Centre for Development Studies

Urban growth, domestic fuel choices and sustainable forestry in Kano, Nigeria

September 2010 - September 2013

Principle Investigator:

Project Team:

  • Roy Maconachie (CDS) - University of Bath, UK
  • Reginald Cline-Cole (Centre for West African Studies) - University of Birmingham, UK

Funding Body: Department for International Development (DfID)

Total Value of Award: £60,000

Project Rationale and Aims:

Overall population growth, increased urbanisation, expanding energy demands and intensified natural resource use in the region around Kano, northern Nigeria’s largest city, have combined to stimulate recent changes in the production, management and consumption of woody vegetation and crop residue for woodfuel. This project will explore how these changes have shaped energy and natural resource practices over the last 25 years, by updating seminal research on woodfuel and related livelihood activity undertaken by two of the partners in the 1980s. This will involve assessing the direct relevance of new findings for energy, landscape and regional development policy/practice; and evaluating the implications for ongoing debates around sustainable development, attainment of the MDGs and global climate change.

A second, and equally important, objective of the project will involve strengthening existing, and establishing new relationships between all partners, in addition to building capacity in the Geography Department at BUK by engaging staff and students in an academic collaboration with valuable policy implications for sustainable urban planning, natural resource management and household energy decision-making.

Anticipated outcomes include improved understanding of the social relations and institutions mediating access to tree/shrub/woodfuel resources, and the proactive contribution of academic/applied research to policy processes and livelihood intervention.

Project Outputs and Impact:


  1. Joint research publications and conference presentations; policy and press briefings; censuses of agro-forestry practices (particularly tree and shrub propagation and exploitation techniques), woodfuel use and conservation practices, and woodfuel and forestry knowledge transmission traditions; GIS maps.
  2. University programmes at BUK updated and courses revised/expanded to include research- and enquiry-based learning, and transferable skills acquisition relevant to country needs.
  3. Professional development and staff training, to include preparation of project impact statements, and greater appreciation of the potential of academic and applied research in public debate and policy formulation/implementation.

Impact (changes in attitudes, practice, behaviour):

  1. More sophisticated awareness of the role of social relations and institutions (e.g. gender, age, ethnicity), and geographical location, in mediating access to, control over, and use of tree/shrub and woodfuel resources, among others; their complex links to domestic fuel choice/use, livelihood dynamics and landscape change; and the implications of this nexus for equitable policy/planning intervention.
  2. Much greater appreciation of the need for an informed, enabling and diverse intervention space, and value of responsive policy processes benefiting inter alia from proactive academic and applied research input (e.g. GIS maps for monitoring tree cover change and informing land use allocation).

For more information about this project please contact:

Name: Dr Roy Maconachie
Title: Reader
Department: Dept of Social and Policy Sciences
Location: 3 East 3.28
E-mail: r.maconachie@bath.ac.uk
Phone: work+44 (0) 1225 384524

Or visit the project website hosted by Bayero University Kano, Nigeria