Sustainable woodfuel

Woodfuel is the main source of energy for cooking for over 60% of households in Sub-Saharan Africa, contributing to the food security and nutritional needs of millions of people. Due to the lack of alternative energy sources and growing charcoal demand from urban centers, woodfuel production is expected to increase in the coming decades. The sector provides income to millions of people, including small-scale producers and collectors, traders, transporters and sellers, who rely on woodfuel revenues for their livelihoods. Despite its socioeconomic importance, woodfuel production and trade is still a mostly informal sector. It is not organized, it has weak or inadequate legal frameworks, and it contributes little to government revenues. The lack of woodfuel governance, in combination with increasing demand, results in unsustainable wood harvesting that causes forest degradation and greenhouse gas emissions. In contrast, sustainable woodfuel value chains can positively contribute to livelihoods, by household income from trade and a secure supply of cooking fuel, while mitigating negative environmental impacts.

There is a need for an integrated approach to woodfuel value chain dynamics that consider multiple functions of forest-agricultural landscapes and outcomes for livelihoods and forest governance. CIFOR aims to contribute to knowledge, options and networks for more sustainable woodfuel value chains across Sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on Cameroon and the Congo Basin region, Zambia, and Kenya, with extensions into neighboring countries regarding cross-border trade.


How charcoal producers are restoring Zambia’s Miombo woodlands

COVID-19 makes it harder for charcoal producers and traders to make ends meet

La ville de Kisangani doit augmenter la disponibilité de foyers améliorés et d’options d’énergie de cuisson durables, selon un nouveau rapport

Lessons from Zambia on promoting sustainable wood fuel management

Women entrepreneurs in DRC recover waste wood to produce clean cooking fuel

Supporting charcoal makers to protect the Congo Basin forests

Five things to know about briquettes and sustainable bioenergy in Africa

La radio : Un outil pour sensibiliser à l’importance de l’utilisation des foyers améliorés à l’Est du Cameroun

Why almost half the global population lacks clean and sustainable energy for cooking

Event – Sustainable woodfuel value chains in Africa: Governance, social, economic and ecological dimensions

Seeking solutions for sustainable charcoal production in Kenya’s Mau forest

Humanitarian and environmental organizations call for …

Kenya has been trying to regulate the charcoal sector: why it’s not working

Event – Displaced people in multifunctional landscapes in Central Africa: Challenges …

International Day of Women & Girls in Science 2021 – Beyond the Borders: Equality in Science for Society

Empowering refugees and host communities to protect Cameroon’s forests

Firewood collection a heavier burden for women in refugee settings

Linking restoration with sustainable wood fuel initiatives in the Sahelian Far North Region of Cameroon

Circular economy is the future of wood fuel production in Cameroon

Securing the future of mangroves through sustainable wood fuel management

Under fire: Five facts about wood fuel in sub-Saharan Africa

Unlocking the power of entrepreneurship to promote local …

The heat is on: Managing wood fuel sustainably in sub-Saharan Africa

Event: Sustainable wood-fuel value chains for food security in Sub …

How can clean stoves contribute to food security in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Transforming Kenya’s invasive ‘mathenge’ bushes into charcoal farms

How tree growing can mitigate the environmental impact of displacement

Domestic policies alone can’t tackle wood fuel challenges

Drought fuels charcoal boom in Zambia

Forestry delegates call for a regional approach to charcoal governance

Gestion des déchets : les entreprises de Douala sensibilisées

CIFOR to host regional workshop on woodfuel policies

Women’s place in Africa’s growing charcoal sector

Realizing the potential of sustainable wood fuel value chains

It takes a village to restore Africa’s degraded land

GML to participate at Global Landscapes Forum in Accra

Awareness-raising materials

Flyer – carbonization training (DRC)

Download: French

Calendar 2020 – Plantations (DRC)

Download: French, Swahili, Lingala

Calendar 2020 – Improved cookstoves (Cameroon)

Download: French

Calendar 2020 – Improved cookstoves’ health benefits (Cameroon)

Download: French

Calendar 2020 – Sustainable charcoal (Cameroon)

Download: French

Poster – Tree nursery (DRC)

Download: French, Swahili, Lingala

Poster – Charcoal production from sawmill waste (DRC)

Download: French

Postcard – Regional challenges

Download: English, French

Related publications



Project map


Interventions with refugee communities in Cameroon’s East Region


Intervention site in Manoka Island, Cameroon


Developing options for more sustainable woodfuel value chains in Sub-Saharan Africa


Knowledge, options and engagement for more sustainable woodfuel value chains


Training of Trainers (ToT) on Sustainable Prosopis Juliflora Woodfuel Production and Utilization in Baringo County, Kenya


The burning questions about Africa’s wood fuel


Regional overview of cross border