Last weekend saw the start of the national tree planting campaign as this year targets in particular parts of the country with less trees than is average in the country. Rwanda presently has 22 percent of its territory under forest cover, a figure due to increase to 30 percent by the year 2020, and annual but also special campaigns are aimed to keep the population sensitized about the need in their own area to grew new trees and to accept that forests are a hugely important resource as water towers and for tourism purposes.
This correspondent, presently in Rwanda to get acquainted with the new Congo / Nile Trail which is due to be launched on Friday this week, was also able to see during his drive to Lake Kivus lakeside municipality of Kibuye, and along the entire trail in fact, that tree planting was evident in several areas along the route.
Rwanda intends to link the forest of Gishwati with other patches of forest towards Nyungwe National Park, to close gaps which developed in the past due to encroachment and deforestation, a trend now successfully countered. Of the countrys present three national parks two are forests, namely Nyungwe Forest National Park and the Parc de Volcanoes where the prized mountain gorillas live in the border triangle with Uganda and Congo. Both of these parks are hugely important for Rwandas tourism industry which in recent years has been growing well above global and regional average. Gishwati, presently a protected national forest reserve, is considered to be the next national park in the making, adding attractions and offering tourists yet more options where to go and what to do while in Rwanda. This is particularly significant as the new Congo Nile Trail is being launched, as the very first loop outside Gisenyi is in fact taking hikers and cyclists to Gishwati forest through the Pfunda Sub Trail.
For more information on Rwandas forests read Rwanda turns forests into tourism assets, Rwanda shines in conservation where her EAC partners falter and A visit to the enchanted Nyungwe Forest National Park