Fuel Wood Plantation
source of all energy on earth is the sun. The sun energy is trapped
by the plants through the photosynthetic process and converts
into woody portion, leaves, flowers, fruits, tubers, seeds, grains,
nuts, oil seeds etc.
Animals and human beings obtain the same sun energy by consuming these
plant products and absorbing them in the form of carbohydrate and fat
(sources of immediate energy), protein (primarily for body building
and growth but ultimately for energy during scarcity situations), vitamins
and minerals (primarily for maintaining body resistance and facilitating
body functions but ultimately for energy at the extreme cases) and
water (which acts as a medium for all the physico-chemical functions
in the body to transport energy and nutrients to different parts of
the body and to excrete waste materials from the body.
All these are bio-chemical forms of energy. Fossil fuels such as coal,
petrol, kerosene and other petroleum products are also extensively used
as energy sources. These are also other forms of biochemical energy.
The woody materials of the plants have been the primary source of energy
ever since man appeared on earth. About 70% of the energy needs in India
is still met by fire wood, dried cattle dung and crop residues. Almost
same is the situation in all South Asian countries and other developing
countries of the world. For cooking and other household purposes in the
rural areas fuel wood, cattle dung and crop residues are the main sources
of energy. Among these three, the fuel-wood remains the most important
source for the rural people and it will be so for many more years to
come. Hence we should enquire into the possibilities of sustaining the
fuel wood requirements of the rural people.
It is the women who are mostly concerned about the fuel for cooking.
Daily they require minimum three to four kilograms of fuel wood for cooking.
They spent many hours in the collection of firewood that is becoming
more and scarcer day by day. This has a bearing on the health and family
life of the women. It is because there is not enough firewood that the
people in the villages are burning cow dung and crop residues that are
good source of organic manures. By burning them the soil loses the fertility
that could have been incorporated had they been used as manures.
The scarcity of fuel wood can only be solved by allotting land in all
villages for fuel-wood and energy crop plantation in a scientific and
systematic planning and peoples participation as a long-term strategy
for meeting the fuel-wood requirement. This way every village can generate
more than enough fuel wood for themselves as well as supply the fuel-wood
to the nearest urban centers and earn sustainable livelihood for the
entire village community and future generation. Plantation of appropriate
trees would also improve the local ecology and regenerate the micro-agro-eco-system
and conserve the environment. The planting of trees will also generate
organic matter for the improvement of the physical and chemical properties
of the soil protect erosion and washing away fertile top soil from and
improve the water holding capacity of the entire village land.