Under fire: Five myths about wood fuel in sub-Saharan Africa –CIFOR

Despite the environmental cost of using firewood and charcoal for meal preparation and to meet other energy needs, more than 60 percent of families in sub-Saharan Africa have no alternative to wood, making it a significant contributor to forest degradation throughout the region.

 

The solution is not simply to ban the use of wood fuel without offering alternatives, say scientists with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

 

They argue that policies adopting this approach can simply result in cross-border trade, transferring environmental risks to other countries. CIFOR and partners are working  on forging a regional approach to sustainable wood fuel and trade management.

 

A range of misconceptions swirl around wood fuel production, trade and consumption. Some common myths follow:

  • Wood fuel cannot be produced sustainably: Options, including assisted natural regeneration and agroforestry systems, use of invasive species or sawmill waste, improved carbonization practices and more efficient end-use technologies, can mitigate negative environmental consequences.

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