Coping with Fuel Wood Scarcity: Household Responses in Rural Ethiopia
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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