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This study investigated the biomass patterns and sustainability of fuelwood extraction in the Lowveld of South Africa, where rural households are highly dependent on fuelwood from savannas. The objectives of this study were (i) to compare LiDAR-derived biomass between communal areas and references sites in conservation areas, and (ii) to investigate the sustainability of various future scenarios of fuelwood consumption, using a village-specific, supply-and-demand model based on biomass maps and socio-economic data. On granitic substrates the communal rangelands had an average of 12 ton/ha, which is less than half the biomass of the conservation sites. Under the current rate fuelwood consumption, i.e. 67% of households using fuelwood exclusively at an average of 3.5 ton per household per year, all biomass in the investigated site would be depleted within twelve years. Therefore, policies and interventions that promote the diversification of affordable energy alternatives and rural economic development are desperately needed.