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Understanding the factors that influence household use of clean energy in the Similipal Tiger Reserve, India

Madhusmita Dash, Bhagirath Behera and Dil Rahut ()

Natural Resources Forum, 2018, vol. 42, issue 1, 3-18

Abstract: Biotic pressure in and around protected areas (PA) is the primary cause of biodiversity loss in many developing countries across the globe. The pressure comes partly from biomass energy dependency in the form of heavy extraction of fuelwood from the forests. Although biomass fuels provide easily accessible and affordable sources of domestic energy to the rural masses, their combustion results in environmental and health†related hazards. The objectives of this paper are to assess the patterns of household energy use in a subsistence forest economy and analyze the factors that influence their energy use choice for cooking and lighting. The paper uses primary data collected randomly from 244 households located in and around the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR), situated in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. Age of the household head, number of days in wage employment, number of adult males and females in a household, education of the household head and landholding size are found to be the major variables that determine household fuelwood collection sources inside the reserve. Considering household structure as an income indicator, the analysis clearly shows that non†poor households prefer to use clean energy (i.e. solar) for lighting, while poor households tend to use solid fuel. Energy policies for development should be based on the realistic proposition that fuelwood will remain the major source of energy for cooking for substantial proportions of the world’s population. Promotion of public education, social forestry schemes and fuel†efficient improved chulhas should be encouraged in order to reduce household dependence on fuelwood. Moreover, devolving sufficient property rights over forest resources to local communities may help secure their broad†based and active participation in the decision†making process, which may result in a positive change in the attitude of the local people towards biodiversity conservation.

Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:wly:natres:v:42:y:2018:i:1:p:3-18