Livelihoods in the urban biomass sector - realities and threats

by Hannah Isaac

Issue: 49

Journal section: General Article
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Received: Wed 11 of Aug., 2010


This article is an output from a project funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for the
benefit of developing countries. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the DFID.

Whether it be wood, charcoal or simply branches, leaves and twigs, traditional biomass fuel remains the most
important source of household energy for more than two billion people in today’s world.

Associated with the mass consumption of these biomass resources are concerns about environment and health, and much research has been carried out to identify and measure impacts such as deforestation from unsustainable wood and charcoal production, and smoke-related illnesses that can occur when biomass fuel is used in poorly ventilated kitchens.

In the last few decades attempts have been made to reduce biomass consumption through a range of interventions
that create the conditions for ‘fuel substitution’ to occur.

If measures are effective in reducing biomass consumption, what might this mean for the livelihoods of the many people who serve the biomass trade?...

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