Rwanda aspires to become a
developed climate-resilience, low- carbon economy by 2050, as stated in the Rwanda National Strategy on Climate
Change and Low Carbon Development.
Several objectives were established to achieve this goal, including social protection, improved health and disaster risk reduction that reduces vulnerability to climate change.
To contribute to this noble cause, the Belgian development agency (Enabel) together with Rwanda Forestry Authority (RFA) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are implementing a Sweden-funded project COMBIO - Reducing vulnerability to climate change through enhanced community-based biodiversity conservation in the Eastern Province of Rwanda.
The 7-year project, led by the Rwanda Ministry of Environment, aims to increase biodiversity and restore degraded land in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. Enabel is implementing a component related to the establishment and operationalization of 21 Community Biodiversity Sanctuaries (CBS) that spread across the whole seven Districts of Eastern Province.
The Sanctuaries size varies between 10 to 20 hectares and for this year, 7 of them have already been chosen to be developed.
To achieve this, 45 indigenous tree species have been grown into 7 nurseries distributed in the 7 Districts of the Province. Each community biodiversity sanctuary is an area specifically dedicated to the promotion of the use of native tree and shrub species locally adapted (soil and climate) and being important as well for the biodiversity support and the economic and social aspects of communities.
From June to end August 2023, 168,499 seedlings from 45 tree species have been germinated and are now ready for 2023 tree planting season. The rest is still germinating because indigenous tree species germinate at variable pace and rate. They include trees that are highly medicinal/pharmaceutical and ornamental.
In terms of agroecology, the growth of indigenous trees will surely contribute to the mitigation of the adverse effects of agricultural practices including alleviating the carbon emitted from Agricultural landscapes, reducing erosion, and protecting soils and their associated micro-fauna.