Appropriate Technology Asia

The Problem

In mountain areas, fuel is a matter of particular concern, with domestic energy requirements often solely fulfilled by the use of organic renewables, including grass, straw, dung, woody shrubs and trees.

In many of our operational areas, estimated annual fuel usage is approximately 6000 kg of straw or other organic material per family, per year. The altitude and the climate cause extremely slow tree growth, and consequently the bulk of fuel for cooking and heating is derived from animal manure, crop residues, and shrubs and grasses from the pasturelands.

While most families endeavour to limit extraction of grasses and shrubs to the leaves and stalks, drought or other natural causes of scarcity can cause widespread uprooting of plants, leading almost inevitably to increased soil erosion and reduced natural and agricultural productivity.