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WWF Clean Cookstoves

Working with WWF to protect giant panda habitat and improve health of Central China's mountain communities


For China's most isolated communities, cooking and heating needs are typically med through inefficient stoves, which also expose families to toxic indoor air pollution. The wood needed for cooking and heating typically comes from nearby forests; for decades, the deep mountain communities of Shaanxi's Ningshan County in Central China have collected their wood from the nearby Huangguanshan Nature Reserve, part of the Qinling Giant Panda conservation network, gradually degrading and encroaching on crucial giant panda habitat.

Cooking Stoves

Sustainable Development Goals

No Poverty

4,600 people

provided with efficient cookstoves, reducing household fuel costs and improving livelihoods

Good Health and Well-Being

Better health

as families are less exposed to indoor air pollution

Gender Equality

48% less time collecting firewood

a task often assigned to women

Affordable and Clean Energy

1,379 efficient cookstoves

installed in households, providing a more sustainable energy

Climate Action

8,000 tonnes of CO2e

mitigated on average annually, by more efficient resource use

Life on land

40-40% less wood

used, alleviating pressure on surrounding giant panda habitat

The Solution

By reconstructing or improving low-efficiency, built-in stoves, the project is creating healthier, more sustainable cooking and heating practices. The improved stoves are up to 70% more efficient, and normally contain two or three pots so all types of traditional meals can be cooked! The stoves will be distributed throughout the towns of Huangguan, Xingchang and Simudi.

Once widespread throughout southern and eastern China and even as far as Myanmar and northern Vietnam, pandas are now confined to around 20 isolated patches of bamboo forest in the country's mountain ranges.


Switching the traditional fuel-guzzling stoves with clean and modern solutions benefits the everyday life of these communities.


Strengthening partnerships: local stakeholders come together with the ancient Yi communities of southwestern China to improve lifestyle conditions for everyone.


Partnering with the WWF, the project protects China's beloved bear against its main threat; habitat loss.


The Impact

With the highly efficient cookstoves, families use significantly less wood to cook local Shaanxi dishes, which are known for their aromatic and spicy flavours. The project promotes more sustainable resource use, easing deforestation pressures on local giant panda habitat. The new stoves also feature chimneys that filter out toxic smoke, creating healthier kitchen environments, and the project alleviates much of the burden of wood chopping and collection. This frees up time for local residents to focus on more productive tasks, like looking after children or working for income.

Project Progress


Project Progress

Securing the future for people and pandas

WWF started researching the project in 2011 to deeply understand both environmental pressures and the needs of the local community prior to starting to design the project. A carefully-considered project was launched together with South Pole, installing clean-burning stoves in rural homes around precious panda habitat over the next 2 years.


Project Progress

Recognition of exceptional sustainable development benefits

The project completes its 3rd successful verification under the Gold Standard, one of the world's most rigorous carbon standards. The project's wide-reaching environmental and social impacts are measured and validated, for example, the 50-70% reduction in indoor smoke, these communities are less at risk of fatal respiratory diseases.


Project Progress

8 years on

3,900+ installed stoves later, the project is working! 600+ hectares of forest has been saved each year. Read the full story.

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