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Title: Role of Biogas in Easing Ecological Stress: A Study from Buffer Zones of Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve
Authors: Thapa, Sunil
Keywords: biodiversity conservatbiodiversity conservation;alternative energy;fuelwood;biogas;ecological stress
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: Department of Environmental Science
Institute Name: Central Department of Environmental Science
Level: Masters
Abstract: Promotion of alternative energy has been a major component of biodiversity conservation, as it reduces human pressure in the park and buffer zone forests for fuelwood collection. The study was carried out within the buffer zones of Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reserve to assess the role of biogas use in easing ecological. The information was collected using semi structured questionnaire, focus group discussion and key informant survey. Altogether 192 households were interviewed for the study, among which 96 households were having biogas plants. The average use of fuelwood among households without biogas was 3006.81+338.50 kg/HH/year whereas with biogas was1265.62+191.53 kg/HH/year, which showed significant reduction (Z= 43.86, p<0.0001) in fire wood consumption as source of energy. Furthermore, usage of kerosene was also significantly reduced by almost 39.81 % from 21.20+1.56 lt/HH/year to 13.25+1.17 lt/HH/year (Z= 39.94, p<0.0001).The another factor, chemical fertilizer, analyzed as one of the indicators of ecological stress was more among households with biogas (144.08+6.33 kg/ha/year) compared to households without biogas (127.82+6.05 kg/ha/year). Similarly, from the estimated fuel wood reduction, the equivalent protection of forest area was calculated as 0.053 ha per plant per year. And the total number of trees saved per year was calculated as 1113.6. The average number of cattle (4.39) in households with biogas was more than households without biogas (3.75). There is high potential for installation of biogas plants in households without biogas, which would reduce the pressure on reserve forest exerted by such households through fuelwood collection. The results were comparable to various other studies and showed that the alternative energy technology, especially biogas, has been able to reduce ecological pressure in terms of reduction of fuelwood and kerosene consumption. So, there is a need to minimize use or supplement traditional energy supply systems installed in household level by alternative forms of renewable energy like biogas to further conserve ecology of buffer zones.
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