Front Cover
 Firewood situation in Botswana
 Previous work
 Project objective
 Study sites in Kgatleng Distri...
 Firewood provision in Kgatleng...
 Firewood consumption
 Firewood collection
 Summary comments

Group Title: Conference on Gender Issues in Farming Systems Research and Extenion, University of Florida, February 26 to March 1, 1986
Title: Assessing firewood resources and labor requirements, district, Botswana
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081728/00001
 Material Information
Title: Assessing firewood resources and labor requirements, district, Botswana
Series Title: Conference on Gender Issues in Farming Systems Research and Extenion, University of Florida, February 26 to March 1, 1986
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Gritzner, Janet H.
Publisher: University of Florida
Publication Date: 1986
Subject: University of Florida.   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: Africa -- Botswana
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081728
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Firewood situation in Botswana
        Page 1
    Previous work
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Project objective
        Page 4
        Page 5
    Study sites in Kgatleng District
        Page 6
    Firewood provision in Kgatleng District
        Page 7
        Page 8
    Firewood consumption
        Page 9
    Firewood collection
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Summary comments
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
Full Text

. -. .-. .. .....-- .. -.- .-.....J i '

Sat the urniversrity.fn Floidar- --
Conference on

Assessing Firewood Resources and Labor Requirements

District, Botswana

Janet H. Gritzner, Remote Sensing Institute and

Linda Baer, Department of Rural Sociology,

South Dakota State University

Firewood Situation in Botswana

Firewood supplies over 90 percent of the total domestic

energy in Botswana and over 52 percent of total energy for the

country. The dependence on firewood in this southern African

nation is similar to that of other poor nations of Africa. More

fortunate than several of its neighbors, Botswana currently

produces sufficient firewood to provide the needs of its

population (Tietema, 1984). This is because the country's present

firewood resources are adequate for the existing relatively low

population and population density. By the year 2003, however, the

population will double if the current annual growth rate of 3.3

percent is maintained (Tietema). With increased population, the

demand for firewood soon may indeed exceed supplies.

Today, the primary firewood problem in Botswana is one of

distribution or location. The larger villages and towns are

growing in population at the expense of the small and more remote

village settlements. Table 1 shows percent population changes

- 1-

between 1971 and 1981 for villages and rural settlements. Around

these larger settlements, firewood consumption frequently exceeds

local production. Firewood resources are diminishing due to

overharvesting of locally available wood, overgrazing, and the

clearing of land for crops. The problem is compounded around the

rapidly growing capital city, Gaborone. The capitol, established

in 1964 with national .independence, has a population of

approximately 80,000 (Central Statistics Office, 1981). It has an

estimated annual growth rate of about 12.9 percent, making it one

the fastest growing cities in Africa. With rapid urbanization

often comes deforestation. This has become a permanent condition

around the capital cities and other urban areas throughout much of

the continent. Reversing the process of deforestation is a major

undertaking, ultimately involving a number of government and

community action programs. Planning programs to mitigate the

conditions of deforestation require detailed information on what

is presently happening to forest resources and what. may be

expected in the future. Without good planning and management

data, programs for conservation and reforestation have little

chance for success.

Previous Work

Fortunately for Botswana, the firewood situation has received

a good deal of attention and several excellent papers have been

written on the subject. They have been an important source of

- 2-

data for the work reported on in this paper, especially those that

contained information directly relevant to southern Kgatleng

District. The majority of studies have dealt with what has come

to be known as the "other energy crisis" on a community basis, or

they have made national projections of potential shortages.

Tietema (1984) looked at supply of and demand for fuelwood on

on countrywide basis. He suggested that the firewood distribution

problem could be solved by means of an organized harvest of

indigenous woodlands and firewood plantations. Arntzen and Kgathi

(1984) examined the determinants of firewood energy consumption in

rural Botswana, emphasizing the various adaptions made to firewood


Jelenic and van Vegten (1981) studied the firewood situation

in Botswana's south-western Kgatleng District. Their concern was

the human-side of the energy issue and how wood shortages were

forcing the gatherers to search for wood at greater distances and

with poorer results. The study focused on two villages in

southern Kgatleng: Oodi and Matebeleng. Arntzen (1985) modeled

his study on the earlier Jelenic and Van Vegten work. He assessed

the firewood situation at Mosomane, which is in a relatively

sparse populated grazing area in southern Kgatleng and compared it

with that of Oodi and Matebeleng, in the more crowded mixed

farming area.

