India‟s Firewood Crisis Re-examinedKlaas van „t Veld, Urvashi Narain, Shreekant Gupta, Neetu Chopra, and Supriya Singh IFPRI Brown-bag Seminar, Washington DC May 31, 2006
Background• In the early 1970s it was widely held that India would soon face a severe firewood shortage.• This, in turn, it was believed would lead to women spending endless hours searching for firewood and settling for poorer-quality biomass.• Data from the early 1990s showed that while households remained dependent on firewood they had not been forced to switch to poor-quality biomass. – Invasion of exotic plants such as Prosopis juliflora – Farm Forestry project of the 1980s• What has since happened to the firewood crisis?
Questions• Have firewood shortages developed in rural India? – Are households, especially women spending more time collecting firewood from the commons in areas with degraded forests? – Are households substituting towards other fuels? – What has been the role of JFM?• We examine these questions using data from a random sample of 539 households in 60 villages in rural Jhabua covering the period June 2000 to May 2001.
Literature Review Fuel Switching• Rural household continue to be dependent on firewood as their main source of fuel (1993-94 and 1999-2000 NSSO).• Heltberg et al. (2000) find that households in rural Rajasthan are not able to switch to private fuels (firewood from private lands, agricultural residue, and animal dung) in areas with degraded forests.• Studies from Nepal (Amacher et al. (1993) and Cooke (2000)) have reported fuel switching.
Literature Review Time Allocation• Number of studies point to the fact that women devote a significant amount of time per day in firewood collection but do not link time spent to the state of the local forests.• Heltberg et al. (2000) find that households in rural Rajasthan spend more time in firewood collection in villages with degraded forests.• Similarly, studies from Nepal (Kumar and Hotchkiss (1988), Cooke (1998)) find that women devote more time to collection in villages with degraded forests. Amacher et al. (1996) find to the contrary---women spend less time collecting resources in villages with degraded forests.• All these studies use indirect and endogenous measures of firewood availability.
Literature Review JFM• Surprisingly, very few studies have documented the impact of JFM on the firewood crisis or household incomes.• Existing studies offer conflicting views: – Some contend that JFM has lead to an increase in firewood collected by households (Pathan et al. (1990) and Banyopadhyay and Shyamsundar (2006)). – Others argue that, by placing restrictions on the amount of firewood that can be collected and by emphasizing timber benefits over firewood benefits, JFM has placed additional hardships on women (Khare et al. (2000)).
Main Results• Fewer women choose to collect firewood from degraded village commons.• These households are able to cope by switching to agricultural crop residue and planting more firewood trees on their lands and thereby producing more private firewood.• In villages with JFM projects and high biomass, women and men are more likely to collect firewood from the commons, although the quantity collected is unchanged.
Jhabua• Population is largely rural and largely tribal. 47% of the population lives below the poverty line, and has low rates of literacy.• Agriculture, rain-fed, is the main occupation and employs over 90% of the workforce.• 54% of land area is classified as agricultural land, 19% as forest land, and the rest as “degraded” land.• Forest lands, traditionally managed by the state forest department, are largely degraded. Households, nonetheless, depend on these lands for firewood, construction wood, fodder etc.
Jhabua and JFM• JFM was initiated in Jhabua in 1992 on degraded forest lands, and on well-stocked forests after 1995.• In 1995, the World Bank initiated a large forestry project in Madhya Pradesh that gave a considerable boost to the state‟s JFM program.• By mid-2000 about 38% of the state‟s total forest area were being managed under JFM.
Jhabua and JFM (contd.)• Number of studies have evaluated the strength and weaknesses of institutions established under JFM. – A case study by Sarin et al. (2003) of 13 villages in Bastar district and Harda forest division revealed limited participation by villages in JFM committees. – Similar conclusions reached by two-year study of JFM in Dewas district by University of Edinburgh and mid-term review of the World Bank‟s forestry project.• Few studies have quantified the impact that JFM has had on the firewood crisis or household incomes.
Theoretical Model• Household derives utility from the consumption of a staple, fruit, and firewood.• The household can either produce the stable, by combining land and labor, or purchase it in the market.• Firewood can either be collected from the village commons, produced privately from firewood trees on own land, or bought in the market.• Fruit can be produced privately from fruit trees or bought in the market.
