Fuelwood use patterns in Rural Mexico: a critique to the conventional energy transition model

Peer Reviewed
30 November 2018

Montserrat Serrano-Medrado, Adrián Ghilardi, Omar Masera, , ,

This article presents an historical account of patterns of household fuelwood use in Mexico from 1960 until the present. The results of scenarios outlining the likely evolution of future fuelwood use according to different socio-demographic and technological variables are offered up to 2030 along with the expected environmental impacts. Mexico is an interesting case as it went from importing oil to becoming an oilexporting country during the historical period under analysis and the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) intensified in the residential sector. However, rather than exhibiting a sharp decline in fuelwood use, as would be expected from the energy transition model, we observe that fuelwood use has remained almost constant for more than 40 years. In fact, rather than completely switching to LPG, a large portion of rural and small-town households adopted a fuel-stacking strategy, combining both fuels on a long-term basis. We conclude by examining the implications of the current patterns of fuelwood use and fuel-stacking in terms of future fuelwood consumption, numbers of users and emissions of greenhouse gases.


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Publication reference
Serrano-Medrado, M., Ghilardi, A., & Masera, O. (2018). Fuelwood use patterns in Rural Mexico: a critique to the conventional energy transition model. Historia Agraria. Revista de Agricultura e Historia Rural, (77), 81–104. doi:10.26882/histagrar.077e04s

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Publication | 28 June 2020