Firewood is a major energy source, especially in developing countries. Because firewood is often collected from forest, forest quality may affect firewood consumption patterns. Here, we evaluated the impact of forest degradation on firewood consumption patterns in a rural area of Myanmar. Household interviews were conducted for a total of 143 households from 20 villages, and per capita consumption rates for each household were calculated. The per capita consumption rates of households that only used firewood for cooking were regressed against several potentially important factors, including an index of forest degradation. Approximately 85% of sample households used firewood for cooking. The average per capita annual firewood consumption rate for cooking was 530 kg for households that used exclusively firewood for cooking. The regression analysis clearly showed that open forest area ratio, an indicator of forest degradation, had a negative effect on per capita annual firewood consumption rate. In addition to open forest ratio, household size, elevation, and the consumption rate of firewood for drying cigar leaves were strongly related to per capita annual firewood consumption rate. However, the nearest distance to forest had a weak relationship with per capita annual firewood consumption, although previous studies have suggested that the nearest distance to forest negatively affects the firewood consumption rate. Combined with previous studies showing that fuelwood collection causes forest degradation, we conclude that forest degradation and decreases in firewood consumption mutually affected each other. Additional studies are needed to assess the role of forest degradation in maintaining local livelihoods.
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