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Fuelwood Scarcity, Energy Substitution and Rural Livelihoods in Namibia

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  • Palmer, Charles
  • MacGregor, James

Abstract

In Namibia, as in many parts of Africa, households are highly dependent on fastdegrading forest resources for their livelihoods, including energy needs. Using data originally collected for Namibia's forest resource accounts and insights from a nonseparable household model, this paper empirically estimates household fuelwood demand. In particular, the factors underlying the substitution between fuelwood collected from open access forest resources, cow dung and fuelwood purchased from the market are analysed. Heckman two-step estimates show that households respond to forest scarcity, as measured by the opportunity costs of collecting fuelwood, by increasing labour input to collection more than by reducing energy consumption. There is limited evidence for substitution from fuelwood to other energy sources, particularly with the declining availability of forest stocks. All of the estimated elasticities are low confirming observations made elsewhere, particularly in South Asia. Policy interventions including energy efficiency measures and tree planting schemes are considered in the Namibian context.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:gdec08:32
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Monica Fisher & Gerald E. Shively & Steven Buccola, 2005. "Activity Choice, Labor Allocation, and Forest Use in Malawi," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 81(4).
    2. Martin Linde-Rahr, 2003. "Property Rights and Deforestation: The Choice of Fuelwood Source in Rural Viet Nam," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(2), pages 217-234.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. repec:spr:endesu:v:19:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10668-016-9812-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. St. Clair, Priscilla Cooke, 2016. "Community forest management, gender and fuelwood collection in rural Nepal," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 52-71.
    4. Guta, Dawit Diriba, 2014. "Effect of fuelwood scarcity and socio-economic factors on household bio-based energy use and energy substitution in rural Ethiopia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 217-227.
    5. Phosiso Sola & Caroline Ochieng & Jummai Yila & Miyuki Iiyama, 2016. "Links between energy access and food security in sub Saharan Africa: an exploratory review," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(3), pages 635-642, June.
    6. Gwavuya, S.G. & Abele, S. & Barfuss, I. & Zeller, M. & Müller, J., 2012. "Household energy economics in rural Ethiopia: A cost-benefit analysis of biogas energy," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 202-209.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; forests; fuelwood; scarcity; energy; substitution; livelihoods;

    JEL classification:

    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources

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