More Trees and More Biomass Energy Options for Increased Energy Security within Households in Navakholo Sub-County, Kenya
To date, most rural households in the Navakholo constituency rely on wood fuel for domestic energy requirements, especially cooking. The increasing population is putting a lot of pressure on tree cover, its role in climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation notwithstanding. Switching to energy alternatives within the biomass domain presents a policy option to increase access to household energy. This paper reports on the emerging trends in this regard. Spatial survey was used to track land use and tree cover changes from 1990-2022. A questionnaire survey was used to collect data from a sample size of 395 respondents selected through systematic random sampling. A majority (78.9%) of the respondents indicated having adequate (covering over 10% of the land) tree cover, with woodlots accounting for 39.8% and trees planted along fences at 37.3%. Nevertheless, 43.4% of the households indicated that the fuelwood supply was not able to meet household energy demand. Chi-square analysis indicated that there was a significant relationship between household biomass usage, tree density and adequacy of fuel wood in the area (p = .004 and p = .004), indicating that firewood remains the choice energy source despite the apparent diminishing tree cover. This paper calls for the need to increase tree cover and access to alternative biomass options.
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