The forbidden fuel: Charcoal, urban woodfuel demand and supply dynamics, community forest management and woodfuel policy in Malawi
This article examines woodfuel policy challenges and opportunities in Malawi two decades after woodfuel-crisis narratives and counter-narratives. A nuanced examination of woodfuel supply, demand, use, and markets illuminated options to turn stagnant policies based on charcoal 'bans' and fuel-substitution into proactive, realistic ones acknowledging woodfuel dominance and its socio-economic importance. Findings revealed growing, spatially differentiated woodfuel deficits in southern and central Malawi and around Blantyre, Zomba and Lilongwe cities. Poverty, limited electricity access, reliability and generation exacerbated by tariff subsidies, and complex fuel-allocation decisions restricted energy-ladder transitions from woodfuels to electricity, producing an enduring urban-energy mix dominated by charcoal, thereby increasing wood consumption. Diverse socio-political interests prevented lifting of the charcoal 'ban' despite progressive forest laws. Despite implementation challenges, lessons already learnt, efficiency and poverty-reduction arguments, limited government capacity, growing illegal production of charcoal in forest reserves, and its staying power, make targeted community-based forest management (CBFM) approaches more practical for regulated, commercial production of woodfuels than the status quo. New differentiated policies should include commercial woodfuel production and licensing for revenue and ecological sustainability under CBFM or concessions within and outside selected reserves, an enterprise-based approaches for poverty reduction, smallholder/private tree-growing, woodfuel-energy conserving technologies, improved electricity supply and agricultural productivity.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Arnold, J.E. Michael & Kohlin, Gunnar & Persson, Reidar, 2006. "Woodfuels, livelihoods, and policy interventions: Changing Perspectives," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 596-611, March.
- Ribot, Jesse C. & Agrawal, Arun & Larson, Anne M., 2006. "Recentralizing While Decentralizing: How National Governments Reappropriate Forest Resources," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 1864-1886, November.
- Lund, Jens Friis & Treue, Thorsten, 2008. "Are We Getting There? Evidence of Decentralized Forest Management from the Tanzanian Miombo Woodlands," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 2780-2800, December.
- Hiemstra-van der Horst, Greg & Hovorka, Alice J., 2008. "Reassessing the "energy ladder": Household energy use in Maun, Botswana," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 3333-3344, September.
- 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.
- Dewees, Peter A., 1995. "Trees on farms in Malawi: Private investment, public policy, and farmer choice," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(7), pages 1085-1102, July.
- Campbell, Bruce & Mandondo, Alois & Nemarundwe, Nontokozo & Sithole, Bevlyne & De JonG, Wil & Luckert, Marty & Matose, Frank, 2001. "Challenges to Proponents of Common Property Recource Systems: Despairing Voices from the Social Forests of Zimbabwe," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 589-600, April.
- French, David, 1986. "Confronting an unsolvable problem: Deforestation in Malawi," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 531-540, April.
- 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.
- Blaikie, Piers, 2006. "Is Small Really Beautiful? Community-based Natural Resource Management in Malawi and Botswana," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(11), pages 1942-1957, November.
- Mwampamba, Tuyeni Heita, 2007. "Has the woodfuel crisis returned? Urban charcoal consumption in Tanzania and its implications to present and future forest availability," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 4221-4234, August.
- Bandyopadhyay, Sushenjit & Shyamsundar, Priya & Baccini, Alessandro, 2011. "Forests, biomass use and poverty in Malawi," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(12), pages 2461-2471.
- Hosier, Richard H. & Dowd, Jeffrey, 1987. "Household fuel choice in Zimbabwe : An empirical test of the energy ladder hypothesis," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 347-361, December.
- Campbell, B. M. & Vermeulen, S. J. & Mangono, J. J. & Mabugu, R., 2003. "The energy transition in action: urban domestic fuel choices in a changing Zimbabwe," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 553-562, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:7:p:3717-3730. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.