Assessment of the Extent and Causes of Fuelwood Collection in the Surrounding Communities of Kasewe Reserved Forest, Sierra Leone
Seven (7) communities living in and around the Kasewe forest reserved were sampled to assess the extent and causes of fuelwood collection from the reserved forest involving 50 individuals in stratified random technique with a view to evaluate the degree and reasons for fuelwood collection from the Kasewe reserved forest. Data obtained indicate a high frequency of fuelwood harvest in the forest throughout the year. The significant factors affecting such decisions were availability and accessibility, ensure fast cooking process, and cost-effective. In addition, fuelwood activities were intensive throughout the year but peaks late dry season. Hence 48 (96%) of respondents stated forest degradation as one of the significant threats posed by fuelwood collectors to the forest. The study indicates that 100% of the collector are unemployed this was mainly the reason why residents of those communities collect fuelwood from the reserved forest. However, this study concluded that fuelwood collectors were selective over the kind of species they harvest, but the preferred species were not replanted. Fuelwood in the study area is not restricted to domestic use as it is also sold to augment local income. The sale of fuelwood is probably the biggest threat to sustainable utilization of fuelwood and the forest. Therefore, this study recommends that alternatives sources of livelihood and energy be created, among other recommendations for resident communities that will reduce the frequency of harvest from the forest.