Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page

Annex I - Different categories of wood fuel surveys

by Russell deLucia

Past surveys of fuelwood and other traditional fuel use have varied considerably in scope and methodology. Their scope generally differs depending on whether the objective is to define the dimension of broad issues at the national or regional level, to aid the design of specific projects or to pursue research efforts to develop a better understanding of the physical and social system in which traditional fuels are used. Some efforts have shared more than one of these objectives.

While it would be possible to suggest a classification system that drew primarily on methodological characteristics (i.e. stratified or unstratified sample, formal questionnaire or informal interviews) it is perhaps more Useful to classify past surveys in a few broad categories and then comment on issues pertinent to these cases.

1 (a) Earlier country-wide or regional work undertaken as part of other efforts where the primary focus is not on rural energy issues.

1 (b) Similar to "a", but where in effect traditional fuels become the dominant issue and this markedly affects methodology.

2. Country or region-wide work aimed primarily at defining the energy demand, but encompassing all fuels.

3. More generalized survey approaches that attempt to develop a comprehensive picture for village or region, but do not include resident observation approaches.

4. Region or village work involving detailed comprehensive surveys employing a mixture of statistical, physical sciences, and social sciences, residence observation techniques and covering both demand and supply issues.

5. Ad hoc region or multivillage specific efforts focused either on demand or supply, or both, usually as part of a project design or evaluation.

The first category is the one in which much of the earlier wood consumption survey work of FAO fits. These surveys were designed primarily to assemble information about processed forest product use, rather than wood fuel. Generally these efforts were undertaken Using enumerators and standard questionnaires, with sample selection based on a random stratified design, the latter to probe important regional and user differences. In the same category are surveys which have as their primary focus other subject's such as agriculture or overall consumer consumption, but in which some data on fuelwood and other traditional fuels may be an important focus.

The earlier surveys, because they were focused on wood products, were based on information collected at a single time period and hence usually do not record seasonal change in fuelwood use. Information on fuelwood was obtained relying solely on question and answer approaches, rather than on measurement. The focus on the forest sector and on wood volumes also meant that these surveys usually did not collect much of the important social, economic or physical information What they did do - and this was all they were intended to do in terms of fuelwood information - was to provide rough orders of magnitude of fuelwood consumption at the national level, and on the main categories of users.

More recently, some national wood consumption survey work has emerged which has been designed to overcome some of the earlier weaknesses with respect to information on wood fuels. An example of this is the recent work carried cut by the Planning Commission in Bangladesh with the assistance of an FAO/UNDP project. The survey work includes measurement techniques along with questionnaires, and covers both the demand and supply side of the problem. In this work, the approach included a stratified zone approach to capture ecological differences (as well as differences in the urban fringe and due to effect of proximity to large national forests). The survey was aimed at gathering data on usage of wood (including bamboo) in structures and implements as well as fuelwood and other traditional fuel use, and estimates of standing tree and bamboo volumes and off-take. These data were complemented by economic information such as landholding and income data.

The main survey of some 6,000 households included both measurement and questionnaire approaches, but was complemented by a so-called Field Measurement Survey applied to a random 20 percent (1,200) sample of the main survey frame. The Field Measurement Survey (FMS) both repeated questionnaire and measurement procedures of the Main Survey (for comparison testing) and included more detailed structural and true measurement procedures. However, neither the FMS nor the main survey included measurement techniques for the cooking consumption estimates. Nor were the fuel qualities or actual cooking efforts measured: the data was based only on questionnaire responses. Measurement techniques were used for the noncooking requirements (house, etc.) and for the estimates of village/household tree and bamboo stands.

The results of this work in Bangladesh provide an excellent discussion of many important issues.1 Amongst these are the reconciliation of survey results with earlier work (and the use of earlier wood fuel survey results in the design phase), the complementary use of demand and supply analysis, and the difficulty of dealing with the fact that much of the fuelwood comes from small twigs and leaves rather than the stem and main branch tree portions.

1 See the references cited in the summary by Douglas in Annex II.

Another recent example in the first category of survey is that from Malawi summarized in Annex II. In this work, information on wood fuel use and supply is being obtained as part of a broader national survey of small agricultural holdings.

The second category of survey encompasses the frequently cited work of the Indian National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER, 1965, 1978). In the case of the 1978 study, which focused on northern India, the survey had as an objective the fuel specific estimation of energy demand for all sectors - domestic, agricultural, rural, industry, and transport, as well as the objective to determine the influence on demand of different environments (hill, plains and areas) and household incomes. This is a classic example of a stratified survey design in which a two-stage design was utilized (first stage village selection, then households within villages). Survey data were collected over two seasons, summer and winter, in order to capture important seasonal differences in both demand and supply aspects. As was discussed earlier, demands vary seasonally, particularly in areas in which there is space heating and the preferred and/or available fuel supply often shifts markedly, especially in areas in which multiple fuels (fuelwood, crop residues and dung) are used. Serious errors have, for example, been made by extrapolating single season samples to year-round figures.

A more recent survey by the NCAER undertaken during 1978-79 encompassed all the eighteen major Indian states as well as the union territory of Delhi (NCAER, 1981) a total household sample of 13,010 of which 12,560 were selected randomly and 450 were case studies. This study was sponsored by the Indian Oil Corporation. Although the focus of the study was on kerosene and CPG, the survey also considered all traditional fuels. The study continued to rely only on questionnaire approaches and did not include any actual measurements or observations. Measurements could provide estimates less dependent on respondent veracity and capability, and also a better basis for understanding such issues as different end uses of the fuels and the efficiency of use, not to mention supply sources. Consequently, the usefulness of such surveys to design projects to change the situation is limited, but then this was not the focus of the effort. Also, these large surveys which collect considerable household, social, and economic data as well are used as fuel use information and are rarely subject to as much extensive analysis as the data base might support. Studies such as this, designed for clients like the Indian Oil Company, can provide a data base useful for examining many other issues, but usually are not so used. It should be mentioned that in the latest study, while measurements were not part of the survey effort, complementary experiments on such devices as kerosene lamps and stoves were carried out in a small number of households (NCAER, 1981) to establish certain food and consumption norms.

Not all examples which fit in the second category are quite so extensive and are often ad hoc in their design. An example is provided by the special surveys undertaken as part of the Bangladesh Energy Study, (deLucia and Tabors, 1980). In this case, the surveys were special efforts aimed at reconciling the gap that existed between demand estimates based on earlier surveys, some of which were specifically concerned with fuel issues, and others which had been part of general household expenditure efforts. Some of the problems encountered in such survey efforts were discussed earlier. The Bangladesh demand survey effort also represents an example in which the survey was part of a larger effort specifically focused on energy sector investment planning, albeit the focus of the investment analysis was for conventional energy facilities. The Bangladesh study also included efforts in fuelwood supply estimates using air photo interpretation techniques with complimentary ground verification (Robinson, Merrit and deVries, 1975). In addition, estimates for agricultural residues supplies were based on detailed analysis of agricultural production patterns (Gaven and Tyers, 1980).

There has been a growing number of larger national or regional efforts which fall in the second category, such as that in Pakistan in the Energy Resources Cell (Government of Pakistan, 1978) and a series of surveys that have been undertaken in Kenya. In the latter, there have been three recent fuelwood/traditional and other fuel focused surveys during the past three years. The first, administered by the Central Bureau of Statistics (1980) in association with the National Council for Science and Technology, focused on consumption of wood, charcoal, kerosene, gas and electricity. The second survey, undertaken by the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Akinga, 1980), focused primarily on wood fuel consumption but considered the role of kerosene as an alternative. The results of the two surveys were quite different. The last survey Was part of the Beijer Institute Wood Fuel Project (Hosier, 1981).

