Trees and woodlots in Rwanda and their role in fuelwood supply

J.D. Ndayambaje

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Trees and woodlots on farms are prominent features of agricultural landscapes worldwide. For developing countries such as Rwanda where fuelwood is the main sources of energy for cooking, the contribution to total energy supply is important. However, little is known about their role in meeting the household demands of fuelwood under conditions of high population density, small forest cover per capita, heavy reliance on forests for fuelwood, and subsistence farming. The main focus of this study was to quantify the role of trees and woodlots on farms in fuelwood supply in Rwanda, by analysing the fuelwood demand and supply, identifying the determinants of the farmer’s choice of fuelwood sources and the reasons why and when farmers are keeping trees and woodlots on their farms. Biomass stocks on individual farms and in the agricultural landscape were assessed, and the contribution of woody biomass on agricultural land to fuelwood supply was determined. The study showed that households with higher socio-economic status obtained fuelwood from their farms and markets rather than collecting it from nearby forests. Indeed, many trees and woodlots were mainly kept for economic benefits, including fuelwood. The household decision to have trees and woodlots on farms in three altitude regions was affected by different sets of socio-economic and location variables, implying that interventions to promote tree and woodlots must be region specific to account for the socio-economic and biophysical environments. The woody biomass survey on the agricultural land indicated that about 80 % of total standing biomass in trees and woodlots was useable biomass for fuelwood. It was estimated that for Rwanda, the amount of fuelwood on agricultural land was higher than in forest plantations. Increasing sustainable woody biomass production on farms could potentially meet the fuelwood demands by the households; even a surplus is possible in the future. This, however, is only achievable if sustainable tree and woodlot management are promoted and implemented, and the socio-economic and policy environments improved.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Mohren, Frits, Promotor
  • Heijman, Wim, Promotor
Award date27 Aug 2013
Place of PublicationS.l.
Print ISBNs9789461735140
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • fuelwood
  • trees
  • farm woodlands
  • biomass
  • supply balance
  • rwanda

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