Skip to main content

Construction wood markets in four African towns - competing demands for renewable natural resources in the context of rapid urbanisation


The main objectives are to:
* Examine the patterns of demand for construction wood in fast growing African cities.
* Establish the structure and dynamics of construction wood markets, the wood supply networks and the agents involved.
* Assess the sustainability of current patterns of exploitation of wood for urban markets.
* Examine the way in which government environmental policies interact with fiscal and other policies and affect the agents in construction wood networks.
* Assess the ecological, economic and policy circumstances under which tree growing for construction wood becomes profitable policies that encourage its growth.
* Identify circumstances and policies which both promote the sustainable management of natural resources (wood) and facilitate the provision of affordable building materials to rapidly urbanising areas.
Expected Outcome

The work carried out in this project should provide an understanding of construction wood markets, networks and the agents involved in them. This will provide a basis for the critique of the efficacy of existing policies (environmental, forestry, construction, urban, housing, etc.) in their regulation of agents' behaviour and in providing incentives to promote sustainable development. The project should contribute to providing a sound basis for recommendations to the policy community on how to intervene effectively to achieve critical development objectives including the more rational use of forest resources, protection of endangered environments, stimulation of tree planting and improved access to affordable building materials. When dealing with policy recommendations the research will provide information on the likely distribution of policy impacts; thus it is implicitly recognised that policy inevitably creates 'winners' and 'losers' within the aggregation of 'net benefits'.
The key activities envisaged are:
* Review of secondary sources containing information pertinent to the study
* Field research in at least four towns in Kenya and Tanzania, using rapid appraisal methods, to establish the uses of construction wood (defined to include furniture and fencing), the supply networks and agents, and prices and costs throughout the networks
* Development of a model of the construction wood supply networks in each town.
* Refinement and quantification of the model through more structured surveys of demand (mostly urban) and supply/extraction (mostly rural).
* Analysis of the way in which sectoral and/or general economic policies affect agents in the wood supply networks and the availability and price of construction wood.


South Bank University
Wandsworth Road
SW8 2JZ London
United Kingdom

Participants (3)

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
6,Johan Brauners V. 6
750 07 Uppsala
University of Dar Es Salaam

Dar Es-salaam
University of Nairobi

2 Nairobi