Descending the energy ladder? Oil price shocks and domestic fuel choices in Kano, Nigeria

R Maconachie, A Tanko, M Zakariya

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41 Citations (SciVal)


In recent years, the densely populated region around the burgeoning city of Kano in northern Nigeria has been the focus of much academic enquiry into the links between vegetation modification and fuelwood production and consumption. While many scholars have praised the socio-economic and ecological sustainability of Kano's rural-urban interface, arguing that indigenous agro-forestry systems will continue to resist urban fuelwood pressures for many years to come, other less optimistic observers have warned that exposure to a rapidly changing world economy is challenging traditional resource management systems like never before. Focusing on the case of Kano and its resource hinterlands, recent field-based evidence presented in this paper Suggests that the latter supposition may be gaining increasing currency. In peri-urban regions, the rising prices of kerosene and other petroleum-based domestic fuels, Coupled with the economic knock-on effects of a current petro-boom, are making fuelwood a much more attractive alternative as a domestic fuel choice. As lower and middle-income households shift away from commercial petroleum-based energy sources in favour of cheaper and more readily available biomass alternatives, it may be placing increased pressure on woodland resources and Kano's surrounding rural ecology: in the hinterlands of the city, local perceptions of research informants suggest that deteriorating economic-conditions have driven some individuals to 'step up' fuelwood production to meet rising peri-urban demands. Although the intention of the paper is not to perpetuate crisis narratives or to suggest that fuelwood demand is causing runaway deforestation, the evidence presented does suggest that as conventional fuels become progressively more expensive, the poorest and most disadvantaged households may find it increasingly challenging to meet their basic energy needs. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1090-1099
Number of pages10
JournalLand Use Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2009


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