Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 898–912 | Cite as

A transition from wood fuel to LPG and its impact on energy conservation and health in the Central Himalayas, India

  • Sunil NautiyalEmail author


The aim of the study was to evaluate the impacts of the transition from wood fuel to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from energy use and health perspectives along an altitudinal gradient (viz., lower altitude; middle altitude; and higher altitude) of the Central Himalayas. Empirical field study and questionnaire based survey was conducted for obtaining the data. A total of 20 households from each altitude were selected for obtaining reliable information on the actual quantity of fuelwood consumed. Of the 20 households, five households each based on the family size i.e., small families (<4 members), medium (5–8 members) and large (>9 members) from all the altitudinal regions were selected. This was followed by an administration of a questionnaire on the quantity of fuelwood consumed. After the completion of the questionnaire survey, the data was validated using a weighted survey for the randomly selected households for obtaining precise information on the actual quantity of fuelwood consumed. Energy analysis is done with respect to the time spent on fuelwood collection and energy value of burning of per kg of fuelwood. Study indicates that declining biomass requirement from forests contributes significantly towards energy conservation, also has positive impact on human health. Per capita annual energy expenditure on collection of fuelwood is 752 MJ which is higher than any other activity in villages of Central Himalaya. The LPG substitution has contributed to energy saving which is equivalent to 2976–3,742 MJ per capita per year in middle and lower altitudes respectively. In the higher altitude the energy saving is calculated to be about 257 MJ per capita per year. Replacing fuelwood with LPG has made positive impact on society in terms of improving the health while reducing diseases that are caused due to indoor air pollution.


Himalaya Energy Conservation Fuelwood and LPG Transition Health Indoor Air Pollution Social, Ecological and Environmental development 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anozie AN, Bakare AR, Sonibare JA, et al. (2007) Evaluation of cooking energy cost, efficiency, impact on air pollution and policy in Nigeria. Energy 32: 1283–1290. DOI: 10.1016/ Scholar
  2. Arnold JEM, Koehlin G, Persson R (2006) Woodfuels, livelihoods and policy interventions: Changing perspectives. World Development 34: 596–611. DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2005.08.008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhatt BP, Sachan MS (2004) Firewood consumption along an altitudinal gradient in mountain villages of India. Biomass and Bioenergy 27:69–75. DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2003.10.004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Broadhead JS, Bahdon J, Whiteman A (2001) Past Trends and Future Prospects for the Utilisation of Wood for Energy. Global Forest Products Outlook Study (GFPOS). Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.Google Scholar
  5. Bruce N, Perez-Padilla R, Albalak R (2000) Indoor air pollution in developing countries: a major environmental and public health challenge for the new millennium. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 78: 1078–1092.Google Scholar
  6. Chandra A (2010) Indian LPG market prospects. World LPG Forum 2010-MadridGoogle Scholar
  7. D’Sa A, Murthy KVN (2004) Report on the use of LPG as a Domestic Cooking Fuel Option in India. International Energy Initiative. Bangalore, India.Google Scholar
  8. Dhyani S, Maikhuri RK, Dhyani D (2011) Energy budget of fodder harvesting pattern along the altitudinal gradient in Garhwal Himalaya, India. Biomass and Bioenergy 35: 1823–1832. DOI: 10.1016/j.biombioe.2011.01.022CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Directorate of Economics and Statistics. Agriculture Department (2007–2008), Uttarakhand, Government of Uttarakhand, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  10. Eckholm E (1975) The Other Energy Crisis: Firewood. World Watch Paper No. 1. World Watch Institute, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  11. EgyDev (2010) Cooking with LPG: Climate and Poverty Issues. Energy for Development and Poverty Reduction. 25 February 2010. Available online: (Accessed on 30 January 2011)Google Scholar
