| Application of biomass-energy technologies |
|I. Woodfuel production technologies|
The following can be concluded from the case studies.
Woodfuel is the main source of energy, but its supply potential is dwindling rapidly, locking people into a vicious circle of energy scarcity, poverty, soil deterioration and environmental degradation.
Efforts have been initiated in all the countries to increase woodfuel production using technologies appropriate to local conditions. The most successful and sustained technologies which also used local initiatives are: tree nurseries run by individuals, school and NGOs; tree planting by individuals on agroforestry; woodlots established by commercial farmers and government institutions; and management of communal natural forests through traditional laws and beliefs.
Production technologies which were not very successful were communal woodlots, which were unsuccessful due to villagers' unwillingness to have to tend and protect them from grazing animals, and large-scale woodfuel plantations, which proved to be too expensive to establish.
The contributions of donors and NGOs in woodfuel production have been significant. However, use of wrong production technologies has often minimized their impact: sharing of field experiences from different models of best practices of woodfuel production could enhance the success of future projects.
Finally, sustainability of woodfuel production, which is a pre-requisite for enhancing overall sustainable development, relies upon active people's participation, where production of woodfuel is part and parcel of their daily development efforts, just as for food crops. NGOs, Government and donors' catalytic support are however, instrumental for enhancing people's efforts. Arnold ( 1991) stated that, the desired condition is that of active participation of the local people, with external involvement being of a supportive rather than management nature.