Woodfuels play a dominant role in the energy balance of many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Woon and charcoal are important as household fuels throughout much of the continent and support the operation of small industries from tobacco curing to brickmaking. The shortage, real or perceived, of woodfuels in many of these countries thus has far-reaching implications for the sustainable management of their environment. At the same time, worldwide forest cover has come to be recognized as a critical variable in predicting global climate change. For both local and global environmental reasons, then, an assessment of existing wood resources in Africa has become a timely undertaking.
Estimating woody biomass in Sub-Saharan Africa reports the first comprehensive, systematic attempt to map vegetative land cover in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its impetus came from a 1988 World Bank Household Energy Seminar in Harare, Zimbabwe, where energy and forestry officials in attendance concluded that existing data on woody biomass were inadequate. From data obtained by satellite using advanced very high resolution radiometry (AVHRR) techniques, researchers were able to generate maps and descriptions of forty-three distinct classes of land cover. For each of these, they estimated stocks of growing woody biomass and their sustainable yields.Senior African scholars and professionals participated in the study at regional workshops in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, and Nairobi, Kenya, where their knowledge of vegetation types provided an essential local dimension to the analysis.
The wealth of data in this volume forms a basis for the design of meaningful energy strategies and conservation plans throughout the region. With this continent-wide overview of available wood resources, development practitioners in all fields - planners, economists, land use experts, energy and environmental policymakers, biogeographers, and ecologists - can make better-informed decisions to help environmentally stressed areas.
Estimating woody biomass in Sub-Saharan Africa is documented with over a hundred figures and tables and four full-color foldout land cover class maps.



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Andrew C. Millington, Richard W. Critchley, Terry D. Douglas, Paul Ryan
The World Bank