In the Kanchenjunga Transboundary Conservation Landscape of the Eastern Himalaya, people remain dependent upon biomass energy for virtually all domestic uses, including cooking food, boiling water and tea, space heating, and preparing cattle feed. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) is being adopted only gradually and unevenly. We examined patterns and determinants of fuel wood versus LPG use for 250 households in India and Nepal. Over 90% of households use fuel wood for the purposes mentioned above. Major determinants of fuel wood consumption rates include household (family) size, education level of household head, number of cattle owned, and time spent collecting fuel wood. Major determinants of LPG use include age and education level of household head, household size, household income, time spent collecting fuel wood, membership of the household head in social organization, and land tenure status. Patterns of fuel wood use differ across Indian and Nepali sites. These differences are correlated with differences in the social, economic and policy factors mentioned above. Our results suggest that direct promotion of LPG may not contribute greatly to reductions of fuel wood use and the consequent pressure on forest resources. On the other hand, investment in a number of social and economic factors, including education and improved ownership of forests by local communities, can in some cases reduce fuel wood use, consequently ameliorating forest degradation caused by overharvest of fuel wood.
Patterns and Determinants of Domestic Energy Use in Kanchenjunga Himalaya, International Journal of Energy and Environmental Science.
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