Does community and household tree planting imply increased use of wood for fuel? Evidence from Ethiopia
As a result of many years of deforestation, fuelwood scarcity is a critical problem in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government encouraged afforestation and tree growing at both the community and household levels as a policy to stem deforestation and degradation of agricultural lands. The rationale underlying the tree growing strategy is that some significant part of whatever is planted will be used as fuelwood, thereby reducing the demand for wood from native forestlands and use of crop residues and animal dung needed for soil improvement. It is incumbent, however, to ask: Does household or community tree planting indeed translate into greater use of wood for fuel? To address this question, fuelwood consumption in Ethiopia is examined using datasets from sample cross-sections of 500 households and 100 communities in the highlands of Tigrai, northern Ethiopia. The results of such an analysis provide important insights into the potential effectiveness of the tree growing or afforestation strategy as a partial remedy to the country's fuel problems. Findings suggest, however, that there may not be a link between tree planting and the use of such fiber for fuelwood.
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