiquitous aspect of life in the developing countries. The change from being a free good to a marketable commodity can occur quickly. In Mbere, Kenya, this transition happened around 1976. Digernes reported that in Bara, Sudan:

Women of all groups used to collect their wood ten years ago, but because of clearance of the town perimeter, most women now find the distance to wooded areas too long for self-collections. Whereas they used to find wood some 15-30 minutes on food from Bara, now they would have to walk for one to two hours. 13 households have stopped using wood at all, since the women say they do not want to pay for a commodity which they used to obtain free until recently. Otherwise the women have got used to dealing with the professionals who have taken over the wood collecting that they themselves carried out previously (Digernes, 1977:78).

In considering marketing and sales, it will often be necessary to go outside the local community and to ascertain how much is being sold to outsiders. For example, in Mbere, Kenya, the weekly (Tuesday) market at Ishiara attracts many outside buyers of fuelwood and charcoal. Buyers come from the wealthier, but fuel-short Kikuyu highland areas, and also from the towns and cities. It seems that every vehicle has many sacks of charcoal precariously balanced on its roof, an it heads towards the urban areas, It is not possible to study a community in isolation; it can only be understood in relation to its net-work - social, economic, political - with the wider world. In studying fuelwood, this network must be identified, described and analysed. For it is now common in anthropological studies to talk of "a single social field" which includes rural and urban people, ideas, goods and resources, with much cries-crossing.

Table 5-1 Seasonal variability in charcoal production Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, 1965

Charcoal Price


Migration Cycle

Subsistence Farming

Charcoal Prod. Frequency

$1. 50


returning from the coast w/corn and cash

little activity, upland harvest already completed; no planting

much production takes place; price falls



corn planting from Feb. to early March

only few producers


out-migration to plant corn for those w/insufficient land.
Migration to the coast to obtain and dry fish for Lent, which is sold in the market

overall decline In production - A base supply is manufactured by 400 - 500 families who produce year-round, except in the planting season


wheat sown

production decreases


production increases slightly, rainy season



Coastal migration to harvest corn, work on coffee and corn farms.
Half the 100 families to the coast

production decreases; minor shortages in Q. but shortages are not critical



first two weeks of Nov, majority of highland families return from the coast

corn and wheat harvest begins

charcoal manufacture comes to a "virtual halt" prices reach their peak in Q

Sources: derived from Hehr, 1967; from USAID, 19801 p. 79.

In losoking at marketing, we need to examine the impacts of diverting fuelwood from local subsistence use to commercial markets that are mostly located outside the local area. What are the costs and benefits, and to whom do they accrue? Will commercialization have positive or negative effects on local fuelwood supplies? Will some individuals or groups be especially hurt - or helped?

Further questions should be asked about the organization of the market. Are prices controlled? Are controls effective? If not, how are regulations by-passed? Is there control of movement of fuelwood by road blocks or vehicle inspection? Do the marketing and pricing mechanisms operate equitably? What are the relations between the fuelwood gatherers and producers, middle-men, sellers - and forest service officials? Who dictates the rules? What are the relative powers and bargaining positions of each group? What changes are desirable, to improve the general fuelwood situation?

4.2.2 Employment patterns

Producing fuelwood for sale may be a full or part-time occupation, though most people engage in commercial fuelwood production as a part-time activity, usually during the agricultural off-season. Thus, it supplements income or wages earned from other activities. For example, Hehr (1967) showed that charcoal production in Cajola, Guatemala, is related to changes in the subsistence farming and labour migration cycles (see Table 5. A-1).

Cutting or selling fuelwood often has a low status attached to it. Whether the remuneration obtained from this activity corresponds with this status depends on the particular situation. In Tepotztlan, Mexico, Oscar Lewis found that making and selling charcoal was more profitable than engaging in agriculture wage labour. Lewis commented:

But charcoal is thought of as dirty work, and it ranks very low in prestige, being identified as a last occupation resort of the poor. Nevertheless, some well-to-do families in the outlying barrios spend part of their time in burning charcoal (Lewis, 1951:164-165).

In remote areas, where fuelwood production is unlikely to offer vast profits, the business tends to be dominated by poor people. But with shortages driving -up prices, more entrepreneurs become involved in fuelwood marketing, especially in places near to good markets or accessible by all-weather roads.

4.2.3 Seasonality, production and prices

We stress the importance of seasonality in fuelwood systems. In terms of production, seasonality influences accessibility to forest stock and it is the bass of the agricultural cycle. The greatest amount of fuelwood collection usually occurs in the dry season, when there is increased accessibility and also there is less time pressure after crops are harvested. Other organic fuels, such as crop residues, also vary in availability according to the season. Conversely, times when labour migrations or harvests occur, and during the wet season, are periods of low production and higher prices, and greater distances from production area to market. During the rainy season in Kano, Nigeria, fuelwood is scarce, poor quality and expensive, so there is an increased substitution of alternate fuels, especially kerosene.

