India's Firewood Crisis Re-Examined

46 Pages Posted: 17 May 2006 Last revised: 10 Nov 2008

See all articles by Klaas van 't Veld

Klaas van 't Veld

University of Wyoming - Department of Economics

Urvashi Narain

World Bank

Shreekant Gupta

University of Delhi - Delhi School of Economics

Neetu Chopra

University of Delhi

Supriya Singh

Delhi University

Date Written: May 1, 2006

Abstract

Households in rural India are highly dependent on firewood as their main source of energy, partly because non-biofuels tend to be expensive. The prevailing view is therefore that, when faced with shortages of firewood in the village commons, such households, and especially the women in them, have to spend more and more time searching for firewood and eventually settle for poorer-quality biomass such as twigs, branches and dry leaves. Using data from a random sample of rural households in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, we come to very different conclusions, however. We find that households in villages with degraded forests do not spend longer hours searching for firewood, but instead switch to either using firewood from private trees or to using agricultural waste for fuel. In the long run, moreover, households respond to the firewood shortage by altering the mix of private trees on their land in favor of firewood, as opposed to fruit, trees. We find also that, Joint Forest Management, a government program initiated in the 1990s, is having a positive impact on the firewood economy.

Keywords: firewood crisis, time allocation, fuel switching, JFM, India

JEL Classification: O13, O18, Q23, Q42

Suggested Citation

van 't Veld, Klaas and Narain, Urvashi and Gupta, Shreekant and Chopra, Neetu and Singh, Supriya, India's Firewood Crisis Re-Examined (May 1, 2006). RFF Discussion Paper No. 06-25, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=901625 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.901625

Klaas Van 't Veld (Contact Author)

University of Wyoming - Department of Economics ( email )

College of Business Department 3985
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY Wyoming 82071
United States
+1 307-766-4028 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.uwyo.edu/economics/faculty-staff/faculty/klaas-t-vantveld.html

Urvashi Narain

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Shreekant Gupta

University of Delhi - Delhi School of Economics ( email )

University Enclave
Delhi-110007
India
+91 11 27667005 (Phone)
+91 11 27667159 (Fax)

Neetu Chopra

University of Delhi ( email )

3/6, Roop Nagar
Kirti Nagar
Delhi, DE New Delhi 110007
India

Supriya Singh

Delhi University ( email )

3/6, Roop Nagar
Kirti Nagar
Delhi, DE New Delhi 110007
India

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