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Coping with Fuelwood Scarcity: Household Responses in Rural Ethiopia

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  • Damte, Abebe
  • Koch, Steven F.
  • Mekonnen, Alemu

Abstract

This study uses survey data from randomly selected rural households in Ethiopia to examine the coping mechanisms employed by rural households to deal with fuelwood scarcity. The determinants of collecting other biomass energy sources were also examined. The results of the empirical analysis show that rural households in forest-degraded areas respond to fuelwood shortages by increasing their labor input for fuelwood collection. However, for households in high forest cover regions, forest stock and forest access may be more important factors than scarcity of fuelwood in determining household’s labor input to collect it. The study also finds that there is limited evidence of substitution between fuelwood and dung, or fuelwood and crop residue. 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 distinguish regions with different levels of forest degradation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-12-01-efd.

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Date of creation: 27 Jan 2012
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-12-01-efd

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Keywords: fuelwood; 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. Leach, Gerald, 1992. "The energy transition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 116-123, February.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
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