Prices generally increase with the distance from supplying areas, but Digernes states that this increase happens on different scales for various directions. She Suggests that variations occur because of difference in transportation, accessibility, and the relative ages of supply centres.

4.2.4 Fuelwood prices and household socio-economic status

Prices for fuelwood also vary among different residential districts (or town quarters) and classes of households. In Bara, Sudan, there were distinct variations in mean prices within different quarters and between quarters, with the latter being less. In both instances, middle and upper socio-economic status households tended to pay less than poorer households (Digernes, 1977:73-75), The demand for fuelwood is also influenced by seasonal changes in weather and temperatures Cool or wet weather increases fuelwood demand, for heating and cooking uses.

4.2.5 Sales

Depending of course upon the distance from supply source, fuelwood is often sold by the same person who gathered it, with a variety of market strategies being employed by sellers. Fuelwood may be sold in certain areas or stalls of established markets, or vendors may be found along roadsides. Another common strategy is for the vendor to go from door to door, until eventually a vendor may have a regular number of customers who are visited at regular intervals.

At times, large fuelwood consumers such as bakeries or potters, contract with a merchant or a direct producer of fuelwood in order to be assured of a regular supply.

4.3 Storage

Storage of wood becomes more important where fuelwood is commercialized, households usually storing fuelwood for a few days supply, but poorer households may lack facilities for storage, or lack money to buy any reserve supplies of fuelwood.

Sometimes fuelwood is collected in the dry season and stored for use during the wet season, but with firewood scarcity becoming more prevalent, storage can become difficult. However, shortages may prompt conservation through more careful use and longer storage of collected fuelwood. Storing wood does allow it to dry out more, providing more energy per unit weights Some fuelwood entrepreneurs are apparently investing in storage systems, anticipating an increase in demand and prices. For example, traders in Ibadan send trucks into the countryside to buy large loads of wood, which are then stored in towns.

Thus attention should be given to storage. Factors such an the amount of storage space, the duration of storage, and whether supplies are protected from moisture and insects should be considered.

4.4 Reforestation

We include here some comments on reforestation, as this is an important aspect of production: the amount of fuelwood available will depend in large part on wood supplies, which in turn need replenishing. In examining reforestation, some basic questions need to be asked.

1. Who has what rights over land, especially as regarding planting of permanent tree crops?

2. Is control of land separate from ownership of trees?

3. What historical developments have there been in land tenure, and what recent changes?

4. What are traditional perceptions and knowledge of trees? Which species are planted, which particularly valued, which protected for ritual or economic reasons? Who plants trees, where and why? Is there a history of pollarding trees?

5. Are there any multipurpose trees, like the famed Acacia senegal in West Africa, which provides gum arabic, fuelwood, fodder, shade, and fibre?

6. What trees are being planted today? Are they mainly exotic or are indigenous species included? Are trees grown in single species stands, mixed with other species, or scattered about cultivated land? What are the advantages or disadvantages of each method?

7. What is the degree of deforestation? How do people perceive this? What recent changes have there been?

8. What is being done, by individuals, communities or local or national government, for reforestation? How effective are extension efforts? Are seedings easily available, and is their availability known? What is the location of nurseries, and what distribution system exists? (draw rough map). Is any effort made to reach schools, women's clubs or other local groups?

9. For community fuelwood lots, what have been/are the types and extent of local cooperative activities? How are these organized? How many people join in? How active are they? What barriers are there to cooperation - political, class, caste, religious, ethnic?

This is not an exhaustive list, but indicates the sorts of questions that should be asked before starting a forestation programme.

We indicate some aspects of relevant local practices and beliefs. In Bihar, India, the local people are sceptical about single-purpose trees, and especially about single-species stands. They have good reason to regard these as "unnatural" and impracticable, because they are accustomed to useful multipurpose trees that supply their needs for building material, fuelwood food, fibre, forage, woven mats, implements and other things.

To what extent do local people already plant trees? For example, in Kenya there is a great variation in tree planting. In some areas (Kisii, Kakemega, Nyeri) there are many private wood lots, usually eucalyptus for construction and fuel, and there are even privately owned tree nurseries where local entrepreneurs sell seedlings. This is a direct result of high population density, pressure on land and shortage of trees.

Are there indigenous species of trees that should be encouraged, rather than considering the ubiquitous eucalyptus? In Kenya, Markhamia spp in Siaya, and Melia volkensii in savanna country, are two trees that are locally appropriate, popular, useful and often overlooked. For many years the forestry department in Kenya claimed that it was impossible to germinate Melia volkensii, that it just grew. But the local people know very well the seedlings "germinate successfully once the seeds of the fruits browsed by goats have been passed in their droppings." One elder told researchers "every uncircumcized herdboy knows how we germinate mikaum (Brokensha et al, 1980:123). This illustrates the need to enquire into indigenous knowledge, and not just to rely on development from above.