  12. Ernst A (2010) Social simulation: A method to investigate environmental change from a social science perspective. In: Gross M, and Heinrichs HI (Eds) Environmental Sociology: European Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Challenges. pp 109–122. DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-8730-0_7Google Scholar
  13. Farrow A, Winograd M (2001) Land use modelling at the regional scale: an input to rural sustainability indicators for Central America. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 85: 249–268. DOI: 10.1016/S0167-8809(01)00192-XCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2001) Food and Nutritional Technical Report Series 1. Human energy requirements. Report of a Joint FAO/WHO/UNU Expert Consultation. 17–24 October 2001, Rome, Italy.Google Scholar
  15. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (2009). State of the World’s Forests 2009. Society, Forests and Forestry: Adapting for the Future. FAO, Rome, Italy.Google Scholar
  16. Fuelwood Report (2011) Prepared for DFID by PISCES RPC Consortium, M.S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, India.Google Scholar
  17. Gopalan CB, Ramasastri V, Balasubramanian SC (1978) Nutritive value of Indian foods. National Institute of Nutrition, Hydrabad, India.Google Scholar
  18. Gutman G, Janetos A, Justice C, et al. (2004) Land Change Science: Observing, Monitoring and Understanding Trajectories of Change on the Earth’s Surface. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  19. Hargreaves R (2003) Mitigating the Impacts of Climate Change on the Built Environment. BRANZ, SR 118(2003) Judgeford, Wellington.Google Scholar
  20. Humbad A, Kumar S, Babu BV (2009) Carbon credits for energy self sufficiency in rural India — A case study. EEST Part A: Energy Science and Research 22: 187–197.Google Scholar
  21. International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) (2010) District Level Household and Facility Survey (DLHS-3), 2007–08: India. Uttarakhand: Mumbai: IIPS.Google Scholar
  22. James WPT, Schofield EC (1990) Human Energy Requirements. A manual for Planners and Nutritionists. Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Johnson NG, Bryden KM (2012) Factors affecting fuelwood consumption in household cookstoves in an isolated rural West African village. Energy 46: 310–321. DOI: 10.1016/ Scholar
  24. Khan ML, Tripathi RS (1989) Effects of stump diameter, stump height and sprout density of the sprout growth of four tree species in burnt and unburnt forest plots. Acta Oecologica 10: 303–316.Google Scholar
  25. Khuman YSC, Pandey R, Rao KS (2011) Fuelwood consumption patterns in Fakot watershed, Garhwal Himalaya, Uttarakhand. Energy 36: 4769–4776. DOI: 10.1016/ Scholar
  26. Lange GM, Dasgupta S, Thomas T, et al. (2010) Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change-Ecosystem Services. Development and Climate Change Discussoin Papers. World Bank, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  27. Maikhuri R (1996) Eco-energetic analysis of village ecosystem of different traditional societies of Northeast India. Energy 21: 1287–1297. DOI: 10.1016/0360-5442(96)00032-1CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Maikhuri RK (1991) Woodfuel Consumption Pattern of Different Tribal Communities Living in Arunachal Pradesh in North-East India. Bioresource Technology 35: 291–296. DOI: 0960-8524/91s03.50(c)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Manson SM (2005) Agent-based modeling and genetic programming for modeling land change in the Southern Yucatan Peninsular Region of Mexico. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 111: 47–62. DOI: 10.1016/j.agee.2005.04.024CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Mehta S, Shahpar C (2004) The health benefits of interventions to reduce indoor air pollution from solid fuel use: a costeffectiveness analysis. Energy for Sustainable Development 8: 53–59. DOI: 10.1016/S0973-0826(08)60466-4, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India (MoP&NG, GoI.). Available online: (Accessed 5 December 2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mitchell R (1979) The analysis of Indian agro — ecosystems, Interprint, New Delhi, India.Google Scholar
