Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 657-676

Environmental and health impacts from the introduction of improved wood stoves: evidence from a field experiment in Guatemala

  • Daniel LudwinskiAffiliated withMarketBridge Inc.
  • , Kent MoriartyAffiliated withRainin Instruments
  • , Bruce WydickAffiliated withUniversity of San Francisco Email author 

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Improved wood-burning stoves offer a possible solution that can simultaneously impact both problems of deforestation and problems of respiratory health in developing countries. We carried out a field experiment in which new fuel-efficient woodstoves were allocated in a Guatemalan village via the use of a lottery. A 2008 baseline survey was carried out on 2,148 individuals in 351 households, and then a follow-up survey was carried out in 2009, 4 months after households received the stoves. We found that households with the new stoves reduced wood consumption by an average of 59.1%. We also found indications of reductions in indoor air related health problems, where point estimates indicate a significant reduction in reported respiratory symptoms by 48.6% among women and 63.3% among children.


Biomass fuel Indoor air pollution Deforestation Wood stoves Field experiments