The International Society of Tropical Foresters (ISTF) and the International Forestry Working Group of the Society of American Foresters (IFWG-SAF) are offering the first session of an online symposium “Fuelwood in the tropics: From cooking stoves to deforestation” on Friday 11 August 2023 at 10 EDT – 12 EDT (New York City Local Time | UTC – 4). A second session will be held later in 2023. Register at: https://forms.gle/ShzgkTJQjWwqbRJq9
a. Introduction to the symposium series. Sheila Ward, ISTF (2 min)
b. Intro to speakers and topic. Puneet Dwivedi, Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, USA & IFWG-SAF (5 min)
c. Assessing health and climate impacts of woodfuels and other household energy options. Rob Bailis, Stockholm Environment Institute US (SEI-US), United State (15 min)
d. Balancing livelihood provision and forest preservation: Charcoal Production in the Miombo areas of Zambia. Moses Kazungu, Social Sciences in Landscape Research Group, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland (15 min)
e. New estimates of non-renewable biomass in Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 2010-2050. Adrian Ghilardi, Environmental Geography Research Center at UNAM, Mexico (15 min)
f. Unpacking the Complex Socio-Ecological Relationships Between Household Energy and Forests. Hisham Zerriffi, Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada (15 min)
g. Summary comments. Puneet Dwivedi (IFWG-SAF) (5 min)
h. Open Discussion. Moderators Dwivedi / Ward (45 min)
The symposium videos will also be posted on the ISTF YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC64ds-AZiXfNPtJ-gX4Jw1w
Rob Bailis, Senior scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute US (SEI-US), United States
Rob is a senior scientist at Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI-US). His research focuses on the relationships between energy, social welfare, and environmental change in developing countries. Rob’s current research focuses mainly on biomass energy, ranging from traditional energy carriers like wood and charcoal to advanced liquid biofuels. Rob is also interested in social impact assessment and life-cycle approaches to help understand the implications of increased reliance on non-traditional forms of bioenergy. Rob has a B.S. in physics from Pennsylvania State University, an M.S. from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley.
Assessing health and climate impacts of woodfuels and other household energy options
Over two billion people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) rely on biomass fuels like wood and charcoal to meet their basic needs. Small-scale biomass burning results in pollution that damages health and drives climate change. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and grid-based electricity are scalable alternatives to biomass but have also raised climate and health concerns. In this presentation, we review the sources of emissions from common household fuels and discuss some recent assessments of health and climate impacts of business-as-usual (BAU) and alternative household energy pathways. We find full transitions to LPG and/or electricity decrease emissions and result in slight global temperature reductions. Shifting from biomass to alternative fuels would also reduce health risks. We close by discussing policy implications and examine some incentives that could accelerate a clean cooking transition.
Adrian Ghilardi, Associate Professor at the Environmental Geography Research Center at UNAM, Mexico
Adrian Ghilardi is an Associate Professor at the National University of Mexico (UNAM). He is interested in the environmental impacts of fuelwood extraction and charcoal production under traditional patterns. He designed and maintains the MoFuSS tool: www.mofuss.unam.mx. Currently, Adrian’s main research interest is to find ways to validate non-renewable biomass estimates produced at the landscape level by MoFuSS, in several woodfuel hot spots across Central America, sub-Saharan Africa, and India. Prior to joining the UNAM Faculty, Adrian was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University. He holds a Ph.D. from UNAM in Natural Resource Management.
New estimates of non-renewable biomass in Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 2010-2050
Clean cooking projects around the world rely heavily on carbon savings credits that are estimated under the assumption that a reduced consumption of woodfuels will result in fewer net CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. Even though this logic is correct, quantifying how much net CO2 is emitted by traditional cooking is difficult, in part due to the wide variation in space and time in how the vegetation responds to woody biomass harvest. To help clean cooking projects estimate the sustainability of woodfuel harvest (namely the fraction of non-renewable biomass or fNRB) in both a Business-as-Usual and intervention scenarios, we developed MoFuSS: a methodology that integrates many of the complexities associated with woody biomass harvest patterns and natural regrowth. We will present new estimates of non-renewable biomass in Sub-Saharan African countries for the period 2010–2050, with emphasis on the policy implications of these results.
Moses Kazungu, Environmental Social Economist, Social Sciences in Landscape Research Group, Research Unit Economics and Social Sciences, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, Switzerland
Moses Kazungu, PhD, is an Environmental Social Economist specializing in forest economics. He obtained his doctoral degree from the Technical University of Munich, where his research focused on rural household forest use, behaviours, and their connection to deforestation and forest degradation in the Miombo areas of Zambia. Dr. Kazungu is a postdoctoral researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forests, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) in Birmensdorf, Switzerland. His current research interests revolve around understanding public preferences for forest ecosystems and assessing the impacts of forest restoration approaches on perceived forest ecosystem benefits in Europe.
Balancing livelihood provision and forest preservation: Charcoal Production in the Miombo areas of Zambia. (With Eliza Zhunusova, Anastasia Lucy Yang, Gillian Kabwe, Davison J. Gumbo, Sven Günter)
Forests are vital for rural communities in tropical areas, including Zambia, where they cover over 60% of the land, providing income opportunities and ecosystem services. In Zambia’s Miombo areas, forests are the primary source of fuelwood. However, limited research on forest use strategies hampers effective rural livelihood improvement and forest preservation policies.
Our study focused on four landscapes in Zambia’s Copperbelt province, including restricted and non-forest areas. We surveyed 412 households between 2017–2018 and used multinomial logistic regression to determine the factors affecting forest use choices. Charcoal production varied: 4.03 m3/year/AEU (447.29 kg/year) in restricted landscapes and 2.43 m3/year/AEU (269.51 kg/year) in non-restricted areas. Forest strategies included specialised charcoal sellers, forest food and charcoal sellers, and pure subsistence users. Age, household size, off-farm income, distances, and restrictions influenced charcoal households. Findings emphasize the importance of understanding household forest use strategies to inform targeted policy designs for rural livelihoods.
Hisham Zerriffi, Associate Professor in Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada
Hisham Zerriffi is an Associate Professor in Forest Resources Management at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Hisham’s research is at the intersection of technology, energy and the environment, with a particular focus on rural areas of the developing world. Much of his research focuses on institutional factors impacting the diffusion of new technology, determinants and patterns of household energy choice and welfare implications of rural energy use. Prior to joining the UBC Faculty, Hisham was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. He holds a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in Engineering and Public Policy.
Unpacking the Complex Socio-Ecological Relationships Between Household Energy and Forests
Studies of the environmental consequences of household fuelwood use has largely focused on the net carbon impacts of wood harvesting. This forms the basis of many carbon crediting programs that fund clean cookstove interventions. However, in addition to these global implications of woodfuel use, there are also local socio-ecological dynamics related to household fuelwood usage. This presentation will review a selection of studies addressing this relationship. This includes studies on the spatial aspects of village-level fuelwood collection, changes in farm vs. forest fuelwood collection in response to cookstove interventions and revealed vs. stated preferences for specific wood species for household energy. Together these studies show a complex set of relationships between household energy choices and local biomass resources. A better understanding of this relationship is needed to understand drivers and constraints of household energy choices for moving to cleaner cooking fuels and the potential environmental consequences of household energy transitions.