Discussion Paper

Coping with Fuelwood Scarcity: Household Responses in Rural Ethiopia

Jan 27, 2012 | Abebe Damte, Steven F. Koch, Alemu Mekonnen

This was created in partnership with Environment for Development .


This study uses survey data from randomly selected rural households in Ethiopia to examine the coping mechanisms employed by rural households to deal with fuelwood scarcity. The determinants ofcollecting other biomass energy sources were also examined. The results of the empirical analysis show that rural households in forest-degraded areas respond to fuelwood shortages by increasing their labor input for fuelwood collection. However, for households in high forest cover regions, forest stock and forest access may be more important factors than scarcity of fuelwood in determining household‘s labor input to collect it. The study also finds that there is limited evidence of substitution between fuelwood anddung, or fuelwood and crop residue. 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 distinguish regions with different levels of forest degradation.