Firewood species diversity and consumption pattern in Kais Wildlife Sanctuary of Himachal Pradesh: implication for conservation.
Fuelwood is only priceless and easy source of energy for the peoples of the mountain region. Little information is available on availability of firewood resources, extraction, etc. Therefore, the present study was carried out to investigate fuelwood diversity, preference, consumption and availability in the forests of Kais Wildlife Sanctuary. Thirty five species (22 trees and 13 shrubs) were collected for fuel by the inhabitants. Total collection and species preference were highest for Cedrus deodara, Picea smithiana, Pinus wallichiana, Alnus nitida, Aesculus indica and Berberis lycium, respectively. Per capita consumption of fuel wood varied from 2.56 kg day-1capita-1 to 4.17 kg day-1capita-1 and average wood consumption was recorded 3.55 kg day-1capita-1. In addition to native species, some non-native species such as Ulmus villosa, Malus pumila, Prunus cornuta, Celtis australis, etc. were used as fuel. The available stock of the species within the forest communities is relatively low. It is observed that if the current trend of fuelwood consumption continues in the communities, there will be shortage of fuelwood in future. Therefore, precise management of preferred species in forests and plantation in degraded, barren and margin land would not only benefit local communities but also, help in conserving natural resource.