This paper examines ethnic differences in fuelwood consumption in rural households, using an original survey dataset from two western Chinese provinces with large ethnic minority populations. We use a Heckman two-step selection model to explain the quantity of fuelwood consumed conditional on a decision to use fuelwood at all. We find that ethnic minority families are more likely than majority Han Chinese families to use fuelwood. We also find that a household’s off-farm income has a stronger negative effect on the quantity of fuelwood consumed for the ethnic minority families than for the Han Chinese families. In addition, families owning a larger area of forestland are more likely to use fuelwood. Yet, the quantity of fuelwood consumed, especially in ethnic minority families, does not increase with owned forestland. Moreover, we find that coal, rather than electricity, is a substitute for fuelwood for residential cooking and heating.
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