Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


The thesis is an examination of the woodfuel energy situation in rural Ghana. Despite the high degree of woodfuel dependency, which may perpetuate a near-subsistence level of economic development and potential degradation of the environment, there is a lack of detailed information at the critical use levels of the farm village and its household units upon which to assess the situation and as a basis for energy planning. This thesis attempts to combine the need for detailed data acquisition and the need to describe and explain the actual woodfuel situation. The field study covered households in three villages in Eastern Ghana based on methods which included measurement, weighing, interviewing, observation, and diary keeping. Data was collected over a period of 10 months.;The basic data confirmed the overall level of dependence on woodfuel for virtually all energy requirements. However, whereas all three villages were broadly similar as to woodfuel use, there were important distinctions between them as to quantity and quality used and, especially, the local availability and sectors of use. Based on initial data presentation, further analysis was undertaken of a wide range of household variables using both univariate and multivariate analytic techniques. Although some postulated variable relationships were confirmed, the overall situation was found to involve a number of critical variables whose significance varied somewhat between villages and in relation to sources and uses of woodfuel. The underlying nature of the ecosystem and its overt reflection in terms of the farming system are strong determinants of woodfuel supply in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Potentially, the most critical impacts of woodfuel use are those of an ecological nature--the loss and/or degradation of the natural vegetation. While the situation is not yet critical in terms of depletion, evidence suggested widespread degradation, especially in the two villages in the drier forest zones. The socio-economic impacts are more varied, including time and physical efforts spent collecting, as well as the actual and potential problems of development in a constrained energy situation.;The conclusion to the study stresses the complex nature of the woodfuel situation even at the relatively homogeneous farm village household level. Given this complexity and the level of dependency on woodfuel that will likely continue, energy planning must be undertaken at the rural village level, based on detailed acquisition and use of information.



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