Five reputable international bodies have recently asserted that the use of ‘traditional’ woody biomass energy is not sustainable and they propose steps to substitute alternative non-polluting fuels/devices. No evidence for this assertion was presented. The production of terrestrial net primary production was examined: this indicated that there was a large surplus of biomass to meet demands. The growth and yield of aboveground woody biomass by country and region was calculated using conservative estimates of supply based on FAO's published data. This was then compared to generous estimates of demand. It was found that in every region of the world, especially in developing countries, there is a considerable surplus compared to demand. Rather than curtailing the use of biomass energy it should be expanded, principally through the efforts of the rural poor as an input to foster sustainable development and assist poverty alleviation.
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Vol. 13 • No. 4