Household dynamics and fuelwood consumption in developing countries: a cross-national analysis
Previous research has suggested a link between household dynamics (i.e., average household size and number of households) and environmental impacts at the national level. Building on this work, we empirically test the relationship between household dynamics and fuelwood consumption, which has been implicated in anthropogenic threats to biodiversity. We focus our analysis on developing countries (where fuelwood is an important energy source). Our results show that nations with smaller average households consume more fuelwood per capita. This finding indicates that the household economies of scale are, indeed, associated with the consumption of fuelwood. In addition, we found that number of households is a better predictor of total fuelwood consumption than average household size suggesting a greater relative contribution to consumption levels. Thus, insofar as declining average household sizes result in increased number of households and higher per capita consumption, this trend may be a signal of serious threats to biodiversity and resource conservation. We also found further support for the “energy ladder” hypothesis that economic development reduces demand for traditional fuels.
KeywordsHouseholds Fuelwood Ecological footprint STIRPAT
- Commoner, B. (1971). The closing circle. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
- Ewing, B., Reed, A., Rizk, S. M., Galli, A., Wackernagel, M., & Kitzes, J. (2008). Calculation methodology for the national footprint accounts (2008th ed.). Oakland: Global Footprint Network.Google Scholar
- Fleuret, P. C., & Fleuret, A. K. (1978). Fuelwood use in a peasant community: A tanzanian case study. The Journal of Developing Areas, 12(3), 315–322.Google Scholar
- Food and Agriculture Organization. (2000). Global Forest Resources Assessment. Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.Google Scholar
- Hamilton, L. (2003). Statistics with stata. Belmont, CA: Duxbury.Google Scholar
- Kitzes, J., Peller, A., Goldfinger, S., & Wackernagel, M. (2007). Current methods for calucating national ecological footprint accounts. Science for Environment and Sustainable Society, 4(1), 1–9.Google Scholar
- Macht, C., Axinn, W. G., & Ghimire, D. (2007). Household energy consumption: Community context and the fuelwood transition. Research report no. 07–629. The University of Michigan: Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research.Google Scholar
- Moll, H. C., Noorman, K. J., Kolk, R., Engstrom, R., Throne-Holst, H., & Clark, C. (2005). Pursuing more sustainable consumption by analyzing household metabolism in European countries and cities Journal of Industrial Ecology, 9(1–2), 259–275.Google Scholar
- O’Neill, B. C., & Chen, B. S. (2002). Demographic determinants of household energy use in the United States. Population and Development Review, 28, 53–88.Google Scholar
- Ouerghi, A. (1993). Woodfuel use in Pakistan: Sustainability of supply and socio-economic and environmental implications. In Wood energy development: Planning, policies, and strategies (pp. 61–84). Bangkok, Thailand: FAO Regional Wood Energy Development Programme in Asia.Google Scholar
- Population Action International. (1999). One in three people lives in forest-scarce countries. Washington, DC: Population Action International.Google Scholar
- Rosa, E. A., York, R., & Dietz, T. (2004). Tracking the anthropogenic drivers of ecological impacts. Ambio, 33(8), 509–512.Google Scholar
- United Nations (UN). (2009). World population prospects: The 2008 revision. NY: United Nations.Google Scholar
- United Nations Center for Human Settlements. (2001). Cities in a globalizing world: Global report on human settlements. London, UK: Earthscan.Google Scholar
- Veregin, H. (Ed.). (2005). Goode’s world atlas. McNally: Rand.Google Scholar
- Wackernagel, M., Monfreda, C., Moran, D., Wermer, P., Goldfinger, S., Deumling, D., et al. (2005). National footprint and biocapacity accounts 2005: The underlying calculation method. Oakland, CA: Global Footprint Network.Google Scholar
- Whiteman, A., Broadhead, J., & Bahdon, J. (2002). The revision of woodfuel estimates in FAOSTAT. Unasylva, 53, 41–45.Google Scholar
- World Bank. (2009). Historical income classifications. Washington, D.C: World Bank (http://www.worldbank.org). Retrieved 3 Dec 2009.
- World Energy Council. (2004). 2004 survey of energy resources. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- WRI (World Resources Institute). (n.d.). Earthtrends: Environmental Information. Data Table 94. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute (http://earthtrends.wri.org/text/forests-grasslands-drylands/data-table-4.txt). Accessed 6 Jan 2011.