To mark the World Nature Conservation Day celebrated annually on July 28, The New Times revisited 10 indigenous trees on the verge of extinction which Rwanda is restoring. The country is planning to plant more trees, of which 40 per cent must be indigenous tree species. Ficus thoningii According to the State of Environment and Outlook Report 2021, Ficus thonningii (locally known in Kinyarwanda as Umuvumu) is among indigenous tree species people have traditionally planted. The species has diverse economic and environmental uses across many farming and pastoral communities. In some dry land areas, for example, it is a good source of dry season livestock fodder, because it produces highly nutritious foliage in large amounts all year round. Parts of the plant edible for livestock include leaves, twigs and barks. Concorde Nsengumuremyi, the Director General of Rwanda Forestry Authority said that the indigenous tree resists weather conditions such as drought, diseases, and pests and can help Rwanda access the carbon market as these trees sequester large quantities of carbon dioxide. Euphorbia tirucalli The outlook also cites Euphorbia tirucalli tree species. The native tree is also called Pencil tree and it grows in semi-arid tropical climates. The pencil tree is a shrub or small tree with pencil-thick, green, smooth, succulent branches that reaches heights of up to 7 metres. Euphorbia tirucalli is used as alternative medicine in many cultures. Attempts have been made to use it to treat cancer, excrescence, tumours, warts, asthma, cough, earache, neuralgia, rheumatism, and toothaches. Its latex can also be used as fuel. Erythrina abyssinica According to the outlook, Erythrina abyssinica is an important ethno medicinal plant in Africa harbouring useful pharmacologically active phytochemicals against various diseases with significant efficacies and minimal toxicity to mammalian cells. GreenGoal Rwanda Initiative, a youth-led initiative, is one of the organizations seeking to revive this tree species in Gasabo district on a hill in Bumbogo sector. Vernonia amygdalena Vernonia amygdalina, a member of the daisy family (species of flowering plants), is a small shrub listed by the environment outlook. The leaves are a staple vegetable in soups and stews of various cultures throughout equatorial Africa. They are washed to reduce their bitterness, after which they are dried and used to prepare meat dishes. It is used to brew beer in some African countries. In Nigeria, twigs and sticks from this plant are used as a chewing stick for dental hygiene and the stems are used for soap in Uganda. In Ghana, the young leaves rather than the old, has gained credence for its potent anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory activity. Dracaena afromontana Cited on page 52 of the Rwanda Environment Outlook, Dracaena afromontana is also indigenous tree. Dracaena afromontana is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to the highlands of eastern tropical Africa; South Sudan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi. It is used as a street tree in Kigali, Rwanda according to several reports. Concorde Nsengumuremyi, the Director General of Rwanda Forestry Authority said that as more trees are planted indigenous trees have to be increased as some of them are also ornamental trees. Maesa lanceolata The tree species is one of trees on verge of extinction to be planted in Bumbogo sector, Gasabo district. Maesa lanceolata is an ethno-medicinal plant distributed in Central and East Africa. It has been used as a traditional medicine against bacterial infections in the small intestine and viral infections in the liver and throat, as well as treatment for rheumatic arthritis. Entada abyssinica The tree species to be also planted by GreenGoal Rwanda Initiative under reforestation initiative is traditionally used to treat coughs, rheumatism, bronchitis, abdominal pains, diarrhea and fever to prevent miscarriage. Albizia adianthifolia Also to be planted is Albizia Adianthifolia. This is used as purgative and herbal medicine for diabetes, eye problems, gastrointestinal problems, haemorrhoids, headache, neurodegenerative disorders, reproductive problems in women, respiratory problems, wounds and pain, skin diseases, sexually transmitted infections, and ethno veterinary medicine. Polyscias fulva Polyscias fulva is a species of flowering plant. It is a deciduous or evergreen tree, with a straight trunk and a small umbrella-shaped crown. It can grow to 25 to 30 meters in height. The wood is lightweight and easily worked, but brittle and not durable. It is used in household objects and handicrafts, and for firewood. The tree's fast-growing habit makes it a useful tree in reforestation projects. It forms a rich leaf mulch on the ground below which improves soil. Its tall crown makes it useful in crop plantations which prefer light shade, including coffee, cocoa, and bananas, and it is often left uncut when forest areas are cleared for cultivation. The flowers are a good source of nectar and pollen for honeybees. The tree is widespread in suitable mountain habitats across Africa, and is assessed as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List. The tree is becoming locally scarce in parts of its range where deforestation and fire are rampant. Biological studies demonstrated that Polyscias extracts and their bioactive compounds possess antibacterial, antifungal, cytotoxic, immuno-stimulant, wound healing, and anti-asthmatic activities. Podocarpus falcatus Falcatus’s wood, often called podo or yellowwood, is good for construction, particularly shipbuilding. It is also made into plywood and used to make many products, including furniture, boxes, vats, toys, farm implements, musical instruments, and railroad ties. It is used in the construction of houses. It is also used as firewood. The wood is also used for making floor boards and parquet blocks. The bark contains 3-4 percent tannin and is used for tanning leather. The species has been vulnerable to logging.