Impacts of Wood Fuel Uses on Forest Cover: The Case of Semiarid Areas in Northern Tanzania
Keywords:Biogas, energy sources, Satellite images
Satellite images for the years 1987, 1997, 2002 and 2017, and questionnaire surveys were used to assess energy sources and demands as well as the impacts of wood fuel use to forest cover changes in Meru and Mwanga Districts. The major energy sources identified include cow dung cake, firewood, charcoal, liquefied petroleum gas and biogas. The total energy demands from these sources were 1400 (in Meru), 6289, 724 and 21 kg per day, respectively. The amount of biogas was not quantified since the reactors were constructed locally with no reading meter. Analysis from Landsat images showed variations in forest cover. The areas covered with forests in Meru were found to be 1510, 1723, 1612 and 1327 ha for 1987, 1997, 2002 and 2017, respectively. The changes observed in Mwanga District were 31705, 31988, 17939 and 30960 ha for 1987, 1997, 2002 and 2017, respectively. From the findings it was observed that, the ongoing use of wood fuel in semi-arid areas of Meru and Mwanga could deplete forests completely. The study concludes that charcoal and firewood consumptions are real threats to the long-term persistence of forests in Tanzania and proposes the use of renewable energy such as biogas for alleviating forest losses.
Keywords: Biogas, energy sources, Satellite images