Impact of fuelwood quality and quantity on rural households’ energy use in Omusati region in North-West of Namibia

Hainduwa, Feliciana Ndapewa (2013-03)

Thesis (MScFor)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Wood scarcity remains the main challenge for many rural households who still rely on natural resources for energy needs. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between fuel use and quality and quantity of fuel in two rural villages (Ongulumbashe and Onaitembu) in the Omusati Region of Namibia. It investigated the impact of fuel quality and quantity and the corresponding sales of firewood on households’ energy consumption. Data was collected between April and June 2012 from the two villages by means of questionnaire surveys, biomass assessment and laboratory assessment. Interviews were conducted with seventy-seven households, four firewood sellers, government officials, and local leaders. The study quantified the amount of fuelwood consumed and collected per household per week using user-recall and physical measurement, respectively. The most preferred fuel species or fuel materials were identified and their physical properties, calorific value, moisture content, ash content and density were measured under laboratory conditions. Differences between the two villages in terms of fuelwood collected and consumed were found. Due to wood scarcity households from Onaitembu village used other alternatives (buying fuelwood and cutting live firewood) rather than collecting dead firewood. The study found a link between fuelwood use, quality and quantity, with households changing their consumption and harvesting based on season, fuelwood demand and availability of fuelwood. The average weekly fuelwood consumption per household ranged from 66 kg to 79 kg for a firewood abundant area and from 59 kg to 67 kg for an area with a shortage of firewood. Mopane was the most preferred species due to its ability to burn efficiently and its abundance. Wood scarcity affected households economically, culturally and nutritionally. The study found that households in degraded areas spend an average of N$ 50 per week on fuelwood, and many households depended on government grants and small cash income activities. The study found that the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, is trying to improve rural households’ energy use by constructing firewood outlets. The study concluded that there is a high level of illegal trade in firewood that will require government to increase the number of staff in the region as well as to strengthen its policy on cross-border trading. There is an imbalance in fuel species use in areas of rich biomass and over-utilization of resources in degraded areas. These require the Directorate of Forestry to educate the community about the value of other possible fuel species and the impact of harvesting live firewood on households’ livelihood and on the environment.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Houtskaarsheid bly die grootste uitdaging vir baie landelike huishoudings, wat nog steeds staatmaak op natuurlike hulpbronne vir energie behoeftes. Hierdie studie het gepoog om die verhouding tussen brandstof gebruik en kwaliteit en kwantiteit van brandstof in twee plattelandse dorpies (Ongulumbashe en Onaitembu) in die Omusati-streek van Namibië te ondersoek. Die impak van brandstof kwaliteit en kwantiteit en verkope van brandhout op huishoudings se energie gebruik is ondersoek. Data is ingesamel in April en Junie 2012 in die twee dorpe deur middel van vraelys opnames, biomassa assessering en laboratorium ontledings. Onderhoude is gevoer met 77 huishoudings, vier brandhoutverkopers, regeringsamptenare, en plaaslike leiers. Die studie het die hoeveelheid vuurmaakhout verbruik en versamel per huishouding per week gekwantifiseer deur gebruik te maak van gebruikergeheue en fisiese meting van vuurmaakhout. Die mees gewilde brandstof spesies of brandstof materiaal is geïdentifiseer en hul fisiese eienskappe, kaloriewaarde, voginhoud, asinhoud en digtheid is onder laboratorium toestand gemeet. Verskille tussen die twee dorpe in terme van brandhout versamel en verbruik is gevind. As gevolg van houtskaarsheid gebruik huishoudings in ONA ander alternatiewe energiebronne, soos om brandhout te koop of om vars hout te saag, in plaas van om dooie hout te versamel. Die studie het ‘n skakel gevind tussen brandhout gebruik en die gehalte en hoeveelheid wat beskikbaar is. Huishoudings het hulle brandhout verbruik aangepas by die seisoen, aanvraag en beskikbaarheid van brandhout. Die gemiddelde weeklikse brandhout verbruik per huishouding het gewissel tussen 66 kg tot 79 kg vir 'n area met ‘n oorvloed van brandhout en 59 kg tot 67 kg vir 'n gebied met 'n tekort aan brandhout. Mopanie was die mees gewilde spesie as gevolg van sy besikibaarheid en vermoë om doeltreffendheid te brand. Houtskaarstes beinvloed huishoudings op ekonomies, kulturele en voedings vlakk. De studie het bevind dat huishoudings in ’n area met ‘n houtskaarste gemiddeld N$50 per week spandeer om brandhout te koop en dat baie huishoudings afhanklik is van staatstoelaes en klein kontant inkomste-aktiwiteite. Die studie het gevind dat die regering, deur middel van die Ministerie van Landbou, Water en Bosbou, probeer om landelike huishoudings se energie gebruik te verbeter deur die bou van brandhout afsetpunte. Die studie het tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat daar 'n hoë vlak van onwettige handel in brandhout is wat sal vereis dat die regering die aantal amptenare in die streek moet vermeerder en sy beleid rakende handel oor landsgrense heen moet verbeter. Daar is 'n wanbalans in die gebruik van brandstofspesies in 'n gebied met baie biomassa, en oorbenutting van hulpbronne in gedegradeerde gebiede. Die Direktoraat van Bosbou moet die gemeenskape oplei oor die waarde van ander moontlike brandstofspesies en die impak van die oes van lewendige bome op huishoudings se lewensbestaan en op die omgewing.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/79974
This item appears in the following collections: