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Is more forest firewood consumed than produced? The case of western Pamirs, Tajikistan

Bunafsha Mislimshoeva1, Paul Schumacher1, Anna Gretschel2, Manuchehr Fezakov3, Cyrus Samimi4, Thomas Koellner1
1 Professorship of Ecological Services, Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences, BayCEER, University of Bayreuth, Germany
2 Diplom forester, Teacher's Training for English and Italian, University of Technology of Dresden, Germany
3 Central Asian Mountain Partnership (CAMP) “Tabiat” - Branch of Public Foundation CAMP Alatoo, Tajikistan
4 Professorship of Climatology, Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences, BayCEER, University of Bayreuth , Germany

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Quantification of firewood availability and usage in the case of former Soviet republics, such as Tajikistan, is of particular importance. In Soviet times, the demand for forest firewood was relatively low, whereas its availability and use were well recorded. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, crises in the energy and forestry sectors have led to full dependency on local energy sources (firewood) and the recordings on firewood production and consumption have become very weak. In this study, we aim to analyze current firewood availability in the forests and its use in the domestic energy sector. For the estimation of firewood production, we predicted the annual biomass increment of forest sites in Ishkashim district. Data on forest firewood consumption was extracted from an existing study in the region. Firewood increment was put in relation to consumption on (1) villages/forest sites’ level and (2) district level.The results show that overall, there is a rather positive balance between forest firewood production and consumption, which suggests that firewood deficiency may not occur in the district (2013 estimates). However, local heterogeneity needs to be taken into account. In some cases, the results indicate a negative balance. Also, maximum forest firewood extraction leads to forest degradation in the district. It is recommended that forest firewood production needs to be enhanced and its consumption to be reduced in these areas.

last modified 2014-09-30