- 3-

Van Vegten (1981) addressed the issue of vegetation change in

eastern Botswana's hardveld in Kgatleng District between 1950 and

1975. The study showed the rate of woody vegetation change and

the predicted loss in terms of economically valuable vegetation


Project Objectives

The goals of this research were similar to those of previous

works, but with several differences worth noting. Key issues

addressed in this project were:

1. Will there be enough firewood within range of the towns

and villages of Botswana given present and projected

population trends, current firewood distribution and

projected supply and demand?

2. Because traditional firewood collection is basically

women's work, how do the projected supply and demand affect

women's work roles in terms of availability of labor?

3. To what extent can computer technology be used to assess

present and future firewood situations?

The purpose of this research project is to assess firewood

resources in Kgatleng District and the implications of firewood

- 4-

shortages on the allocation of female labor. The research

attempts to be predictive, and has as a long range objective the

development of a monitoring strategy that is able to be duplicated

elsewhere in Botswana. The study utilized quantitative measures,

remote sensing, and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology

to accomplish its objectives.

The technical project objectives are fourfold.

1. To evaluate human-induced vegetation changes in Kgatleng

District from 1950 to 1982;

2. To prepare a model for projecting vegetation change in

Kgatleng district;

3. To develop an interpretive model to evaluate existing and'

potential firewood production and consumption and an interpretive

model to evaluate potential firewood production;

4. To analyze the data for female labor allocations to firewood

collection and to consider implications for labor shortages in

agricultural and domestic sectors.

Remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GISs)

technology provide data to calculate firewood production for

existing and projected conditions. Consumption rates are based on

- 5-

information derived from the firewood use studies already

completed for Kgatleng District and the Population and Housing

Census of 1981. Labor requirements for collecting fuelwood are

derived from the same sources.

Study Sites in Kgatleng District

The two village sites with their surrounding firewood

collecting areas are situated in southwestern Kgatleng District,

some 20 30 km northeast of Gaborone. The Mochudi study site is

an urban-suburban area in which a range of settings from urban to

rural (mixed farming) is found within a space of 150 sq km.

Mochudi is the administrative center and, with an estimated

population of 18,386, the largest village in Kgatleng District.

Today the town covers an area of 20 sq kms and is spreading

southward across the river, westward and to the east

Mochudi is experiencing rapid population growth. Since 1971,

the community has grown by some 165 percent. Because of

urbanization, Mochudi offers a complicated pattern of vegetation

degradation due to expansion of cropland, overcutting for

firewood, overgrazing, and progressive bush encroachment.

The Oodi-Modipane village site is a mixed farming (livestock

keeping combined with crop agriculture) area between Oodi and

Modipe Hills. The area is comprised of four villages and their

- 6-

communal lands. Oodi is the largest of the villages with a

population of 1600. Matebeleng has a population of some 400 and

is located 3500 metres from Oodi on the opposite bank of the

Notwane River. More distant Mokatse and Modipane had 1981

populations of 34 and 1225, respectively.

Firewood Production in Kgatleng District

The basic objective of this study is to develop an automated

geographic data base to assess vegetation change and its

implication for potential firewood production in southern Kgatleng

District. This data base was developed at the Remote Sensing

Institute, South Dakota State University, using the AREAS (Area

REsource Analysis System) geographic information system (GIS).

AREAS has the same basic capabilities as other geo-based

information systems. Its functions include accepting and updating

data in a variety of formats, the storage and retrieval of spatial

and tabular data, interpretation and analysis, and output of

results in a variety of formats.

The basic data for the GIS are maps of the two study sites

displaying eight classes of vegetation density for different time

periods. Vegetation density maps for Mochudi include those for

1950, 1963, 1973, and 1982. Oodi-Modipane maps are for 1950,

1963, and 1975. The majority of map data is modified from Van

Vegten's study of man-made vegetation changes in Kgatleng

- 7-

District. Aerial photography is used directly to produce the 1982

vegetation density map for Mochudi. Mapped data were entered into

the GIS by means of a coordinate digitizing table. Once converted

to AREAS program format, basic maps were produced and areal

statistics compiled. Tables 2 and 3 display statistics for

firewood production for the Mochudi study site for 1950 and 1975.

For each of the eight vegetation density classes, percent area and

area in hectares have been calculated. Van Vegten (1981) provides

the statistical basis to convert vegetation density class data to

woody biomass. The calculation of woody biomass production in

metric tons is the result of multiplying the area in hectares of

each density class by the average fresh biomass in kg/ha for that

density class.

Tietema (1984) supplies the means of estimating the actual

amount firewood available from estimates of total woody biomass.

