Reduction of Deforestatation Through Indegenous Technology
Project Location:The project will take place in the lebialem highlands of Cameroon. The lebialem Highlands is found in South western region of Cameroon, which is located in the northern edge of the Congo Basin rainforest, the second largest segment of tropical rainforest in the World after the Amazon.
In this region, Unsustainable harvesting of fuelwood for energy consumption in the communities has contributed to increase forest degradation for decades. With a population of about 200000 inhabitants and a household family size average of 5 where cooking (and space heating depending on the climate) accounts for between 90 and 100% of energy consumption, the continual dependence on fuelwood for cooking and heating is putting tremendous pressure on the remaining the tropical rainforest and its endangered birds and primates.
Whilst wood is used in rural areas, charcoal is common in urban areas because it is light and easy to transport and quick to light. Charcoal is used by approximately 1.3 million households or 31% of all families in Cameroon. However, deforestation rates in Cameroon are amongst the highest in Africa, with current levels of wood-fuel consumption far exceeding forest growth. The charcoal production process contributes heavily to this deforestation and is responsible for high emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. This is because charcoal is produced in simple earth-mound kilns with carbonisation ratios of about 8 tonnes of wood to 1 tonne of charcoal, meaning that large volumes of wood are consumed to make it. Careful fuel consumption tests undertaken as part of the baseline study showed that these stoves reduce charcoal consumption by 25%. An FAO study in Cameroon has shown that, simply by improving the efficiency of charcoal production and introducing improved stoves, about 1.9 million m3 of fuelwood a year could be freed for other purposes
Traditionally many people cook in a traditionally build cage or open space in their kitchen , which has the benefit of being very cheap or easy to make, but quite inefficient . Cooking over an open fire means that people are exposed to wood smoke, which irritates their eyes and lungs and makes them susceptible to respiratory diseases. It is estimated that hundreds of people, mainly women and children, die every year as a result of the smoke from wood in this region. There is also a risk of burns to children, as the fire has no protection around it. Using wood for cooking also contributes to deforestation, in particular around cities and towns, where the concentrated use of wood puts pressure on the surrounding land. In addition, In Cameroon, exposure to indoor air pollution is responsible for the annual loss of 605,000 disability adjusted life-years (DALY). The DALY is a standard metric used by the World Health Organization (WHO) to indicate the burden of death and illness due to a specific risk factor. The WHO also estimates that exposure to indoor air pollution is responsible for 16,600 deaths per year in Cameroon.
According to our findings, feasibility reports , consultations and research with other partners in Africa, reducing deforestation and other threats of climate change can be resolve through the use of stove for cooking, promote reforestation through planting of indigenous nitrogenous plants which can be used for cooking and charcoal and continued environmental education.
Energy or cooking stoves are carefully designed to be more efficient in burning wood and getting heat to the cooking pots, and so reduce the amount of wood required to cook a meal. Improved combustion also reduces the amount of smoke that is produced. Many designs include a chimney that removes smoke from the cooking area, and materials to manufacture stoves can be obtain locally such as car cylinder mud, clay, steel and concrete which are locally available, cheap and require less skills or expertise. In fact there are many range of manufacturing techniques which allow stoves to be built locally and at a price people can afford .The key benefits to the user of an improved stove are: improved health due to reduction of smoke, saved time collecting firewood and reduced risk of burns and respiratory diseases as well as pollution. The benefits to the environment include reduced contribution to deforestation and global warming.
The Lebialem Highland Stoves project will introduce an insulated and efficient cook stove, to families which cook food more quickly requires less fuel and is less smoky. Carbon finance allows the stoves to be marketed at an affordable price, whilst building on manufacturing skills marketing channels and the fuel supply chain. These stoves use 50 to 70 percent less fuel, usually in the form of wood or charcoal, the primary sources of energy for many impoverished people in the world.
Background to the project
The destruction of the Tropical rainforest is one of the most acute ecological tragedies of our modern age, yet it continues at a frightening rate, driven by global demand for timber, paper and land for crops and biofuels. Fuelwood for local energy and charcoal trade is the main cause of for deforestation in Lebialem Highlands. As forests are destroyed, their values as stores of biological diversity, providers of livelihoods and ecosystem services to local and global communities, and stabilizers of the global climate, are lost. This fact is being highlighted by all research and highlighted at conferences and events all over the world.
But, using wood or charcoal for cooking or heating in an area with a lack of trees exacerbates local resources, and hampers the sustainability of these local environments.
