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The Niger household energy project : Promoting rural fuelwood markets and village management of natural woodlands

Foley G., Floor M.W., Madon G., Lawali E.M., Montagne P., Tounao K.. 1997. Washington : World Bank, 121 p.. (World Bank Technical Paper, 362).

This paper deals with the rationale, history, and prospects for the rural fuelwood market system, an innovative energy strategy whereby communities are given formal rights to manage their natural woodlands and exclusive rights to sell all the fuelwood produced through rural markets in exchange for agreeing to manage the woodland sustainably. After a nontechnical summary of the project and its results to the end of 1995, the paper describes the local physical and socioeconomic conditions, with particular attention to the "tiger bush" that forms much of Niger's natural woodland. Chapter 2 treats the background of fuelwood interventions begun in response to the 1974 Sahelian drought, where semi-industrial plantations of fast-growing exotic species were sponsored, and cultivation and control harvesting were encouraged. Soon abandoned, these approaches gave way to more systematic examination of existing resources and their use. Chapter 3 describes the supply component of a new woodfuels strategy centered around the idea of a rural fuelwood market and sustainable management; and the demand component aimed at distributing improved woodfuel and petroleum-product stoves and outlining revisions in tax and pricing policies. The project's practical and legal aspects are discussed in chapter 4. Chapter 5 presents some achievements and difficulties. Chapter 6 considers how the project might be expanded during its second phase to be replicated over the Sahel and Sub-Saharan Africa.

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