These large consumption survey efforts rely primarily on questionnaire approaches (even if complemented with some actual measurement of fuels consumed). Although they often develop useful information on such factors as the way energy consumption (quantity and fuel mix) changes with various economic, ecological and other characteristics, these surveys are useful only for broad problem identification, not the design of specific interventions. There is a need for complementary efforts to detail the interrelations of the economic, social and physical systems, to understand what activities cooking, ploughing, irrigation, processing, etc., are most in need of new energy alternatives, to understand how energy needs will change over time, and to examine the resource potential of biomass, wind, solar and hydro as well as the technologies to use-these or fossil resources, and to understand the full fuel cycle of the commercial and traditional fuels. It is only with this additional information that adequate investment strategies for rural energization can be formulated. In many instances the information and experience developed in such broad surveys is utilized in the design of further survey efforts more focused on intervention in the village energy system. For example, the Pakistan Directorate General of Energy Resources, building on the earlier efforts cited above, has gone on to survey selected villages to identify their energy requirements (Qureshi and Iqbal, 1980).

But, given that in many circumstances there is not even an adequate understanding of the broad consumption patterns, there is a continuing interest in some form of national or regional surveys. The interest in this area has promoted some investigators to attempt more generalized approaches that might be applied to different areas. Examples of this include the work of the group at the Institute of Energy Analysis at Stonybrook, and attempts being made by the Peace Corps to develop energy survey approaches to be used by their volunteers in various settings. A number of investigators, including the author, think there are real limits to the possibility of such generalized approaches. While the general issues are common, it is unlikely that universally appropriate questionnaires and approaches can be constructed. Rather, existing approaches can be adapted to the case at hand.

The fourth category represents an important new approach that has recently been attempted by a few investigators, and which has contributed markedly to our understanding of the complexities of traditional fuel systems. A seminal work in this category is that of Briscoe (1979) who conducted a detailed study of the resource use in the village of Ulipur in Bangladesh., Briscoe stayed in the village for the period of the survey, the better part of a year.

The study of Ulipur is one of the most detailed village energy studies available. The study covered a full year of crop data and energy consumption data collection in order to capture the seasonal variation in the availability and use of traditional fuels. Once every two weeks, detailed data were collected from each family on food, fuel, fodder, and fertilizer. This included analysis of the consumption of fodder by the family's animals and an estimate of the production of the animal's dung for a matching 24-hour period. In addition, information was collected on the type of work done by each animal and on the planting, fertilizing, and harvesting of crops. Direct measurement estimates were made of the quantity of crop residuals produced. The use of these residuals was also recorded, and on a quarterly basis each family was visited and their fuel use in preparation of food and parboiling of rice was measured. Only in this manner was it possible to develop an accurate picture of the interdependencies and energy flows within the village of Ulipur.

The critical methodological contributions of Briscoe were his attention to detailed engineering measurement of quantities of fuels produced and consumed, and his attention to the anthropological analysis of the structure of the village. If there is a fault with Briscoe's analysis, it is in his use of and dependence on the efficiency of analyses and heating value calculations of others. Although it is difficult to analyze efficiency of cookers in the field, for instance, this is an area where matching of new data on chulas (local cookers) with the measured heating values of the traditional fuels would have added greatly to the overall reliability of the study. Despite this, Briscoe's study represents one of the most complete village energy analyses available at the present time.

The importance of such detailed analysis is being increasingly understood. Bajracharya (Bajracharya, 1980) has incorporated such techniques into a study of fuelwood and associated food and deforestation issues in eastern Nepal, and other investigators are implementing the approach elsewhere. Recent work by Weatherly and Arnold in Indonesia is an interesting hybrid of large scale surveys over different geographical areas with the techniques of participant observers in selected villages (Weatherly and Arnold, 1980).

