Rwanda’s forests support a wealth of biodiversity and natural resources. The Gishwati-Mukura forests of Rwanda once spanned 253,000 hectares, covering the land with over 60 species of trees and providing habitat to chimpanzees. Due to illegal mining and the resettlement of households after the genocide in 1994, overgrazing and tree cutting reduced the forests to a mere 3,558 ha. Smallholder farmers feel the impacts of that degradation and understand the importance of landscape restoration for water, energy and food security. This project will help a women’s cooperative, led by local farmer Agnes Uwifashije, to revive land in Mukura.
For this project, our amazing partners at ARCOS (Albertine Rift Conservation Society) will mentor and build the skills of 2,000 farmers to restore land while improving community livelihoods. Planting trees will help add nutrients to soil while controlling run-off and erosion. When properly managed, these trees will provide the local farmers with firewood, climbing bean poles, and fodder for their animals. For food security and income generation, farmers will plant avocado, lemon, and tree tomatoes.