Theoretical Model (contd.)• Household therefore divides its time between collecting firewood from the commons, producing the staple, or working as a wage laborer.• Households are assumed not to sell firewood (only one household in our sample sells firewood).
Theoretical Results• So long as the household both collects and purchases firewood, a decrease in firewood biomass: – decreases the time spent collecting firewood. – If the household engages in wage labor then the time spent in wage employment increases. – If the household does not engage in wage labor then the time spent on the farm increases, amount of land allocated to agriculture increases, and number of firewood and fruit trees planted privately decreases.• Upshot, there is no a priori reason to expect that decreased firewood availability in the commons will necessarily induce an increase in time spent collecting.
Empirical Analysis• To examine the responses of households to variations in forest biomass we estimate the following equations: – Time spent by the household as a whole, and men, women, and children separately, in firewood collection – The quantity of firewood (from commons, market, or own lands), dung, and agricultural waste consumed by the household – Number of fruit and firewood trees owned by the household
Empirical Strategy• Censoring – Tobit (assumes participation and outcome equations are identical) – Heckman Two-step (relies on arbitrary functional form assumptions for identification if same set of regressions are used) – Two-part Model• Seasonality – Include seasonal dummies that both control for seasonal variations and, to some extent, unobserved household- specific effects – Random effects not rejected by Hausman tests
Description of Independent Variables• Household Level – Age of Head – Education of Head – Household Size – Proportion of Women – Proportion of Children – Land and Farm Capital – Animal Holdings
Description of Variables (contd.)• Village Level – Biomass Availability – Presence of JFM (21 out of 60 villages) – Seasonal Rainfall – Distance to Markets – Distance to Firewood Markets – Seasonal, Relative Price of Firewood and Dung – Relative Price of Agricultural Residue – Relative Wage-rate for Low-skill Male Labor
Empirical Results Seasonality• Households are less likely to collect firewood in the kharif season and more likely in the summer season. – Opportunity cost of labor – Household prefer dry firewood• Households are more likely to buy firewood in the summer and less likely to use dung for fuel in the summer season.• Households use firewood stored in the summer during the kharif season.
Empirical Results Time Allocation• Households, especially women, are more likely to collect firewood from the commons in villages with higher biomass availability.• Increased opportunity cost of time spent in firewood collection (distance to markets, level of education of head, land and capital) also reduce the likelihood that households will collect from the commons.• As male wages increases women are more likely to collect firewood from the commons.• Women spend more time collecting firewood in villages where firewood markets are further away.
Empirical Results Fuel Use• Households more likely to use private firewood and agricultural waste in villages with degraded forests.• Likelihood of use and amount used increase – For private firewood in the number of fuel trees owned – For agricultural waste in the amount of land cultivated – For dung in the number of animals owned• Amount of firewood purchased declines in the price of firewood.• Households with more educated heads are less likely to collect firewood, but no more likely to collect private firewood, or purchase firewood or use agricultural waste or dung.
Empirical Results Private Trees• Likelihood of owning any private trees at all increases in the amount of land and distance to the nearest firewood market.• More importantly, households in villages with degraded forests are more likely to grow firewood rather than fruit trees.
Empirical Results JFM• Presence of JFM project increases the likelihood of collection in villages with higher biomass but does not affect the time spent collecting a given quantity. – JFM villages may have higher fraction of firewood trees – JFM projects may make collection more legitimate• Households are less reliant on dung for fuel in JFM villages with high biomass.
Policy Implications• The fact that households are responding to the firewood shortage by altering the mix of trees on their land implies a more robust, long-term solution to forest degradation than short-term solutions often provided by government-initiated programs.• JFM, another government-initiated program, is however and so far having a positive impact on firewood collection.
On-going Research• Using Current Data Set – Poverty and Environment: Relationship between Household Incomes, Private Assets and Natural Assets – Time Allocation in Water Collection, and Impact of Watershed Management – Livestock Economy – Time Allocation Across Activities and Variations in Biomass• Panel Data Set (field work this summer)