As an essential factor for sustainable development, energy plays a very important role in sustaining a modern lifestyle, particularly in poor rural areas. Considering that farmers' livelihood in such areas is enormously dependent on services provided by environmental resources, it makes sense to investigate the relationships and interactions between farming households' livelihood strategies and their energy consumption. The findings and outcomes would be expected to contribute to the body of knowledge and benefit local policy-making toward sustainable transformation in the long run. Taking Gannan as an example, this study employed a participatory rural appraisal approach, with first-hand data mainly from field surveys, using a stratified random sampling method to illustrate the influence of farmers' livelihood strategies for household energy consumption in the eastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China. Seven townships in Gannan were covered, three of them in pure pastoral areas, two in farming-pastoral areas, and two in farming areas. From these, 230 households were selected as study samples, with a valid return of 217 questionnaires, among which 78 came from pure pastoral areas, 60 from farming-pastoral areas, and 79 from farming areas. The results show that livelihood has a significant impact on farmers' household energy consumption patterns, and increasing family income level and education level and improving the availability of commodity energy resources will help farmers reduce the proportion of biomass energy consumption and increase the proportion of commodity energy consumption. Furthermore, measures such as developing nonagricultural industries, improving the energy infrastructure, and enhancing farmers' energy-saving awareness should be seriously considered to optimize farmers' living energy consumption patterns in these poverty-stricken and eco-frangible regions. © 2018 by the authors.