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Coping with Fuel Wood Scarcity: Household Responses in Rural Ethiopia

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  • Abebe Damte

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)

  • Steven F. Koch

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Pretoria)

  • Alemu Mekonnen

    (School of Economics, Addis Ababa University)

Abstract

This study examines the coping mechanisms applied by rural households in the face of fuel wood scarcity by using survey data from randomly selected rural households in Ethiopia. The determinants of collection of other biomass energy sources were also examined. The results of the empirical analysis show that rural households residing in forest-degraded areas respond to fuel wood shortages by increasing their labour input to fuel wood collection. However, for households in high forest cover regions, forest stock and forest access may be more important factors than scarcity of fuel wood in determining household’s labour input to fuel wood collection. The study also finds that there is limited evidence of substitution between fuel wood and dung or fuel wood and crop residues. Therefore, supply-side strategies alone may not be effective in addressing the problem of forest degradation and biodiversity loss. Any policy on natural resource management, especially related to rural energy, should make a distinction between regions with different levels of forest degradation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Pretoria, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 201125.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pre:wpaper:201125

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Keywords: Fuel wood; labor allocation; biomass; rural Ethiopia;

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  1. Dasgupta, Susmita & Deichmann, Uwe & Meisner, Craig & Wheeler, David, 2005. "Where is the Poverty-Environment Nexus? Evidence from Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 617-638, April.
  2. Chen, Le & Heerink, Nico & van den Berg, Marrit, 2006. "Energy consumption in rural China: A household model for three villages in Jiangxi Province," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 407-420, June.
  3. Leach, Gerald, 1992. "The energy transition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 116-123, February.
  4. Palmer, Charles & MacGregor, James, 2008. "Fuelwood Scarcity, Energy Substitution and Rural Livelihoods in Namibia," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Zurich 2008 32, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  5. Gregory Amacher & William Hyde & Keshav Kanel, 1999. "Nepali fuelwood production and consumption: Regional and household distinctions, substitution and successful intervention," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 138-163.
  6. Cooke, Priscilla A, 1998. "Intrahousehold Labor Allocation Responses to Environmental Good Scarcity: A Case Study from the Hills of Nepal," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(4), pages 807-30, July.
  7. Cooke, Priscilla A., 1998. "The effect of environmental good scarcity on own-farm labor allocation: the case of agricultural households in rural Nepal," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(04), pages 443-469, October.
  8. Dewees, Peter A., 1989. "The woodfuel crisis reconsidered: Observations on the dynamics of abundance and scarcity," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 17(8), pages 1159-1172, August.
  9. Masera, Omar R. & Saatkamp, Barbara D. & Kammen, Daniel M., 2000. "From Linear Fuel Switching to Multiple Cooking Strategies: A Critique and Alternative to the Energy Ladder Model," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2083-2103, December.
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