April 23, 2024

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What can we expect from TREPA project for the upcoming 2023/24 Tree Planting Season?

TREPA project employed both women and men to prepare the Tree Nurseries

By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU

Forests provide ecosystem services, such as timber, food, fuel, fodder, non-wood products and shelter – which are essential for human well-being. At the same time, they contribute to soil and water conservation, carbon storage and clean air. When forests are sustainably managed, they can be healthy, productive, resilient, and renewable ecosystems, which can thrive while at the same time providing essential goods and services to people of Rwanda countrywide.

It is for these causes that Rwanda has prioritised forests for more than ever. Following decades of deforestation, the country has taken decisions to strengthen protections for natural forests, plant new forests, increase agroforestry species, while promoting native and exotic species.

Today, 30.4% of the country is covered with forests (724,695 hectares).

As part of meeting this global commitment and protecting our environment, Rwanda is undertaking several initiatives to restore natural forests in collaboration with partners.

The Transforming Eastern Province of Rwanda (TREPA) project which is accredited to IUCN, is currently on course to restore degraded lands through sustainable forestry.

TREPA project was initiated in order to address the issue of the scarcity of forests in the Eastern part of Rwanda and enhance the quality of life for the local population. (PHOTO CREDIT: IUCN)

In an effort to combat deforestation and promote sustainable agriculture, the Ministry of Environment through Rwanda Forestry Authority in collaboration with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Belgian Development Agency (Enabel), CIFOR-ICRAF, World Vision, and Cordaid are gearing up to plant over eighteen thousand ha with native, exotic, and fruit trees in all seven districts of the Eastern Province, through Green Climate Fund funded project known as TREPA during 2023-2024.

Rwanda’s Eastern Province contains the largest area of national farming lands, but it is highly vulnerable to increasing drought. With smallholder farmers depending exclusively on rainfall, changes to weather seasonality including shorter and more intense rainy seasons have led to crop failure, and food shortages.

In response to these climate change threats, integrated adaptation measures are needed to enhance the resilience of the landscape in the Eastern Province, which will sustain the agricultural production and enable sustainable growth of the region in a manner that reduces poverty, increases resilience, and achieves food security.

TREPA project has been preparing tree seedlings to be planted during 2023/2024 tree planting season. (PHOTO CREDIT: IUCN)

According to the Ministry of Environment, during this year’s 2023-2024 Tree Planting Season, Rwanda will plant 63 million trees. This is where TREPA project among other projects will be contributing tremendously.

The focus will be made on native trees and agroforestry species, while simultaneously establishing new forests and restoring existing ones across all districts in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. By focusing on native trees and agroforestry species, the initiative not only addresses the issue of deforestation but also aims to improve food security and promote sustainable farming practices.

This approach will not only contribute to the restoration of the Eastern Province’s forests but will also provide a sustainable source of nutrition for local communities. Furthermore, agroforestry species will be strategically planted to enhance soil fertility, prevent erosion, and diversify agricultural practices in the region.

To ensure the restoration success, the IUCN have been conducting training programs for local farmers, educating them on sustainable land management practices and the benefits of agroforestry. Additionally, the organization will continue to monitor the progress of the newly planted trees and provide ongoing support to ensure their healthy growth.

In a recent call, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya urged the public to ensure that the planted trees are protected to their full growth.

The national tree planting season 2023-2024 is scheduled to commence on 28th Oct 2023 in Bugesera District, with the TREPA project aiming to plant millions of trees ( agroforestry, Silvopastoral, private forest management units (PMUs), roadsides, and buff zones of rivers and lakes in the Eastern Province. This initiative not only contributes to Rwanda’s commitment to combat climate change but also to ensure ecological functionality.

TREPA project, Combio project, AREECA project are on course to restore degraded landscapes into climate resilient ecosystems in the Eastern Part of Rwanda

In a recent call, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya urged the public to ensure that the planted trees are protected to their full growth.

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