Over half of all wood harvested worldwide is used as fuel, supplying ~9% of global primary energy. By depleting stocks of woody biomass, unsustainable harvesting can contribute to forest degradation, deforestation and climate change. However, past efforts to quantify woodfuel sustainability failed to provide credible results. The researchers present a spatially explicit assessment of pan-tropical woodfuel supply and demand, calculate the degree to which woodfuel demand exceeds regrowth, and estimate woodfuel-related greenhouse-gas emissions for the year 2009.

This publication provides policy-makers and project personnel with tools to assess present energy flows and future energy scenarios. It uses a geographic information system to generate and manage data independently of political boundaries, integrating and analysing relationships among socio-economic and environmental variable and facilitates the identification of priority areas and population that deserve greatest attention in efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).