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India's Firewood Crisis Re-examined

Author

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  • van 't Veld, Klaas
  • Narain, Urvashi

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Gupta, Shreekant
  • Chopra, Neetu
  • Singh, Supriya

Abstract

Households in rural India are highly dependent on firewood as their main source of energy, partly because non-biofuels tend to be expensive. The prevailing view is therefore that, when faced with shortages of firewood in the village commons, such households, and especially the women in them, have to spend more and more time searching for firewood and eventually settle for poorer-quality biomass such as twigs, branches and dry leaves. Using data from a random sample of rural households in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, we come to very different conclusions, however. We find that households in villages with degraded forests do not spend longer hours searching for firewood, but instead switch to either using firewood from private trees or to using agricultural waste for fuel. In the long run, moreover, households respond to the firewood shortage by altering the mix of private trees on their land in favor of firewood, as opposed to fruit, trees. We find also that, Joint Forest Management, a government program initiated in the 1990s, is having a positive impact on the firewood economy.

Suggested Citation

  • van 't Veld, Klaas & Narain, Urvashi & Gupta, Shreekant & Chopra, Neetu & Singh, Supriya, 2006. "India's Firewood Crisis Re-examined," Discussion Papers dp-06-25, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-06-25
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gunnar Köhlin & Peter J. Parks, 2001. "Spatial Variability and Disincentives to Harvest: Deforestation and Fuelwood Collection in South Asia," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(2), pages 206-218.
    2. 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 807-830, July.
    3. Urvashi Narain & Shreekant Gupta & Klaas van ’t Veld, 2008. "Poverty and the Environment: Exploring the Relationship Between Household Incomes, Private Assets, and Natural Assets," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 84(1), pages 148-167.
    4. Rasmus Heltberg & Thomas Channing Arndt & Nagothu Udaya Sekhar, 2000. "Fuelwood Consumption and Forest Degradation: A Household Model for Domestic Energy Substitution in Rural India," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(2), pages 213-232.
    5. Kumar, Shubh K. & Hotchkiss, David, 1988. "Consequences of deforestation for women's time allocation, agricultural production, and nutrition in hill areas of Nepal:," Research reports 69, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Amacher, Gregory S. & Hyde, William F. & Kanel, Keshav R., 1996. "Household fuelwood demand and supply in Nepal's tarai and mid-hills: Choice between cash outlays and labor opportunity," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(11), pages 1725-1736, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Niklas Vahlne & Erik O. Ahlgren, 2014. "Energy Efficiency at the Base of the Pyramid: A System-Based Market Model for Improved Cooking Stove Adoption," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(12), pages 1-21, November.
    2. Abebe Damte & Steven F. Koch & Alemu Mekonnen, 2011. "Coping with Fuel Wood Scarcity: Household Responses in Rural Ethiopia," Working Papers 201125, University of Pretoria, Department of Economics.
    3. Gebreegziabher, Zenebe & van Kooten, G. Cornelis, 2013. "Does community and household tree planting imply increased use of wood for fuel? Evidence from Ethiopia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 30-40.
    4. Cheng, Chao-yo & Urpelainen, Johannes, 2014. "Fuel stacking in India: Changes in the cooking and lighting mix, 1987–2010," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 306-317.
    5. Jagger, Pamela & Jumbe, Charles, 2016. "Stoves or sugar? Willingness to adopt improved cookstoves in Malawi," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 409-419.
    6. Naidu, Sirisha C., 2011. "Rural Livelihoods, Forest Access and Time Use: A Study of Forest Communities in Northwest India," MPRA Paper 31060, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    firewood crisis; time allocation; fuel switching; JFM; India;

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources

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