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Dos por Tres stoves help prevent degradation of the forest and environment.
When families use about half the typical amount of wood, they save a carga* of wood or a minimum of 60 pounds of wood a week.
This equates to substantial monetary savings or savings of time and effort spent gathering wood. And, a Dos por Tres can be made to run even more cheaply than a traditional stove by supplementing wood fuel with agricultural waste such as corncobs and stalks.
If a family buys wood, they will primarily use the savings to buy food.
As forests degrade, families go further afield spending about a day week on wood collection. This has an opportunity cost, especially during busy agricultural periods. And, women and children who carry wood are vulnerable to injuries from falls or from carrying too much weight.
Even this relatively small reduction in woodcutting for cooking can help make forests more sustainable.
Proyecto Mirador operates in the Western Honduran highland region. The uplands are covered mainly with Central American Pine trees and the lowlands with tropical dry forests, of which very little remains, making the region a threatened tropical ecosystem. With more than 37.1% of its forests disappearing since 1990, rural Honduras is a significant contributor to global climate change.
Studies of Copan, in the same Honduran highlands where Proyecto Mirador is working, indicate that the mismanaged clearing of a pine forest for fuel wood purposes led to accelerated rates of erosion and the collapse of the Mayan State (Springer Netherlands, "Causes and consequences of deforestation among the pre-historic Maya," Human Ecology, 12/29/04). Jared Diamond reaches a similar conclusion in his book Collapse. Other consequences of deforestation include ruined topsoil, an increased likelihood of mudslides, reduced biodiversity and decreasing rainfall.
Deforestation in Honduras has averaged 250,000 acres annually due to illegal logging, clearing for agriculture, and the gathering of wood for kitchen fires. If each of the 500,000 rural homes in Honduras had a Dos por Tres fuel efficient stove, these dramatic numbers could be reduced.
*NOTE: A carga is the typical measurement for a bundle of wood and is equal to 1 medium-sized tree or about 80 sticks of wood, 1 ½ inches in diameter, 30 inches or longer.