Woodfuel demand, deforestation, and forest degradation

When identifying the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, the media and some researchers often turn a blameful eye towards woodfuel harvesting and charcoal production. While it’s true that these activities have detrimental impacts, the evidence shows that the link between deforestation and woodfuel demand have likely been overstated. A common misconception feeding this narrative is that woodfuels are harvested only from forests. In fact, research shows that woodfuel is actually collected from many types of land, not simply from what is traditionally consider a “forest”, and people use trees for many reasons besides making firewood or charcoal. To accurately assess the true impact of woodfuel demand on the environment and climate, methodologies must account for the complex ways in which people interact with forests.