Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 67 ›› Issue (2): 221-229.doi: 10.11821/xb201202008

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The Influencing Factors of Rural Household Energy Consumption Structure in Mountainous Areas of Southwest China: A Case Study of Zhaotong City of Yunnan Province

LIANG Yutian1,2, FAN Jie1, SUN Wei1, HAN Xiaoxu1, MA Hailong3, SHENG Kerong1, XU Yong1, WANG Chuansheng1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China;
    3. Shandong University of Technology, Zibo 255049, Shandong, China
  • Received:2011-01-10 Revised:2011-10-25 Online:2012-02-20 Published:2012-02-20
  • Supported by:
    NationalNatural Science Foundation of China, No.40830741; No.40701044

Abstract: No-commercial energy like firewood and straw is the basic livelihood asset on which the rural households in poverty-stricken and mountainous areas rely. Over-harvesting firewood is one of the dominant factors for soil erosion and deforestation in ecologically frangible region. Mountainous areas of Southwest China are poverty-stricken areas and ecologically frangible region as well. This study investigates the rural energy consumption characteristics by 946 survey questionnaires in the city of Zhaotong, Yunnan Province, Southwest China. Overall, coal is the dominant energy, and the second is by non-commercial or traditional energy such as firewood and straw, followed by electricity and biogas utilization. Meanwhile, energy consumption structure of rural households displays a marked spatial distribution, with coal dominated at flat river valley areas and firewood concentrated in mountainous areas. Moreover, this study also analyzes the factors affecting the proportion of non-commercial and commercial energy consumption by the Tobit model. The results show that (1) Firewood and straw consumption is affected mainly by the per-capita forest land and per-capita arable land, while coal is subject to price, availability and accessibility. (2) With the increase of per-capita income, the proportion of the non-commercial energy would decline while the proportion of coal and electric energy would rise. However, it is difficult for poverty-stricken areas such as mountainous areas of Southwest China to upgrade the energy consumption structure due to living assets shortage and low income. (3) Development of education and expansion of employment in non-agricultural industry are helpful for households in this region to reduce the proportion of traditional energy and increase the proportion of commercial energy consumption. Only in this way can their energy consumption structure be changed.

Key words: rural household energy, consumption structure, mountainous areas of Southwest China, Tobit model