The understanding of many of the important characteristics such as availability and access, socio-economic class or group differences, seasonal variation and other issues discussed earlier in papers in this publication can only be determined by micro village and household oriented surveys. The work of investigators like Reddy, Bialy, Briscoe, Bajracharya, Manibog, Digernes, and Brokensha and Riley1 has shown the important interrelationships between the physical characteristics of resource stocks and flows and the class/group distributional questions. They also have documented other important interrelationships such as the complexities of the multiple pressures - fodder, fuel, fibre, fertilizer - on the same resource bases in areas of tight people to resource ratios. This type of information is necessary in order to adequately design intervention programs, particularly to ensure that these will not be maldistributive. However, in general it is unclear whether the methodology of resident observation employed by them is necessary, or whether some form of repeated survey and measurement approaches will capture the details and complexities necessary to good intervention design.

1 Reddy, 1981; Bialy, 1979a; Bajracharya, 1980; Manibog, 1979; Digernes, 1977 and 1980; Brokensha and Riley, 1978.

Clearly, in some instances, there is an existing body of work that provides much of the information necessary. In other circumstances, more limited village studies provide relatively useful data provided there is sufficient complementary information to support the necessary analysis for design of interventions. Limited studies may not adequately characterize the problem, particularly in areas of extreme pressure of the resource base. Frequently a limited effort may suggest a one dimensional picture of the problem suggesting, for example, that the problem is solely fuelwood related when it may be a more complex problem of other pressures (food, fodder, etc.). The earlier paper by the author in this publication stated that much demographic, economic, agricultural, forestry and other information is necessary, for example to allow the construction of such analytical exercises as representative household fuel, feed and fodder balances. It also suggested various system perspectives that should be understood.

The fifth category of survey efforts focuses on defining demand patterns, examines the resource base and considers investment alternatives. Such work is sometimes part of project design or evaluation, and may include considerable effort in the examination of technological alternatives which would improve the energy system. There are a number of examples that fall in this broad category. The work in Malawi reported on by French in Annex II forms part of a major wood energy project, which includes, in addition to household surveys, special studies. The International Development Research Center has sponsored various efforts that have integrated demand and supply issues and have also included analysis of technological alternatives - some with particular emphasis on renewable resource technologies. For example, Islam has undertaken surveys of both demand and resource availability for the purpose of the assessment alternative energy technologies in an area in Bangladesh (Islam, 1980). Siwatibau and a group at the University of the South Pacific's Centre for Applied Studies in Development -undertook a survey in Fiji that included present energy demands (and requirements to improve living standards), alternative energy sources available, economic and social assessment of technologies (particularly biogas), and examination of energy conservation alternatives (Siwatibau, 1978).

Included in this category of surveys is an ambitious effort currently underway in Thailand as part of the Renewable Energy Technology Project being conducted for the National Energy Administration (Meta Systems Inc. and Thai Group Co., Ltd., 1981). These investigators have combined a wide range of social and natural science techniques to collect baseline data for assessing the need for various renewable energy technologies, and for designing appropriate equipment. The basic survey instrument is a structured interview schedule for collecting a wide range of social, agricultural and energy information. It is supplemented with open-ended interviews with formal and informal village leaders, and participant observation during the enumerator's month-long stay in the village. In addition, the enumerators, working with technical assistants and survey supervisors, are conducting tests on: the efficiency of different stove designs in boiling water and cooking food, the efficiency of energy conversion in local charcoal-making activites, the production of biomass post harvest field residues and manure from village livestock. Equipped with scale, tape measures and volume measures, the enumerators are responsible for measuring the demand and supply of different fuels. Samples of different fuels and other forms of biomass are collected for laboratory measurement of moisture content and energy content. Land use maps are prepared to supplement the data collected on biomass productivity per unit area.

In addition to the above activities, the survey is also collecting data on rural industries, their energy use, production processes and technologies. This survey, in its attempt to examine all the issues in the village energy system, should provide valuable insights on how to conduct similar efforts in the future and on the constraints imposed on such efforts by the abilities and knowledge of the enumerators.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page