, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 435-441
Date: 01 May 2008

Biogas Plants Ease Ecological Stress in India’s Remote Villages

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Introduction

Increasing human population growth and persistent poverty in developing countries continue to influence ecological degradation, especially of forests around the world. About 4.2% of the forest cover that stood in 1990 had disappeared by the end of the decade (FAO 2001). The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), determined that of the 24 ecosystem services examined, including freshwater, food, climate, and air quality, 15 (62.5%) are presently being degraded or used unsustainably. Similarly, an appraisal from the World Conservation Union (2004) on the status of global forest plant diversity showed that 45% of the plant species assessed, have been classified as endangered or critically endangered with the possibility of extinction.

In developing countries, wood is traditionally the main source of fuel for rural people who live adjacent to forest areas. About 2.5 billion people, mostly in Asia, use firewood or other biomass collected from forest for energy (Starke 2004). In I ...