5. Consumption

5.1 Consumers
5.2 Household uses
5.3 Conservation of energy

5.1 Consumers

A basic task of consumption surveys is to determine who consumes fuelwood. Households appear to be the largest overall consumers of fuelwood. In rural areas, firewood is usually the primary fuel, while urban households are the greatest consumers of charcoal. There may be differences in both rural and urban areas in the types of fuels used by various socio-economic strata or classes. Middle and upper classes tend to change to petroleum-based fuels or electricity, particularly in urban areas.

Besides household users, fuelwood is consumed by local industries, small businesses, and other establishments such as schools. Non-household consumers have received relatively little attention in fuel surveys, with notable exceptions being the work of Deanna Donovan and Turi Hammer Digernes (See Annex II). Among traditional manufacturers, fuelwood is used in pottery making, food processing, baking, salt-manufacturing, smelting, smithing, and textile production. Restaurants, tailor shops, hotels and small inns, and food vendors are common users of fuelwood among small businesses. In some oases a growth in tourism, which stimulates the hotel and food establishments, will increase the demand for fuelwood.

There will always be a range in household use; indeed, fuelwood consumption can sometimes serve as a good proxy indicator for wealth. The amount used will depend partly on economic factors - how much household income is available to buy, or household labour to collect, fuelwood? Cultural aspects may also be important, and people's perception, values, beliefs can all be significant. One person may insist on a fire for ritual purposes, for example. The survey should indicate the range of consumption, and also give some reasons for variations.

5.2 Household uses

1. Cooking fires constitute the most significant use of fuelwood in households. Data should be gathered on the organization of cooking activities - whether it is carried out on open fires, open stoves, or more sophisticated stoves (thus, information on the household's socio-economic position is important); it is also important to know who is assigned the tasks of tending fires and cooking.

2. Food preparation - including smoking and drying of crop reserves.

3. Heating - this will vary according to season and geographical zone.

4. Lighting (open fires).

5. Household manufacturing such as pottery making.

6. Brewing of beer or other alcoholic beverages may be locally significant for fuelwood consumption.

7. Simultaneous uses - a single fire may serve multiple purposes, such as cooking, heating, and lighting.

8. Sometimes large scale rural industries exist. The fishermen at Mopti, Mali, for example, use 40,000 tons of wood each year for their fish-drying, and there is rarely any available biomass fuel within a range of 100 kms. Tobacoo-curing in Malawi and Tanzania accounts for large quantities of wood too.

9. Miscellaneous uses, including ceremonial and religious.

Note should be taken of the use of other fuels, either commercial ones like kerosene, or traditional fuels like crop residues, animal dung, which are of major importance in some areas (Sahel and India).

5.3 Conservation of energy

An important aspect of consumption is the energy efficiency of present practices. Many studies confirm the need to understand existing cooking technology, food patterns, and perceptions and food values before proposing changes. Some innovations, such as the Lorena stove, may be successfully introduced, but only if a careful study is first made of existing cooking methods, Innovation should be adapted to what is -there, not simply imposed from above without regard to traditional technology. Some innovators are impatient With this approach, but it usually pays dividends.

Fuelwood is often used in a wasteful manner. The three stone open hearth, common in many parts of Africa and elsewhere is an inefficient way of cooking, as are many of the charcoal stoves currently used, In other areas, the fuelwood shortage has forced people to make more effective use of energy, and wasteful practices have declined. One effective conservation measure is reported from India, where a change in the position of the corpse being prepared for cremation results in one-third less wood being consumed. But many people have until recently regarded fuelwood as a free and abundant resource, and it may be difficult to persuade people to change basic attitudes and beliefs.

B. Ecological and resources

Amulya, Kumar N. Reddy

The ecosystem approach has been used, above,1 to reveal the many ways in which wood resources are related to the various components and activities of the ecosystems In particular, the inter-relationship between land, water, nutrients, inanimate energy, animal energy, fodder, cooking, trees, buildings, other uses of wood, buildings and human beings on the one hand, and wood on the other hand, has been schematically presented and briefly described. The purpose of the discussion has been to bring out various synergisms and conflicts which affect the outcome of fuelwood projects. It follows that an understanding of these factors is crucial for the planning of these projects. Such an understanding requires many categories and items of information which must now be listed.

1 In the author's paper "Rural Fuelwood: Significant Relationships".

The listing of information needs can be conveniently organized through a diagram (Figure 5-1) which displays the various material inputs for the production, distribution and utilization of fuelwood. The presentation will be ordered by sequentially considering the various inputs and describing the information required on each of these inputs. In practice, however, an iterative approach is unavoidable, because information on an item further along the sequence may be necessary to obtain data on an earlier item - for example, the species chosen for fuelwood production must be known in order to determine its irrigation requirements.

