Socioeconomic determinants of fuel choice, fuelwood use and dependence in middle-hills of Nepal

Authors: Prabisha Shrestha*, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Conghe Song, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Rajesh Bista, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Topics: Energy, Environment, Asia
Keywords: forest dependency, rural livelihoods, household energy, socioeconomic characteristics, community forests, Nepal
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 45
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Forest resources are deeply embedded in the socio-cultural fabric of the rural communities of Nepal. The Community Forestry Program in Nepal aims to protect forest landscapes while supporting rural livelihoods. Rural communities in Nepal have a high dependency on forest resources, particularly fuelwood, for their household energy needs. This study examines the association between socioeconomic inequities and forest resource use in the middle hills of Nepal. Preliminary results from the cross-sectional analysis using a household survey of 418 households indicate that caste, education of the household head, household size and wealth index, number of migrants in a household, and proximity to forest and main roads were strongly associated with fuelwood usage, dependency, and fuel choice in the study area. A high dependency of rural households on forest products coupled with socioeconomic determinants, such as caste, education, and income status, could contribute to forest degradation in the area. Findings from this study have a broader policy implication that the influence of socioeconomic heterogeneity on resource use must be considered to ensure just and equitable access to resources and livelihood opportunities.

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