Keywords: energy balance, fuelwood, spatial analysis, sustainable yield, wood energy, GIS, energy planning, Nepal
Spatial model for wood energy analysis
Fuelwood is one of the major fuels for rural households and cottage industries in developing countries. Most of the fuelwood consumed in rural areas come from nearby forests. The estimates on the availability of fuelwood are based on gross national estimates and may not reflect the local conditions. As a result, planning for wood energy supply and consumption becomes an ad hoc process. In this paper, we propose a spatial model, called the wood energy information system (WEIS), first to estimate the forest areas and their type in a particular area and then to calculate fuelwood availability and fuelwood demand. With the help of GIS, we show fuelwood surplus/deficit pockets in the study area. Such information is useful to energy planners at both local and national level. The development of a spatial model helps planners to devise area specific plans for fuelwood management. Further, the combination of such models can form a platform for regional wood energy planning inside a country. We have applied this model to a remote district in Nepal, where fuelwood is the dominant fuel. We show various features of wood energy data extraction from the model and develop a wood energy balance for the district. We hope that this type of analysis will help wood energy planners, particularly in developing countries, to develop decentralised wood energy plans.