The Woodfuel Crisis Reconsidered: Observations on the Dynamics of Abundance and Scarcity

14 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2008

See all articles by Peter A. Dewees

Peter A. Dewees

Agriculture and Rural Development Department, World Bank

Date Written: 1989

Abstract

Many analyses of the "woodfuel crisis" in developing economies take little account of the significant difference between physical and economic woodfuel scarcities. Even when woodfuels have become physically scarce, households have a great deal of latitude in changing their consumption patterns in response. This paper questions whether the usually understood impacts of the woodfuel crisis are clearly the outcome of physical scarcities, or instead are an outcome of much more fundamental features of the socioeconomy involving labor use, land tenure and usufruct, the transition from subsistence to market economies, and cultural practices. It suggests that the singular focus on woodfuel production in many forestry project interventions has obscured more fundamental issues related to household resource allocation and factor endowments.

Keywords: fuelwood, household energy, forestry

JEL Classification: Q23, Q41, Q4

Suggested Citation

Dewees, Peter A., The Woodfuel Crisis Reconsidered: Observations on the Dynamics of Abundance and Scarcity (1989). World Development, Vol. 17, No. 8, 1989, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1296248

Peter A. Dewees (Contact Author)

Agriculture and Rural Development Department, World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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