Conservation of Biodiversity and Natural Resources and Climate Protection by Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry at Cyamudongo Forest (Rwanda)
As of: March 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 each and around 9,800 participants have been trained.
- With the completion of the sixth planting season in spring 2020, around 1,000,000 tree seedlings have been planted so far and around 5,000 hectares of agricultural land have been converted into agroforestry systems.
- In January 2019 the second of three planned workshops for representatives of the two main partners, Rwanda Development Board (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.
- On the last day of the autumn 2019 planting season, the Vice Mayor of Rusizi District joined the planting team in Nyarushishi and emphasised the importance of the Cyamudongo forest in her address to the people. 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.
- In July 2019, a new work package "Strengthening the capacities of the National Seed Centre and the Arboretum" was launched; in September 2019, the monitoring of biodiversity in the Arboretum started. Since January 2020, two employees of the seed centre have been supported in their Master's studies with a study scholarship.
- In November 2019, a field trip for Bachelor students of the University of Rwanda to the arboretum took place. The project gave an introduction to the ecology of native trees and herbaceous plants of Rwanda, especially orchids.