  32. Nautiyal S (2011) Can conservation and development interventions in the Indian Central Himalaya ensure environmental sustainability? A socioecological evaluation. Sustainability Science 6: 151–167. DOI: 10.1007/s11625-011-0126-4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nautiyal S, Kaechele H (2008) Fuel switching from wood to LPG can benefit the environment. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 28: 523–532. DOI: 10.1016/j.eiar.2008.02.004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nautiyal S, Kaechele H (2007) Adverse impact of pasture abandonment in Himalayas of India: Testing efficiency of a natural resource management plan (NRMP). Environmental Impact Assessment Review 27: 109–125. DOI: 10.1016/j.eiar.2006.10.003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Osei WY (1993) Woodfuel and deforestation-Answers for a sustainable environment. Journal of Environmental Management 37: 51–62. DOI: 10.1006/jema.1993.1004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pandit MK, Sodhi NS, Koh LP, et al. (2007) Unreported yet massive deforestation driving loss of endemic biodiversity in Indian Himalaya. Biodiversity Conservation 16:153–163 DOI 0.1007/s10531-006-9038-5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Parikh J, Balakrishnan K, Laxmi V, et al. (2001) Exposure from cooking with biofuels: pollution monitoring and analysis for rural Tamil Nadu, India. Energy 26: 949–962. DOI: 10.1016/S0360-5442(01)00043-3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pischke F, Cashmore M (2006) Decision-oriented environmental assessment: An empirical study of its theory and methods. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 26: 643–662. DOI: 10.1016/j.eiar.2006.06.004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Pokharel S (2004) Energy economics of cooking in households in Nepal. Energy 29: 547–559. DOI: 10.1016/ Scholar
  40. Rao KS, Pant R (2001) Land use dynamics and landscape change pattern in a typical micro watershed in the mid elevation zone of Central Himalaya, India. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 86:113–123. DOI: 10.1016/S0167-8809(00)00274-7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ravindranath NH, Hall DO (1995) Biomass, Energy and Environment. Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York.Google Scholar
  42. San V, Spoann V, Ly D, et al. (2012) Fuelwood consumption patterns in Chumriey Mountain, Kampong Chhang Province, Cambodia. Energy 44: 335–346. DOI: 10.1016/ Scholar
  43. Saxena KG, Rao KS, Sen KK, et al. (2001) Integrated natural resource management: approaches and lessons from the Himalaya. Conservation Ecology 5: 14. Available online: (Accessed on 10 March 2010)Google Scholar
  44. Schwartz J (1994) Air pollution and daily mortality: A review and meta analysis. Environmental Research 64: 36–52. DOI: 10.1006/enrs.1994.1005CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Semwal RL, Nautiyal S, Sen KK, et al. (2004) Patterns and ecological implications of agricultural land-use changes: a case study from central Himalaya, India. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 102: 81–92. DOI: 10.1016/S0167-8809(03)00228-7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Smith K, Mehta S (2003) The burden of diseases from indoor air pollution from developing countries: Comparison of estimates. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 206: 279–289. DOI: 10.1078/1438-4639-00224CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Smith KR, Apte MG, Yuqing M, et al. (1994) Air pollution and the energy ladder in asian cities. Energy 19: 587–600. DOI: 10.1016/0360-5442(94)90054-XCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Smith KR, Samet JM, Romieu I, et al. (2000) Indoor air pollution in developing countries and acute lower respiratory infections in children. Thorax 55: 518–532. DOI: 10.1136/thorax.55.6.518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Steffen W, Sanderson A, Tyson P, et al. (2003) Global change and the earth system: A planet under pressure, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany.Google Scholar
  50. TERI (2010) Cooking with Cleaner Fuels in India: a Strategic Analysis and Assessment, Policy Brief, The Energy Research Institute (TERI), New Delhi, India.Google Scholar
  51. World Health Organization (1999) Global Air Quality Guidelines. WHO, Geneva, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  52. World Health Organization (2000) Addressing the Links between Indoor Air Pollution, Household Energy and Human Health. Based on the WHO-USAID Global Consultatino on the Health Impact of Indoor Air Pollution and Household Energy in Developing Countries (Meeting report). Washington, DC, USA. 3–4, May 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Ecological Economics and Natural Resources (CEENR)Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC)Nagarabhavi BangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations