“The concept of caring for our environment, particularly our forests, is not a new one. However, what is new is the fact that we know more about the role of our forests in our daily life. Now the focus must be on working together with community and prepare great programmes to actively increase forest cover in Rwanda”_ Claudien HABIMANA
The government of Rwanda through the vision 2020 recognizes that the development of the forestry sector is a National priority. In this context the national forestry areas must be significantly increased and reach 30 % of the national territory by 2020 while the Agroforestry system must be increased and reach 85% of the cultivated space
The Ministry of Natural Resources in cooperation with PAREF projects play a crucial role in increasing Rwanda Forest cover by protecting and preserving Rwanda’s forests and implementing principle activities include: the management, protection and restoration of the country’s ecosystems and forest, and ensuring that Rwanda’s economic growth is based on a rational use of resources including Forests.
HABIMANA Claudien, the project coordinator, highlighted that PAREF aims at making Rwandan Forestry one of the pillars of the National economy and ecological viability. “The implementation of the National Forest policy contributes to the poverty reduction, economic growth and Environmental protection” highlighted HABIMANA,
“PAREF is proud to be the partner in the national economic growth, he said, for many who want to be part in forestry or in tree-related issues, the project gives them Information on forests which is essential for the implementation of Rwanda environmental policies as forests play a key role in aspects related to the protection of Rwanda’s ecosystems, biodiversity, the sustainable use of natural resources, carbon sequestration and climate change” PAREF project coordinator added.
As explained by PAREF project coordinator, Rwanda’s Forest ecosystems deliver a vast array of products and services to the society. Perhaps the most famous product from the forest is wood, which also has an enormous diversity of applications and purposes, such as construction purposes, furniture and fuel. But apart from that there is a large number of non-timber forest products, like medicinal plants, honey, fruits and bush meat. The availability, the use and the importance of these products varies per region and per culture. In many cases they form an important part of the diet, like proteins from animal products. Most often the poorest and vulnerable part of society depends very much on the forest. This group can also revert to the forest resources in periods when their conditions get worse – the forest is then functioning as a safety net.
He added that apart from concrete products, forests also deliver all kind of Ecosystem Services. Forests play an important role in the global and local water cycle. The specific role very much depends on the local circumstances and conditions and also on the forest type itself.
“Positive effects of forest are attracting rain water, purification of water and regulation of water flows. In areas with relief trees protect the soil against erosion. Interventions are required to stop deforestation, forest fragmentation, forest degradation but also climate change. There is a lot of uncertainty with respect to the effect of climate change on biodiversity, but it is clear that it is an important stress factor for ecosystems” Habimana said.
Funded by the Government of Rwanda, Kingdom of Belgium and Kingdom of Netherlands, PAREF(Projet d’ Apuit à la Reforestation ) is a project that provide Afforestation programs in order to create a vibrant, healthy local ecology that ensure a sustainable management of Forest for sustainable growth of country’s economy.
The ongoing project of PAREF are found in 15 districts of Rwanda namely Gakenke, Gicumbi, Rulindo, Burera, Musanze in Northern part of Rwanda, Bugesera, Kirehe, Ngoma in Eastern province, and Karongi, Nyabihu, Ngororero, Nyamasheke, Rubavu, Rusizi and Rutsiro in Western province.