Forests as a source of energy are important in many countries, especially in rural
areas in sub-Saharan African countries, where the availability of wood fuel is literally a
necessity for survival.
These countries rely heavily on wood as a source of energy, especially for heating and
cooking, and most of them are struggling to maintain their forests in the face of growing
populations and weak economies.
The Mau Forest Complex sits within Kenya’s Rift Valley and is the largest indigenous
montane forest in East Africa, but human activity, including agriculture, logging, and
settlement construction, has reduced the Mau Forest to a quarter of what it once was,
disrupting the forest’s role in storing and distributing water to outlying areas.
This study aims at evaluating energy access and the impact of biogas harnessing for
home cooking on Mau forest conservation and communities living next to the forest and
proposing appropriate recommendations.
The area of study was in southwestern Mau, where data collection was done in the regions of
Chebangang, Nyangores, Londiani, and Olenguruone.
Data collection was facilitated by use of the HEDERA collect mobile app
with an in-built questionnaire.
The results obtained were generalized to represent the whole Mau Complex.
Electricity sources and cooking fuels were evaluated using the Multi-Tier Framework
Ninety percent of the electricity sources used by the population were categorized in Tier 1,
while 37.6% of cooking fuels used by the population were categorized in Tier 1 and Tier 2.
Knowledge of biogas technology was found to be very low, with only 24% of the
population knowledgeable about it.
With a Pearson coefficient of 0.85, the relationship between the level of education and
choice of cookstove was concluded to be independent.
Analyzing energy demand in the region based on the Business-As-Usual scenario (BAU), cooking
energy demand will triple by the year 2040, and firewood will remain the primary cooking
fuel, thus putting pressure on forest resources.
It was concluded that adoption of biogas technology in the region will promote livestock
intensification and reduce household firewood use by half.
It was recommended that priority be given to awareness campaigns on modern cookstoves and
biogas technology in the region. County governments, national government ministries in
charge of rural electrification, and non-governmental organizations in the region should be
the major stakeholders in creating awareness.
Keywords: Multi-Tier Framework, HEDERA, biogas technology, energy demand, LEAP