Firewood extraction and use in rural Vietnam: a household model for three communes in Ha Tinh Province

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Kim, LTT, Nichols, JD & Brown, K 2017, 'Firewood extraction and use in rural Vietnam: a household model for three communes in Ha Tinh Province', Agroforestry Systems, vol. 91, no. 4, pp. 649-661.

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Rural households in Vietnam depend on firewood as a main energy source, although collection and use patterns are not well understood. Households in three communes in Cam Xuyen District, Ha Tinh Province, Vietnam, were surveyed to identify patterns of firewood extraction and use, preferred species and sources. Data was collected in meetings with commune leaders, households and key-informant interviews, using open and close-ended questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. Volumetric measurements of firewood use over 24 h were taken for a sample of households. All surveyed households depend on firewood as the primary fuel source for cooking and boiling water with highest mean volumes used for this purpose in middle-income households. Firewood is used as a free resource which brings important economic returns to the communes, both as a saleable item and for income generating activities such as cooking pig feed and making wine. Thirty-nine plant species were used as firewood and cutting living branches and whole trees was preferred. The most frequently extracted species are Cratoxylum formosum (Jacq.) Benth. & Hook.f. ex Dyer, Castanopsis kawakamii Hayata, Betula alnoides Buch.-Ham. ex D. Don, Melia azedarach L., and Casuarina equisetifolia L. Higher income households have more private land to source firewood from, while poor and middle income households are heavily dependent on public lands and the nearby Kego Nature Reserve. Although the reserve is a protected area, the forest is viewed as an open access resource from which households in the three studied communes extract an estimated 7200 tonnes annually.

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