> Facts: The Gap Theory
The Gap Theory
The "gap theory," often used
to justify action in the field of enhancing forest resources
as well as wood energy conservation programs, was based
on the belief that most, if not all, woodfuels originated
from forests. The gap between demand and supply was then
used to calculate how long it would take before all the
forests would disappear due to woodfuel use. However, 10-15
years of in-depth studies show that non-forest areas supply
considerable amounts of woodfuels. In fact, some evidence
shows that in many countries a major part, often over 50%,
of woodfuels is derived from non-forest areas. These areas
include village lands, agricultural land, agricultural crop
plantations (coffee, coconut and banana, for example), homesteads,
and trees along roads.
years of in-depth studies have shown that non-forest
areas supply considerable amounts of woodfuels."
Working Paper 34
In southeastern Guatemala a farmer has planted a species
of small, nitrogen-fixing tree (quickstick, Gliricidia
sepium) on his farmland which is planted in corn,
black bean and squash. The tree roots create erosion
barriers that capture rainwater, the leaves enrich
the soil, and the branches are firewood. The tree
vigorously resprouts when pruned.
Information about wood as fuel is adapted
from the report: Asia-Pacific Forestry Sector Outlook Study
Working Paper No. 34, "Regional Study on Wood Energy
Today and Tomorrow in Asia," by Regional Wood Energy
Development Programme in Asia.