Economics of Deforestation: Poverty, Inequality and Socio-Environmental Impacts of the Consumption of Firewood in Ecuador
We take the concept of the economics of deforestation to analyse the consumption of firewood in Ecuador during 2018. We identify poor rural populations as being at risk, since the incomplete burning of firewood generates emissions of CO2 that can reach levels that are harmful to their health. We calculate that 95% of the impacts associated with the consumption of firewood are concentrated in rural areas, most of them in poverty conditions: the deforestation of 5,935 hectares, the emission of 1,317.38 Gg of CO2 and 94.58 Gg of CO due to the consumption of 782.08 Gg of firewood. We suggest an energy policy based on solidarity to reduce health risks for these communities, which in turn will enable other impacts to be mitigated. However, it will be necessary to include specific policies for commercial, industrial and productive uses of firewood, where about 65% of firewood consumption and its impacts are concentrated.
Key words: Economics of deforestation, Inequity, Poverty, Consumption of firewood, Socio-environmental impacts, Ecuador.
JEL: D63, Q57, R21.