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Rwanda planting 30 million trees to save environment

Rwanda, which is in the middle of a rainy season, launched a tree planting program to protect the environment and ecosystems. Community members are expected to plant 30 million trees in the monthly Umuganda exercises.

Rwandans last week began planting trees in a season long program to plant over 30 million trees across the country, to protect the environment and ecosystems.

The country, which is in the middle of a rainy season, says the tree planting program is part of efforts to prevent soil erosion and land degradation, rehabilitate forests and provide a source of fuelwood.

Dr. Vincent Biruta, Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources, said, “I encourage all Rwandans to plant as many trees as they can to help prevent erosion and rehabilitate our natural forests,” KT Press reported.

Some of the trees planted today. About 30 million trees are scheduled to be planted during this season Photo: KT Today

According to Rwanda’s Natural Resources Authority (RNRA), as part of the program:

  • The planting season targets to use 66,000 hectares across the country representing 2.5 percent of the country’s total surface area.
  • New forest woodlots will be planted on 7,818 hectares.
  • Over 49,000 hectares of agroforestry systems will be planted.
  • 40,000 fruit trees will be planted in the districts of Nyagatare, Ngoma and Kamonyi
  • Bamboo trees are being planted in gullies to help rehabilitate degraded land across affected zones.
  • Trees are also being planted to rehabilitate forests on 1,010 hectares of public land.

According to KT Press, this year’s tree planting season, which was launched in Gatsibo District is running under the theme, ‘efficient use of biomass energy to safeguard our forests’.

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A public official planting a Tree in Nyamagabe district during Umuganda, a monthly community exercise KT Today

Statistics indicate that 98.5 percent of households in Rwanda use fuel wood and charcoal, and to encourage people to use less wood and charcoal for cooking, vulnerable residents of Gatsibo District were given 19,000 improved cook stoves.

The Rwandan government is also encouraging its citizens to explore alternative sources of energy such as gas and solar and to reduce using charcoal.

Deforestation in Bhutan (file). World Bank/Curt Carnemark Photo: UN

Meanwhile, the impacts of climate change on forests and agriculture were in the spotlight at the ongoing United Nations climate change conference (COP21) and various stakeholders voiced their environmental concerns.

At the COP21 discussions held yesterday, “new alliances among organizations and stakeholders were announced aiming to eliminate natural deforestation and forest degradation, and to prevent threats to sustainable farming and people’s livelihoods,” the UNnoted. The UN highlighted the need to protect forests and agriculture to improve livelihoods.

Source: KT Press

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