According to FAO, wood energy is a main driver for deforestation, though deforestation and forest degradation at a global level is rather a consequence of conversion of the forests for agricultural purposes such as large scale productions for pasture, oil palms, soy beans, or for subsistence production. Sustainable harvesting allowed for 3.4 billion cubic meters of wood removals in 2005 alone, 40 percent of which was wood fuel removals. When properly sourced, there is little danger of forest degradation because foresters harvest less than or as much as regrows over the same period of time. Currently, the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) is taking an active role in providing cook stoves as a way of promoting sustainability. http://allafrica.com/stories/201107200152.html
Tropical deforestation has serious impacts on the worlds climate. Globally, deforestation and forest degradation account for 1520% of all human induced carbon emissions, and a large proportion of this takes place in the tropics especially the Congo Basin rainforest. This is therefore one of the major causes of global warming. These emissions are greater than those of all cars, trucks, planes, ships and trains worldwide. This project will ensure that threatened biodiversity is not lost and can be saved, and degraded forests can be restored. Conserved or restored forests can continue to provide the services that local communities and society world-wide need today and in the future. Conservation of natural forest through reduction of deforestation is an essential means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Restoration of natural forest can assist in helping restore stocks with the highest carbon content.
As a results of this project, Forest conservation and restoration plans developed by CEDCOW will ultimately conserve the threatened tropical rainforest of Lebialem Highlands in Western Cameroon and undoubtedly reduce climate change, promote indigenous green technology , promote good health, enhance local economy and reduce poverty in a sustainable way.
The Goal of this project is to promote indigenous technology for sustainable rural development through:
Reduce deforestation caused by fuelwood consumption and small scale logging for cooking and household energy use.
Introduce reforestation through planting indigenous tree species for fuel wood and charcoal use
Introducing indigenous energy saving technology to reduce deforestation and mitigate climate change.
Train youths on stove manufacturing, thereby improving local economy and generate income to the poor through sales of energy efficient stove, locally and nationally.
BENEFITS OF THE PROJECT
Reducing fuel costs for families and freeing up money for other uses, thereby improving livelihoods of the poor.
People using improved stoves save time as they need to collect less firewood; a task which usually falls to women and children. The extra time allows women to take up other activities including earning extra money, and allows children more time for education. Family members are reported to be more willing to help with the cooking once they have a smoke-free place in which to work.
Cooking over an open fire means that people are exposed to wood smoke, which irritates their eyes and lungs and makes them susceptible to respiratory diseases. It is estimated that 1.6 million people, mainly women and children, die every year as a result of the smoke from wood stoves.
The new stoves are less smoky, reducing emissions of hazardous air pollutants and improving the health of the cooks, typically mothers and children.
There is also a risk of burns to children, as the fire has no protection around it
Cooks benefit from the reduction in smoke which means that they suffer less from respiratory and eye diseases.
Creating employment and building capacity throughout the supply chain i.e. I manufacturing, distribution, retailing, quality control and project management.
Improving Cameroons technological self-reliance - the stoves are locally manufactured and specialist skills are being developed and furthered in-country.
Using wood for cooking also contributes to deforestation, in particular around cities and towns, where the concentrated use of wood puts pressure on the surrounding land.
Reducing fuel costs
Introducing locally manufactured technology with optimized energy efficiency which improves technological self-reliance
Education and advocacy about deforestation through sustainable forest practices will help communities manage their environment and cultivate habits or actions that will preserve the tropical rainforest.
Training local stakeholders and NGOs will help put in place a sustainable network that will continue to advocate and promote sustainable forest practices including usage of local technology that will curb deforestation, reduce green house emission and climate change
The improved stove can be made cheaply and easily from scrap metals and used cars and uses only half as much wood as the traditional version, thus reducing pressure on the remaining forests. It also helps to cut the production of greenhouse gases.
In addition, Stoves can be designed to burn wood much more efficiently than an open fire, typically reducing fuel consumption by 25 to 60%.
From our findings, stove reduces charcoal use by about 30000 tonnes per year, saving trees and cutting CO2 by around 180,000 tonnes per year in Cameroon.
Significant savings in greenhouse gas emissions through a reduction in charcoal consumption.
Slowing deforestation and consequently slowing soil erosion, protecting watersheds and preserving natural habitats and biodiversity.
Through this project CEDCOW intends to convert what was originally an environmental and health issue in Lebialem highlands in Cameroon into an economic and environmental and social success. And the news is good on the health front too- Burns and respiratory problems are much reduced disability adjusted life years.