The aim in what follows is to make the description of information requirements as comprehensive and complete as possible.

Inevitably, therefore, the result will tend to be an ideal list in which all the items are significant for a general discussion. In the context of a particular fuelwood project, however, the whole list may be unattainable for reasons such as non-availability of information, shortage of time, inadequacies of expertise, and so on. In that case, there is no alternative to using short-cut approach (for example, estimating fuelwood use from foodgrain consumption and stove efficiencies), approximate methods (for example, assuming that local biomass productivities are given by national averages), estimates in lieu of quantitative calculations, and judgements regarding priorities in the information list. Fortunately, the chances of success in such limited-information situations are significantly increased by tapping local wisdom regarding the functioning of the ecosystem and other features specific to the region.

1. Ecosystem

At the outset, some basic information is required on the ecosystem for which a fuelwood project is being planned. In particular, it is necessary to know: what is the magnitude of the human population in the ecosystem? and what projections can be made regarding this population? Also, what are the livestock populations corresponding to different categories of livestock? Finally, what is the land area of the ecosystem?

2. Fuelwood requirements

In order to estimate the total fuelwood production that is required, several questions need to be answered: what are all the current end-uses of wood within the ecosystem? and for each end-use, what is the average annual per capita requirement? From this information and the data on population and its growth, estimates can be made of the total fuelwood requirement and how it should increase. But, such estimates are valid only for the current end-use pattern - a different end-use pattern will lead to different requirements. Alternative end-use patterns will have to be considered.

3. Land

The estimate of fuelwood requirements can be converted into land requirements for a project on the basis of fuelwood productivity norms for the species of trees which will be grown. Attention must then be turned to the availability of land for the fuelwood project - the issue is whether there are enough areas which can be allocated to woodlots and whether, even if such areas are identifiable, the land will be made available by those who control the land. An understanding of these issues requires answers to a number of questions. Of these, a crucial one pertains to the current land-use pattern, i.e. what percentages of the ecosystem area are devoted to the human settlement (houses, etc.), water bodies (ponds, tanks, canals, etc.), cropland, pastureland, and utilized land (arable and non-arable)?

In order to estimate the human population which can be supported by the cropland on the basis of agricultural technologies currently in use, it is important to have an idea of the biomass productivity (kgs/ha/year) and the distribution of that biomass between food (grain) and non-grain components that are consumed by livestock as fodder. The carrying capacity, however, is a function of technology, and therefore there must be estimates, based, for example, on national statistics on yields, on carrying capacities with alternative agricultural technologies. From these estimates, it is possible to develop information on the cropland requirements of the present and projected populations with current and alternative technologies.

There are several questions with regard to the pastureland. What is the biomass productivity of the pastureland? What is the percentage contribution of pastureland to the fodder requirements of the livestock population of the ecosystem? Given the fodder production from the cropland and the biomass productivity of the pastureland, what is the livestock population that can be supported by the ecosystem with the fodder production technologies in use and with alternative technologies?

The catchment area for rainwater storage tanks and ponds often consists of land that is invariably non-arable, and highly susceptible to erosion if it is not afforested. Such land is usually a "first choice" for a woodlot, and therefore, it is essential to know the area of the catchment region. Information is also required on the areas of all plots of non-arable land in the ecosystem as well as of arable land which can be made available for woodlots.

The data thus generated on land availability (for woodlots) can then be compared with the estimate of land requirements. If the land available is in excess of the land required for the fuelwood project, the next task is to determine whether the identified land areas will be made available to the project. This depends upon whether the land is owned and controlled by the government/village as common land or by individuals, etc., and whether the owners support the project. It is also crucial to predict realistically how the ownership of the plot(s) suitable for woodlots will affect the distribution of the fuelwood that is produced. In particular, will the fuelwood needs of the poorest families be satisfied, for this is the test of whether the fuelwood project is consistent with development goals?

If sufficient land is not available to meet the fuelwood requirements, then one possible measure is to plant fuelwood trees on the borders of roads, canals, fields, etc., provided that the fuelwood thus obtained is adequate. Information is therefore required on the length of the borders available for "border trees", and the corresponding fuelwood yields. In this case, too, it is important to anticipate how the fuelwood from such trees will be distributed, and whether most of it will simply go to those whose lands are enclosed by the border trees - if so, development objectives will be frustrated.

Another possible measure if land cannot be dedicated to special woodlots is to make land which is already being used for grazing serve the additional function of woodlots. This would involve the growth of two-tier fodder-cum-fuel forests after ensuring that both the fodder and fuel requirements of the ecosystem are fulfilled and that the fodder and fuel needs of all families are satisfied.

Figure 5-1 The Production, Collection, Distribution and Utilization of Fuelwood

4. Water

Information on water is required both to guide the choice of fuelwood species as well as to determine its availability to meet any irrigation requirements of the fuelwood project.

