In many parts of Africa, wood fuels are often the only domestically available and affordable sources of energy and account for over 90% of primary household energy consumption in both rural and urban regions. Wood fuels are also an important source of fuel in the service and industrial sectors, especially in rural areas. As natural sources of supply are depleted, the cost of wood fuel is rising, particularly for the urban poor. Other negative social impacts of wood fuels are also well documented and include exploitation of producers and traders by middlemen and elites, health impacts from indoor smoke inhalation and the opportunity costs associated with fuel wood collection, especially for women and children.
DFID intends to develop a new regional forestry programme focused on wood fuels, livelihoods and resilient landscapes in the Miombo woodlands of eastern and southern Africa. The overall aim of the programme will be to promote sustainable wood fuel energy systems that improve livelihoods and reduce deforestation rates (and associated carbon emissions). It will take an integrated approach, supporting interventions along the entire wood fuel value chain, and recognising wider land uses and ecosystem services within these woodlands. Given the complex nature of the sector, it is likely that the programme will require a mix of interventions; grounded by political economy and contextual analyses in each of the focal countries. The overall objectives of this work are to: