Land use change, fuel use and respiratory health in Uganda

This paper examines how biomass supply and consumption are affected by land use change in Uganda. We find that between 2007 and 2012 there was a 22% reduction in fuelwood sourced from proximate forests, and an 18% increase in fuelwood sourced from fallows and other areas with lower biomass availability and quality. We estimate a series of panel regression models and find that deforestation has a negative effect on total fuel consumed. We also find that access to forests, whether through ownership or proximity, plays a large role in determining fuel use. We then explore whether patterns of biomass fuel consumption are related to the incidence of acute respiratory infection using a cross-sectional data set of 1209 women and 598 children. We find a positive and significant relationship between ARI and the quantity of fuelwood from non-forest areas; a 100 kg increase in fuelwood sourced from a non-forest area results in a 2.4% increase in the incidence of ARI for children. We find the inverse effect of increased reliance on crop residues. As deforestation reduces the availability of high quality fuelwood, rural households may experience higher incidence of health problems associated with exposure to biomass burning.

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