Obviously, basic data is necessary on the rainfall pattern in the region - the average rainfall, and the monthly seasonal distribution of this rainfall. If rainwater is collected and stored in ponds, tanks, etc., the volume of this water should be estimated. Of greater importance is an understanding of the pattern of the use and distribution of the stored water. In the case of ground water, data must be collected on the depth of the water table and the supply that can be sustained.

The irrigation needs - if any - of the fuelwood project can be estimated from the species, its planting density and the area allocated for the project. In addition, it is necessary to know at what part of the year this water is required and for how long.

From a knowledge of the water needs of the project and its availability, an estimate can be made of whether there is adequate water to meet the requirements. Even if the water is sufficient, it is necessary to consider whether the supply of water to the project can be implemented.

In the case of stored water, several questions arise: who controls the stored water? will the irrigation needs of the fuelwood project be spared? can the amount of stored water be increased? will this increase in stored volume be associated with an increase in the area of the water body, and if so, what other area (cropland, pastureland, etc.) will be reduced? will this reduction be tolerated? how will the stored water be transported to the woodlot, and is such transport feasible? Is it possible to have dedicated water shortage, i.e. to harvest water specially for the woodlot?

In the case of ground water, the relevant questions are: at what depth is it? if the plan is to drill for ground water, will the desired output be sustained by recharge? What is the energy required to lift the water? is this energy available within the ecosystem - if so, what is the source? If not, can the required energy be imported from outside the ecosystem?

5. Nutrients

The nutrient requirements of the fuelwood project can be determined from the silvicultural practices required by the tree species which is/are chosen. To estimate whether these requirements can be met from the resources of the ecosystem, it is essential to know its pattern of use of nutrients, particularly the percentage contribution of organic and chemical nutrients. To calculate if the ecosystem's output of organic nutrients can be increased, knowledge is required of the quantity of animal wastes and green manure produced by the ecosystem and whether any alternative uses of this organic nutrient can be avoided, for example, dung-cakes as cooking fuel. Even if the organic nutrients produced locally are adequate for the fuelwood project, it is vital to anticipate whether those who own these nutrients will make it available. If the organic nutrients made available are inadequate (for whatever reason), then the alternative is to import chemical fertilizers, in which case the quantity and type must be calculated.

6. Labour

A projection of the labour requirements of the fuelwood project requires information on the human hours demanded per hectare for each operation. This would lead to a labour demand "rye which describes the weekly or fortnightly or seasonal variations. A crucial question then arises: is the ecosystem in a position to make available this labour for the fuelwood project? An answer to this question requires information on the present labour-use pattern in the ecosystem. In particular, what other activities will compete for the labour required by the project? If there are competing demands, can the fuelwood project labour requirements be re-scheduled to eliminate the competition? The preference for re-scheduling over successful competition is essentially because marginal and poor farmers (who, apart from landless labour, are likely to be the only sources of labour) often stand to benefit much more from growing food on their farms than going to work (even for wages) on the fuelwood project.

It is also important to enquire whether the technical knowledge and management capability required for the fuelwood project is available locally or within the district, region, etc.

7. Seeds

The information that has been gathered on the fuelwood requirement, and on the availability of land, water and nutrients can be used to guide the choice of fuelwood species. In addition, there must be knowledge of the soil characteristics and the climatic factors. As already mentioned, preference should be given to species which fix nitrogen, demand little water and permit undergrowth (for example, of a fodder species). There should also be preference for species which confer the highest benefits to farmers and demand the lowest costs. It is also advantageous to emphasize indigenous species with which the farmers are familiar.

8. Protection

Protection against "infant mortality" is a crucial aspect of planning fuelwood projects. In particular, woodlots must be protected during the seedling and sapling stages of tree growth against grazing livestock. There are two approaches to this protection. The first is "to fight the grazers" by means of "insurmountable" fencing and/or guards engaged in round-the-year day-long vigil, but all it takes to lose months of effort is a small gap in the fence or a little relaxation in the surveillance. The second approach is "to join the grazers" by considering the satisfaction of the fodder needs of poor families as vital a development objective as meeting fuelwood needs. The aim therefore is to develop an integrated fuelwood-cum-fodder project in which the "infant mortality" of fuelwood seedlings and saplings is prevented by assured fodder supplies to the grazing livestock. The achievement of this situation requires information on the fodder requirements of the livestock, the productivity of fodder species, their water, fertilizer and labour requirements, the current grazing patterns and the scheduling of operations in such a twin project.

9. Fuelwood collection and storage

In order to work out a fuelwood collection strategy, there must be an understanding of the growth curves for the trees so that the method and timing of fuelwood extraction can be worked out. This strategy must also provide information on the labour requirements corresponding to the collection, and these requirements must be compared with the labour availability in the ecosystem.

