CASE STUDY DETAIL: El Salvador, national


El Salvador, national

Project time



Estimate the amount of fuelwood extracted on a non-renewable basis within a geographic context in El Salvador.

Institutional settings

National University of Mexico (UNAM)


Minimum Administrative Unit: County (2270 units-named “cantones”)

Demand features

Fuelwood demand was calculated for all consuming sectors in the country: Residential (rural and urban); Schools (rural and urban); Small-industries: a) Bakeries, b) Coffee processing, c) Brick and Tile kilns, d) Lime Kilns, e) Salt production, f) Charcoal production, g) Traditional sugarcane processing, h) Pottery kilns, i) Traditional breweries and distilleries; Commercial: a) Tortillerias, b) Pupuserías and c) restaurants (using only fuelwood as wood for charcoal was already counted). A sample pool of 107 ground-truthing points was surveyed for validating demand assumptions and the accessibility model. Mixed users number and per capital consumptions were estimated as a function of a) income, b) a “rurality” index, and c) proximity to the national coffee-fuelwood commercial chain, through main roads, cities and fuelwood consuming small-industries..

Supply features

A 2002 Land Cover map from a classification of Landsat imagery under the Corine Land Cover Methodology was linked to a very detailed and comprehensive review of fuelwood productivity estimates by land cover class: (67 references cited, out of more than 350 reviewed).

Integration features

Mapping of supply/demand balances at three adminsitrative levels: department (state), municipality and county.

Woodshed/bio-shed analysis

Not implemented

Integration with other aspects

Not implemented


The study helped identified several hotspots. Most critical situations occur west from San Salvador. However, the detailed analysis showed localized critical situations all over the country. Deforestation rates in the country are alarming, being fuelwood extraction a main cause only within circumscribed protected areas of native forest and mangroves. This pattern responds mostly to legal restrictions to access fuelwood supply areas, that pushes the rural poor and brick kilns over remaining accessible and relatively open woody biomass resources. Over these areas, between 50% and 90% of fuelwood consumption is extracted from remaining stocks, instead of harvesting only annual increments.


Ghilardi A. In press. Estimation of the fraction of non-renewable fuelwood in the residential and institutional sectors in El Salvador..