Woody biomass is first converted to dry weight and then to its

useful firewood fraction. Dry weight of four dominant species

(Acacia tortilis, Acacia erubescens, Acacia fleckii, Acacia

mellifera) lies around 70 percent of fresh weight. For

Dichrostachys cinerea, a shrubby species, the dry weight

percentages is 76.6 percent. A useful firewood fraction is

calculated, assuming not all aboveground parts of a tree are

suitable for firewood. All wood thicker than 2 cm diameter is

considered firewood size. Tietema studies of hardveld savannas in

eastern Botswana show the firewood fraction ranges between 50 and

- 8-

60 percent of the total tree fresh weight. Using a useful

firewood fraction of 55 percent and a weight of 70 percent, it is

estimated that about 38.5 percent of the total fresh weight of

tree will present dry firewood. Based on these tables, the

firewood production estimate for the Mochudi study site in 1950 is

80,320 metric tons and for the same area in 1975 a declining total

of 68,636 metric tons.

The map data sets for Mochudi for four different time periods

were interpreted and composite, using the AREAS/GIS composite

functions. Vegetation density classes are interpreted for

enclosure into cropped land, fallow land, and firewood resource

area classes. Composite maps were made depicting the changes in

the three categories of cropped land, fallow land and firewood

resource areas from 1950 to 1982. Table 4 is graph of changes in

hectares of cropped land and fallow land from 1950 to 1982. This

table shows that agricultural land (cropped land plus fallow land)

has increased at the general expense of natural savanna land.

Firewood Consumption

The percapita use of firewood needed depends on the amount of

wood, per unit of time, and the total number of individuals.

Table 5 shows the estimated total annual consumption of firewood

for Mochudi. Values for firewood consumption for Mochudi are

derived from Jelenic and Van Vegten studies of Oodi village.

- 9-

There is a consistent correlation between the household size and

the household's firewood consumption. Households of more than 6

members consume from .40 2.99 kg of firewood per person per day.

Higher consumption is found in the smaller households. Households

from 1 5 members use 3.00 7.50 kg per day per person.

Firewood usage also varies by season. Winter consumption of

fuelwood is considerably greater than summer consumption due to

use of firewood for heating. Annual consumption of firewood for

the village of Mochudi is calculated by multiplying the number of

individuals by the rates of usage by household size and season of

the year by number of days. The total firewood consumed annually

by Mochudi's 17,973 fuelwood users is 18,527 metric tons.

Comparison of firewood production and consumption figures for

Mochudi and its firewood collecting areas shows consumption in

1981 based on 1975 production estimates is 26.99 percent. Based

on 1981 production estimates, annual consumption in Mochudi is

26.25 percent.

Firewood Collection

In Kgatleng, all routine activities connected with domestic

fire are carried out by women and children. Typical chores are

fetching firewood, transporting it to the homestead, making the

fire, cooking, and heating the house in the winter time (Jelenic

and Van Vegten, 1981). Girls begin carrying wood from the age of

- 10-

6 years. Boys under 10 help fetch wood. Women from the ages of

15 to 55 regularly collect wood in their domestic routine. The

quantity gathered per collecting trip varies by household needs,

the age and strength of the collector, and time of day during

which the bundle is fetched.

Table 6 is the potential firewood collection in Mochudi.

Age/sex class of potential collectors is described in the table.

Numbers of potential collectors in each class from Mochudi are

listed. The information was provided by the 1981 Botswana

population census. Values given for the average bundle weight in

kg for various age classes are derived from Jelenic and Van

Vegten's study of Oodi village. Numbers of potential collectors

multiplied by the average bundle weight in kgs give the potential

firewood collection per day by age class. The total amount of

potential firewood collection in Mochudi is an estimated 141128

kg. This figure is multiplied by the total number of firewood

collecting days per year to obtain the potential annual collection

of firewood. In Oodi, firewood is fetched an average of once

every three days. If the same schedule applies to Mochudi, there

would be about 122 firewood collecting days in a year. Potential

annual collection for Mochudi is then some 17,161 metric tons.

This amount falls short of the 18,527 metric tons of firewood

consumed in Mochudi village in 1981.

Table 7 is a modification of potential firewood collection in

- 11-

Mochudi to reflect actual conditions. Not all potential

collectors are involved in gathering firewood. Numbers of

collectors indicated in Table 7 are adjusted according to Jelenic

and Van Vegten's profile of collectors by age class in Oodi. The

same calculations used in Table 6 are applied to obtain the

potential firewood collection per day. With a reduced number of

collectors, the potential daily firewood collection for Mochudi is

76,298 kg. Based on collecting firewood every three days,

potential annual collection is 9,282 metric tons. This is not

nearly enough to sustain Mochudi's firewood needs. If

calculations are based on gathering firewood every two days, the

total is 13,924 metric tons. Collecting every day gives a

potential annual collection of 27,849 metric tons.

