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.
provided with efficient cookstoves, reducing household fuel costs and improving livelihoods
as families are less exposed to indoor air pollution
a task often assigned to women
installed in households, providing a more sustainable energy
mitigated on average annually, by more efficient resource use
used, alleviating pressure on surrounding giant panda habitat
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.
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.
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.
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.
3,900+ installed stoves later, the project is working! 600+ hectares of forest has been saved each year. Read the full story.