Currently, over two billion people globally depend on forest goods such as fruits, game meat, fibers and fuel wood to meet their basic needs (FAO, 2011 and May-Tobin, 2011). Fuel wood harvesting in developing countries is so important especially to the rural poor. In Africa a great supply of the energy comes from fuel wood and this cannot be neglected as a potential source of ecosystem disturbance. Environmental damage from fuel wood harvesting can be significant if too many people depend on few forested areas. In Kenya many forests where numerous human populations rely on are steadily vanishing, as people pile pressure on them to meet their demand for fuel wood among many other anthropogenic activities. Although environmental impacts of fuel wood consumption are somewhat neglected by both authorities and conservationists as they view them as less injurious. One thing the need to understand is that the more forests are destroyed in search for fuel wood the more the involved people destroy their and the whole world’s future.
One third of the world’s population uses biomass fuels, mainly firewood, to cook and to heat their homes. Firewood collection is one of the largest but a neglected driver of forest degradation in Africa, together linked to about 48% of total degradation. Together with population growth and rapid urban expansion, this can have a devastating effect on forests in Kenya.
Noteworthy, over half of the world’s forests have been destroyed in the last 10,000 or so years. This has occurred at the same time with population increase in many parts of the world. The massive loss has led to significant changes throughout many parts of the world i.e. flooding, climate change, disease outbreaks, famine etc
In my recent visit to rural parts of Nakuru County where Co2balance in conjunction with World Vision a humanitarian organization in Kenya are implementing an energy efficient cook stove project aiming to distribute over 7000 ICS, I observed that most of people still using the traditional three stone stove collect a lot of wood fuel from the few remaining forests in the vicinity for daily cooking. This is a big threat to the current forest cover within the area and this assured me that our ICS project with World Vision could have never come at better time than this, for its now or never. See below young girls with huge loads of firewood cut from the forest, they are indeed cutting down their future unaware.
In this region we envisage to replace the remaining traditional stoves that are high consumers of firewood thus threatening forest covers within the area and beyond. This would immensely cut down on wood use hence go a long way in contributing to forest cover conservation because improved cook stoves that we are distributing are energy efficient and consume less firewood.