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Population growth, wood fuels, and resource problems in sub-Saharan Africa (English)

Rapid population growth has resulted in deforestation and wood fuel shortages in many regions of sub-Saharan Africa. In many urban areas rapid growth of urban demand for wood fuels has caused the growth of deforested rings around cities up to 100 kilometer radius. In some rural areas shortages have caused women and children to walk further for collecting wood fuels, or they have substituted lower quality fuels such as dung and agricultural waste. Population density by itself does not cause household energy shortages. The most serious deforestation and fuelwood problems in sub-Saharan Africa are in the sparsely populated Sahel. Here, rapid population growth is the main problem, since it leads to the simultaneous increase in demand for food and fuels. The increased demand for food is often met by expanding agriculture to new land or possibly by increasing yields by changing traditional agricultural methods. The need for more fuelwood is met through harvesting wood from common land. Expansion of agriculture to new land and harvesting wood from common land are the main causes of deforestation.




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Barnes, Douglas F.

Population growth, wood fuels, and resource problems in sub-Saharan Africa (English). Industry and Energy Department working paper. Energy series paper ; no. 26 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.