If the fuelwood that is collected is not immediately distributed or utilized, it has to be stored. And this requires the planning of storage facilities based on information regarding the rates of production and distribution/utilization, and also the losses in storage.

10. Distribution

The success of a fuelwood project depends not only on the production of fuelwood, but also on its distribution. The planning of distribution requires information on current fuelwood consumption patterns in the ecosystem, and in particular, the distribution of this consumption between the different economic groups. In addition to the quantities of fuelwood consumed by these groups, and their per capita consumption levels, it is vital to know whether these groups gather the fuelwood or purchase it, and in the latter case, the prices at which it is bought. The question of prices is very important because if the poorer groups currently obtain fuelwood at zero private cost, they are unlikely to be interested in a project which sells them fuelwood even at very low prices. But, if the fuelwood is given away, then how is the distribution to be rationalized and carried cut equitably and justly? An answer to such questions also requires the following information which individuals, groups and organizations are likely to own/control the fuelwood obtained from the woodlot?

Since fuelwood is not the only output from trees, it is important to consider the distribution of these other outputs, for example seeds. At the same time, information in required regarding alternative technologies for using these products.

Distribution may also require transport, in which case information must be obtained on the distances involved in the distribution, and the associated costs for various transportation modes - headloads, wheel barrows, animal-drawn carts, tractors, trucks, etc. Even after identifying the cheapest transportation mode, it is necessary to know whether these transportation modes are accessible and available to the fuelwood project.

11. Utilization

The planning of fuelwood utilization demands, in the first instance, an understanding of the current end-use pattern for fuelwood, i.e. the amount of fuelwood used for cooking, water heating, space heating, industries and exports, the devices and equipment used for the various end-uses and the efficiencies of these devices. In the case of cooking, which is often the predominant end-use, information is required on the contributions of various cooking fuels fuelwood charcoal, various agricultural wastes, dung-cakes, kerosene, electricity, liquified petroleum gas), as well as on the sources, prices and availabilities of these fuels.

An important question is whether a fuelwood project is considered only as a method of increasing energy supplies to meet current end-use patterns or whether it is part of an overall energy strategy in which both consumption and supply are rationalized. If the aim is to advance development, then it is essential to incorporate fuelwood projects in energy planning. This means that the consumption of fuelwood must be scrutinized in order to evolve more efficient alternative end-use patterns which maximize the satisfaction of energy needs whilst optimizing resource uses For example, the replacement of fuelwood as a cooking fuel with biogas would save all the fuelwood now being used at very low efficiencies (~ 5%) for cooking and release it for alternative uses, for example pumpsets. Hence, it is important to consider alternative end-use patterns and, in order to do this, information is necessary on alternative fuels, energy sources and devices.

C. Urban and commercial

W.B. Morgan

The commercial aspects of fuelwood study, together with related sources of fuel and power, may be expected to have a richer published data resource than non-commercial aspects, and to raise issues and problems having some similarity to those involved in energy studies in the industrial countries. We can, therefore, draw more easily on a wide fund of existing experience and expect in many areas to find some useful basic data already available. This is mainly true at the national level. In cities in developing countries the data base is often still poor compared with that available in industrial countries, and survey work has generally been limited by lack of resources, limited background information and difficulties in obtaining suitably trained or experienced research workers. Such study has either never been done before or usually has been a small part of a survey for other purposes and of very limited dimensions, completed only a few years ago. There are therefore few guidelines available from previous studies and only a limited prospect of comparison over time.

In view of the paucity of energy studies in urban areas and on commercial distribution systems for rural energy, it is hardly surprising that little is available on survey method. An additional problem is that a high proportion of the little methodological material available has not yet emerged from the mimeographed form in which it is presented to conferences. Most comment on survey method for commercial aspects of fuelwood study is either in general methodological monographs or in a few studies of urban energy supply.1 The only major papers to concentrate on energy survey methodology in the urban context, as far as the author is aware, are in the National Academy of Sciences 'Proceedings: International Workshop on Energy Survey Methodologies for Developing Countries' (1980).

1 E.g. Mannier, 1972; Ouedraogo and Vennetier, 1977; Mortimore and Wilson, 1965. See also, for a summary of work in west and central Africa, Bertrand, 1979.

1. Background material

Any study of the commercial organization of energy supply must contain a background survey which sets the energy material into its appropriate economic, social and ecological context. The rural aspects, including the ecological context, are discussed in other papers. The urban aspects require information on population, including demographic pyramids, birth and death rates, composition and geographical distribution, urbanization and migration, employment levels, occupations and income groups, service functions, transport flows, utilities and manufacturing. In particular, all processes and activities which use energy should be considered. Much of this material may be available from existing data sources, particularly from government and local government publications and from planning offices. However, in acme of the lower income groups even basic data of this kind are completely absent for major cities, and in most at least part is missing. It is important to link urban and rural study since the city acts as the social and political nexus of the surrounding rural area. It is also important-to set the study of any city into the national urban context, so that its place in the urban hierarchy, in the national transport network, and as a regional centre, are all understood. The roles of urban planning and of infrastructural development plans are particularly important, since these refer to future developments and energy uses. Bottle-necks in energy supply need to be understood and appreciated before embarking on schemes for the development of new towns, or of slum clearance and the building of now suburbs or home improvement.

2. Urban domestic energy studies

Apart from the universal problems involved in sampling, interviewing and the design of questionnaires, there are a number of other problems arising from the nature of domestic life and the use of fuel and power in cities in developing countries.

Social prestige is an extremely important and complex factor in energy demand and preference. Its operation must be clearly understood in all survey work. Thus a survey recently conducted in southern Nigeria by staff of the University of Ife discovered that acme respondents thought that dealing in domestic fuelwood was only done by the poorest people. They preferred at first to hide the fact that occasionally they did sell wood. In some countries animal dung is an important fuel, but nevertheless its use is regarded by many people as socially degrading. Where people of high social status use electric cookers, people of lower status may insist on preference for electric cooking, even though they have no experience of it and refuse to accept other alternatives to fuelwood.

Within a "house" there may be more than one household and several families. In some cases their uses of electricity may be separately metered. In other cases they may have to share a meter. Other fuels may be bought jointly or separately. In addition a single supply of fuel may be used for both domestic and commercial purposes. These problems are likely to be particularly important amongst poorer people in multi-occupied dwellings and in informal commercial and industrial activity, i.e. amongst those people for whom fuelwood may be a significant source of energy.

Within the city frequently there is local variation in wood prices. It should not always be assumed that, although wood appears to be the cheapest fuel by some standard method of measurement, it must be regarded as the cheapest fuel by all income groups. Much depends on how fuel is bought, in packet lots or in bulk, and the capital cost of equipment involved. Thus wood can appeal to those who have no capital and need to buy very small quantities of fuel at a times. They can in fact sometimes be shown to pay more per unit of heat derived than richer people buying kerosene or gas in large quantities at a time (Ay 1980). The problem of poor people having to pay high prices for small quantities in commercial systems involving considerable break or bulk and many steps in the dealer hierarchy is a common one in a wide range of goods in the Third World.

Availability of fuel and power at different times and its varying regularity, needs to be carefully examined. It is frequently an important factor in preference and in future energy development. Power failures should be checked for their length and incidence, and for their effect on equipment and users. They are a frequent factor in a preference for using a variety of fuels and equipment enabling substitution. Extra high Costs in fuel and power use in developing countries are a common feature. That wood and charcoal may be stored are important elements in their uses Storage capacities and quantities stored at different times of the year should be recorded.

It is also important to monitor changes in taste and in social customs and habit. Important features in eating habits, for example, are the increasing use of prepared foods, the growth of the industry in ready-cooked foods sold in the street or in market places, the growing popularity of wheat bread, rice and sugar, and the spread in some countries of cassava or manioc flour as a staple food of the urban poor. The increasing use of hot water for a variety of domestic and industrial purposes should be noted, together with the sale of equipment requiring hot water such as washing machines. The air conditioning of at least one room in a house is not uncommon in the larger cities, despite the often high cost, and a wide range of electrically powered tools and equipment is sold. The spread of education has increased the need for electric light or for very powerful kerosene and gas lamps, The desire for clean, safe water has been met only by a heavy energy bill for pumping in the supply network and filtration plant.

3. Industrial survey

In some countries industry, in the broadest sense, consumes nearly a third of the total national energy consumption. In most developing countries it is not the largest energy consumer, although frequently a significant one, with the highest energy use growth rate. Amongst industrial energy consumers a few large firms together usually consume a large proportion of the total, but a very large number of extremely small units together consume a not insignificant proportion and include the consumers of fuelwood. In industrial surveys direct-use-of-energy data have to be treated with caution, or at least analyzed in relation to a knowledge of industrial structure. Most firms buy materials and components from other firms where energy use also enters into the calculation for the final product. Regulations limiting a firm's energy use need careful framing where firms can apparently achieve increased "efficiency" by the simple expedient of buying part of their process from elsewhere (Long, 1980).

Most measurements are of energy use intensity, particularly of the main elements in a production process and of the firm's heating, lighting and air-conditioning. Costs must also be measured. Substitution policies should be evaluated, but in the larger firms, although there is often a great deal of room for increased efficiency by substitution, it is rarely by increased use of a local resource such as fuelwood. Most gains are usually to be made by a substitution which makes possible the use of more efficient equipment or by attention to greater efficiency in use of existing equipment and better use of insulation and ventilation. The introduction of better control systems and the modification of lighting and environmental conditioning systems can gain a great deal. The cost advantages of policy changes must be clearly demonstrated, bearing in mind the capital expenditure and interest rates involved. An economic situation of capital scarcity and high interest rates is hardly suitable for introducing schemes of energy conservation which will require heavy capital borrowing.

