Assessment of impact on forestation as a result of charcoal to gas switchover: the case of Dar es Salaam

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University of Dar es Salaam
Tanzania has experienced a loss of forest cover of over 10.5 million hectares in just over 37 years (1961 to 1998). Part of this is due to charcoal production and use while the other part is due to other wood forest products like furniture, electric poles and building materials. This study was based on charcoal production and use data obtained from various stakeholders and literature. An ecological model was then developed using STELLA software to establish ecological relationship between charcoal use and forest cover loss. A cost benefit analysis was done to establish the true cost of using charcoal and the monetary, environmental and social benefits of the switch. Findings suggest that, the current charcoal consumption results in forest loss of about 105,000 ha per year. Projections show that forest loss will be about 3.0 million ha between 2010 and 2030, while emissions to the environment will be 49 million tonnes of CO2, 12 million tonnes of CH4, 1.0 million tonnes of SO2 and 9 million tonnes of NOx. Reduction in forest cover leads into reduced carbon sink. Sulphur and nitrogen oxides will lead into acid rain thus affecting agriculture.Shifting will lead to an annual household savings of about Tsh. 208 billion based on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cost or Tsh. 284 billion based on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and the government is likely to earn a Tsh. 218 billion, in terms of value added taxes. It is concluded that, it is cheaper to use gas than charcoal in all aspects (social, environmental and economical). The biggest bottleneck in the switchover efforts is the purchasing power of the targeted group. The study recommends that, government should facilitate access funding of switchover initiative to cater for initial investment cost of about Tsh. 92.0 billion.
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Charcoal production, Wood forest production, Natural gass, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Msuya, N (2010) Assessment of impact on forestation as a result of charcoal to gas switchover: the case of Dar es Salaam. Master dissertation, Univeristy of Dar es Salaam. Available at