The Gishwati Area Conservation Program (GACP) will fund a 647 acre reforestation project in Kinyenkanda-Rutsiro District in a bid to save a group of chimpanzees in the area.
The surrounding hillsides that have also been devastated by landslides and severe soil erosion will also benefit from the initiative.
“Kinyenkanda must be reforested. This will stabilize the hillsides and reduce erosion into the Sebeya River, helping to restore its clarity and economic usefulness,” said Dr Benjamin Beck the director of GACP.
“Since Kinyenkanda has been added to the Gishwati National Conservation Park, reforestation will provide additional habitat for the 14 chimpanzees and other animals that live in the Park, “he added.
The erosion also contaminates Sabeya River posing a health hazard to the local population.
“The Sebeya is not only an important source of drinking water for local residents, but it also provides hydroelectric power,” Dr. Beck underscored.
The core of Kinyenkanda will be planted with native trees while a 100 meter buffer zone will be planted with fast-growing non-native trees that can be harvested by local residents for fuel wood and charcoal.