In a situation of this kind, where energy savings are required, it may be that more can be done in the informal sector, where efficiency in energy use is likely to be very low and some improvement may be effected at low cost. There is a special need for research into energy use by informal industries, and especially into their use of fuelwood and charcoal about which very little is known. For the sixteen countries included in an International Energy Agency (1979) study, approximately 10% of final energy consumption in the industrial sector is "non-commercial" energy (Foell, 1980). For several developing countries the proportion is undoubtedly very much higher.

In all studies of industrial energy use a very careful examination should be made of national and regional taxation, subsidies and incentives, together with all industrial and employee regulations which may affect current energy use and policy recommendations.

Under the heading of "industrial energy" we may include all other non-domestic consumers of fuel and power, including offices, hotels, hospitals, prisons, colleges and schools. Many of these use fuelwood or charcoal as a stand-by, and some, especially in Africa, use it regularly for cooking and for heating water. More generally, most institutional and office users face problems in the consumption of wood fuels of pollution and lack of suitable ventilation, especially in modern buildings. It may be important in this survey to examine the constraints imposed on the choice of fuel and power by the needs and particular building fabrics associated with each non-domestic use. The rapid expansion of office buildings in the larger cities has often been one of the chief factors in the rise of electricity and oil consumption. Total urban energy study should measure, amongst other features, floor space, volume, use of air-conditioners, lifts, lighting and heating, parking facility, mode of transport to work and distances travelled. It should seek to attempt some assessment of energy use efficiency. However, such a study must depend on the objectives of the survey, i.e. whether the study is concerned with the role of wood fuels in relation to the total commercial consumption and the varying needs, or whether a simple assessment of the nature of the urban demand for wood fuels is required.

4. Dealer survey

The study of dealers and of commercial exchange is valuable for the knowledge it gives of the distribution system and of the ways in which that system affects energy supply and use. It can also give additional information on production and consumption. Where fuelwood and charcoal are concerned, at the rural end of the system there are sellers to consumers, but we are mostly concerned with dealers selling to dealers, i.e. with "bulkers-up" in a chain of supply via retailers and wholesalers, leading eventually to an urban break-of-bulk. This system is particularly elaborate for domestic supply, but likely to be much simpler for the supply of industrial fuels. Surveyors have therefore to identify a number of distinct yet sometimes overlapping elements in the supply chain. It is particularly important to identify bottlenecks in the system which would limit any scheme for increased production and consumption. Increased efficiency in supply can reach more consumers or producers and can lower costs. It can also demand changes in the production system where scale economies are required or be affected in turn by a changing production technology.

A dealer survey will need to map the locations of supply depots and retail outlets, and to examine the status of traders, their position in a dealer hierarchy and the facilities at their disposal. The price differential of the various fuels at different points in the supply system will provide a valuable measure of the effectiveness of the system and an indicator of any particular problems in its operation. Price variation with seasons and the seasonality of dealer activities must also be recorded. Dealers may be full- or part-time, immigrants, male or female, from particular age-groups, dependent on capital from family or other businesses, and have particular locations and patterns of movements to effect business. They often have cash flow problems which make it difficult for them to capitalize on gluts and shortages by large scale purchase and storage - a topic for which data may be difficult to find. An important point will be their involvement with transport. They may be organized in some kind of trading group or as a cooperative. They may be especially concerned about the purpose of the survey and the way in which it may be related to future wood supply or to the use of substitute fuels.

Dealers may also provide very valuable commentary on fuel price inflation, development policy, urban planning, fuel preferences and price controls. The system which they operate is sensitive to any change in the relationships of the various fuels and of demand and production. Open-ended questions are likely to be particularly fruitful with dealers and provide a useful guide to the design of questionnaires for the entire field of study.

Features which may be measured in a dealer survey include:

1. Wood sales: volume, weight, prices, rank order of species, size of pieces and purpose, sources, markets.

2. Charcoal sales: weight, prices, sources, markets.

3. Other fuels: weight, volume, prices, sources, markets.

4. Range of business: other goods, relation to fuel business.

5. Customers: number, location, status, occupation, kind of business, regularity, timing, volume of business, relative importance.

6. Suppliers: number, location, status, occupation, kind of fuel supplied, regularity, time, volume of business, relative importance.

As demand for fuels and power rises, so the wood fuels trade becomes more attractive as a business. There is therefore the possibility that the larger, more powerful traders may tend eventually to dominate it and either "organize" or replace the poorer traders. A dealer survey should note, wherever possible, any changes in the structure of wood fuels trading and in the status and relationships of dealers in relation to changing prices, costs and demand.

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