Summary Comments

Three aspects of the firewood situation in Kgatleng District

have been studied. They are firewood production, consumption, and

collection. The study revealed that firewood production in the

Mochudi area declined from 1950 to 1982. During this thirty-two

year period, a significant increase occurred in the amount of land

devoted to agricultural use. The study further disclosed that

firewood gathering places considerable pressure on existing wood

fuel resources. With an annual consumption rate of 26 percent of

the existing available firewood, it is probable that an increasing

amount of living biomass is being harvested each year, thereby

- 12-

placing the availability of this essential resource in future


Selected References

Arntzen, Jaap
1983 Firewood
Note No.

Collection in Mosomane: Kgatleng. National
Institute of Development (NIR). Research
11. University of Botswana, Gaborone.

Arntzen, Jaap, and D. L. Kgathi
1984 "Some of the Determinants of the Consumption of
Firewood Energy in Developing Countries: The Case of
Rural Botswana." Pula. Botswana Journal of African
Studies. 4:1:24-44.

Central Statistical Office
1982 1981 Population and Housing Census. Summary Statistics


on Small Areas (for settlements of 500 or more
people). Gaborone, Botswana: Government Printer.

Statistical Office
1981 Population and Housing Census. Guide to the
Villages and Towns of Botswana. Gaborone, Botswana:
Government Printer.

Jelenic, N. E. and J. A. Van Vegten
1981 A Pain in the Neck: The Firewood Situation in
South-Western Kgatleng, Botswana. National Institute
of Development and Cultural Research (NIR). Research
Note No. 5. University College of Botswana, Gaborone.

Tietema, Tabe
1984 "Firewood For Botswana. Towards a Sustained Harvest of
Firewood." Paper presented at UNESCO (MAB) Zimbabwe
Regional Workshop on Woodlands and Water Resources.
Harare, Zimbabwe.

Van Vegten,

J. A.
Man-made Vegetation Changes: An Example from
Botswana's Savanna. National Institute of Development
and Cultural Research (NIR). Working Paper No. 40.
University College of Botswana, Gaborone.

- 13-


% Change % Change Since
Census % in Villages % in Villages Since 1971 1971- Other
Districts 1971 est. 1981 Census in Villages Settlements

Ngwaketse 40 55 + 99 + 13
Barolong 86 88 + 44 + 23
South East 72 79 + 67 + 14
Kweneng 46 51 + 98 + 63
KGATLENG 50 75 +114 29
C. Serowe n.a. 59 + 72 n.a.
C. Mahalapye n.a. 62 + 73 n.a.
and Tuli
C. Bobonang n.a. 45 +116 n.a.
C. Boteti n.a. 50 + 85 n.a.
C. Tutume n.a. 49 n.a. n.a.
North East 34 77 +219 50
Ngamiland 58 52- + 26 + 66
Chobe 82 65 + 25 +191
Ghanzi 45 48 + 70 + 54
Kgalagadi 56 63 + 78 + 35

*Combination of three Census Enumeration Areas

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1963 1975













For individuals living in households 1 5 tn sfze:

5452 x 3.00 kg per day x 165 days (summer)
5452 x 7.50 kg per day x 200 days (winter)

Sub Total
For individuals living in households 6 1(+:
11521 x .40 kg per day x 165 days (summer)

11521 x 2.99 kg per day x 200 days (winter)

Sub Total


= 2,698,740 kg
= .8,178,000 kg

10,876,740 kg

= 760,386 kg
a 6,889,558 kg

7,649,944 kg

= 18,526,684 kg
(metric tons)


Nos. of Firewood
Age/ Potential Average Bundle Collection
Sex Class Collectors Weight in Kg per Day in Kg.
Females 2608 8 20864

Males 1270 8 10160
Females 1030 16.5 16995

Females 2061 25 51550

Females 681 39 15000

Females 600. 25 26559

TOTAL 8251 141128

121.6 firewood collecting
3 days.

141,128 kg x 121.6 days

days per year--collecting once every

= 17,161,164 kg (or 17,161.164 metric tons)
potential annual collection



no. of Potential
No. of Collectors Firewood
Age/Sex Potential Adjusted Average Bundle Collection
Class Collectors by Oodi Data Weight in Kg per Day in Kg

Males 1270 87 8 696

Females 2608 180 8 1440

Females 1030 612 16.5 10098

Females 2062 1591 25 39775
Females 681 326 39 12714

Females 600 463 25 11575
45-54___ _

TOTAL 8251 3259 76298
__ __ I __ __

76298 x 121.66 collecting days

76298 x 182.5 collecting days

76298 x 365 collecting days

= 9,282,414 kg ( or 9,282.414 metric tons)

=13,924,385 kg ( or 13,924.385 metric tons)

=27,848,770 kg ( or 27,348.770 metric tons)



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