Conservation of Biodiversity and Natural Resources and Climate Protection by Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry at Cyamudongo Forest (Rwanda)
As of: September 2021
Cyamudongo is an area of montane rainforest in southwestern Rwanda. Although a key biodiversity area and protected as part of the Nyungwe National Park, the forest is threatened by unsustainable land use and advanced soil erosion. In light of this, the project is helping the local population living on the periphery of the national park to transition to sustainable agroforestry and forest restoration. These measures help to ensure security of supply for their food and power needs while avoiding land use pressure on the forest. Farmers who have received project training are planting 1.5 million saplings in the forest periphery. The resulting agroforestry systems and woodlands avoid the need for further logging in Cyamudongo itself, while also helping to integrate the forest with the adjacent main part of the national park. The project is also helping to anchor the importance of conservation as a policy goal while offering recommendations for action, and helping to train rangers, conservation agency staff and students.
State of implementation/results
- Since the beginning of the project, 119 information events have been held in the villages of the project region to inform about 7,400 participants about planned activities and opportunities for participation.
- The two one-day training courses on agroforestry, native tree species and planting techniques have so far been offered around 270 times. Due to COVID-19 requirements, the project has been working even more closely with multipliers since the fall 2020 planting season and offers training per household. So far, around 12,000 farmers have been trained.
- With the completion of the seventh planting season in autumn 2020, around 1,300,000 tree seedlings have been planted so far and around 5,900 hectares of agricultural land have been converted into agroforestry systems.
- In the work package "Strengthening the capacities of the National Seed Center and the Arboretum", four workshops and one lecture have been held so far, and eight interns have been trained in plant identification. Since January 2020, two employees of the Seed Center have been supported with a scholarship for their master's studies. In December 2020, the biodiversity survey in the arboretum was successfully completed.
- In cooperation with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), 14 one- to four-day training courses on phytodiversity, zoodiversity and biodiversity monitoring have been held so far, attended by a total of 146 national park staff.
- In October 2020, an online training was held to introduce the flora and fauna of the Cyamudongo Forest and methods of biodiversity monitoring. Trainers from the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany were involved, as well as rangers from RDB, students from the Integrated Polytechnic Regional College (IPRC), and staff from the Rwanda Tree Seed Center (RTSC) at two sites in Rwanda. Digital and online-based formats for training are currently being focused on.
- In January 2019 the second of three planned workshops for representatives of the two main partners, RDB and Rwanda Forestry Authority (RFA) took place. Discussed was the cooperation with local authorities, seed production of indigenous trees and the long-term sustainability of the project.
- In August 2019, the second of three excursions organised by the project for students of the IPRC-Kitabi and the University of Rwanda took place. After a guided tour through the Cyamudongo forest, the group visited a tree nursery by the project and learned about the establishment of agroforestry systems.
- Every year during the summer months, students in the project region are taught to be multipliers of the project idea on the topics "Importance of Forests", "Agriculture and Erosion" and "Agroforestry". Teaching was extended from three to six partner schools.
- On 21 March 2019 (International Forest Day), the project organised a painting competition at three project schools in cooperation with the RDB. The 30 winners of the competition were invited to participate in a guided excursion to the Cyamudongo forest in June/September 2019.
- In autumn 2018, the planting season was opened by the State Secretary of the Ministry for Lands and Forestry (MINILAF). Other guests of honor were the Director of the Tree Planting Unit of the RFA and the District Mayor of Rusizi.
- In June 2019, a campaign to combat the invasive species Solanum chrysotrichum in the Cyamudongo forest was started together with the RDB and successfully completed at the end of the year.