While energy consumption surveys have shown a very high level of firewood consumption, various forest departments have shown very low levels of legal firewood production. A survey carried out by the National Council of Applied Economic Research has thrown up numerous doubts about our long-held perceptions about rural energy consumption patterns. Anil Agarwal reviewed the recent trends regarding firewood consumption, its impact on environment and possible changes in the sources of fuelwood supply. His findings confirm that there is no truth in the belief that rural folk would ultimately denude the forests. Three experts respond to the issues raised by him.
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