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Assessment of fuel wood supply and demand in displacement settings and surrounding areas in Cox’s Bazaar District

Subject/Objective: 

Objective 1: Assess current fuel wood demand in settlements and the host community and estimate the total demand over the period of interest.
Objective 2: Assess fuel wood supply and resources change over the period of interest for the entire AOI.
Objective 3: Develop strategies for sustainable management of natural resources and efficient energy use.

Methodology: 

The study’s methodology is drawn from the joint FAO – UNHCR publication: Assessing wood fuel supply and demand in displacement settings (D’Annunzio et al., 2016). The methodology includes three programmatic phases:
(1) to assess the standing woody biomass available for use as fuel (fuel wood supply) and the changes they have undergone over a given period to be determined (and which could be since the establishment of the camp)
(2) to assess the consumption over the same period (assuming wood fuel consumption is equal to wood fuel demand)
(3) assess the interrelationships and gaps between demand and supply.

Through this method, it can be determined whether the rate of wood extraction is faster than the natural rate of accumulation (forest growth) and options for improving energy use within surrounding areas can be developed. Data is obtained through a combination of field survey and very high-resolution satellite image analysis of land cover change. Field survey includes an assessment of both the biophysical forest parameters of the surrounding area and an assessment of the energy consumption from fuel wood of the varying social units inhabiting the area. Image analysis is performed combining semi-automatic classification of the land with change detection processes, using Free and Open Source software solutions.

Key findings: 

Key findings from the fuel wood demand assessment:
Almost all households were entirely dependent on wood fuel and traditional mud stoves for their cooking.
- The cost of cooking fuel accounted for just 4.6% of monthly household expenditures, a relatively low number that suggests wood fuel was collected rather than purchased. Furthermore, total monthly expenditures were slightly more than total monthly income, suggesting financial limitations to purchasing alternative fuels.
- To collect wood fuel, households traveled an average distance of 8.75 km and did this 3 days per week, collecting 28.65 kg per trip. During wood collection trips, households experienced a variety of threats. In particular, three women were attacked by elephants and 25% of women reported being threatened by mainly the host community.
- The average household consumption rate for cooking fuel was 4.285 kg/HH/day. For the displaced population this amounted to 54,452 tons biomass per year.

Key findings from the fuel wood supply assessment:
Observations from field plots revealed highly degraded forests, specifically low plant diversity and low regeneration rates, likely due to persistent wood fuel collection by both host and displaced communities.
- Satellite imagery analysis showed that since 1994 wood biomass decreased by 40%.
- Most of the degradation occurred in the shrub-dominated hills in the center of the area of interest.
- Additionally, one third of the area was almost depleted from standing trees, and biomass was concentrated in a few patches of plantations and homesteads.
- Importantly, most of the land use conversions from forest to agricultural land were the establishment of paddy fields in a reserved area that was not impacted by wood fuel collection.

Assessment Report: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Questionnaire: 
Publicly Available
Assessment Data: 
Publicly Available
Operations(s)/Webspace(s): 
Assessment Date(s): 
01 Nov 2017
Status: 
Report completed
Population Type(s): 
Other
Leading/Coordinating Organization(s): 
International Organization for Migration
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Location(s): 
Cox's Bazar
Disaster(s)/Emergency: 
Bangladesh: Rohingya Refugee Crisis 2017-2019