| Energy Utilisation in Karnataka: Part-III Small Scale Industries Sector |
|3.0 Firewood Consumption|
As already explained, firewood is a dominant energy source and is closely related to deforestation in our State. Accurate figures on firewood consumption are not available and only estimates are obtained. Consumption can be categorised into two parts - rural domestic needs
and urban domestic and traditional industrial needs.
Based on many rural surveys, estimates for firewood vary from 15-20 million tons/year for Karnataka - very much lower than the recorded values available with Forest Departments. Fortunately, observations show that rural people mostly gather their firewood - twigs and small branches from the neighbourhood. Hence this does not lead to deforestation. But urban domestic requirements and needs of industries like brick and tile, tobacco, sericulture, hotels etc, consume logs obtained from forests mainly supplied by private contractors. It is this usage which causes concern specially from the point of view of deforestation. It is desirable to consider these uses.
Table 8 illustrates estimates to firewood required by some industries in Karnataka (about 4.27 million tons). Recorded values for forest output is less than 1 million tons (see Table 9). Some of the industries not included in Table 8 are brick industries (about 1 million tons), sericulture, small scale industries, hotels, canteens etc. These needs do not include demands for wood as a raw material in industries, house construction, construction of sheds and small "bridges' seen in Uttara Kannada, fences, small dams, agricultural implements, bullock carts, wooden boards etc.
The problem of maintaining a desirable tree cover and at the same time meeting these requirements needs to be overcome by various strategies like;
i) Afforestation programmes leading to planting of trees in large tracts of unused land, compounds of buildings, roadsides, bunds of tanks, grazing lands, betta lands, community lands etc.;
ii) Energy conservation strategies and
iii) Use of other alternate sources like biogas for cooking, solar energy for water heating etc.
These three aspects will be discussed later.
We will now look at firewood consumption in urban areas based on studies conducted for Bangalore, Tumkur, Mandya and Hassan.