NYABIHU- The proposed forest corridor stretching from Gishwati to Nyungwe National Park via Mukura forest will cost $ 5million, an official has said.
In an interview with The New Times, Dr. Benjamin B Beck, of the Great Ape Trust, said work on the 50km forest corridor, which is meant to save endangered species of chimpanzees in Gishwati forest, would kick off in 2011.
“The corridor will increase available habitat four fold but more important, it will allow inter-breeding between the chimpanzees of Gishwati and Nyungwe,” Beck said.
Gishwati forest is home to 14 individual apes and golden monkeys.
Due to degradation, the forest currently covers an area of only 900 hectares far from 28,000 hectares back in 1930’s.
According to Beck, who is also the director of conservation in Iowa, where the Great Ape Trust has its headquarters, Gishwati forest can play a vital role in global efforts to reduce atmospheric green houses emissions.
“The standing forest at Gishwati is estimated to hold 153,000 metric tonnes (168,654 tons) of carbon, and reforestation of the 716 hectares of agricultural field will be included within the reserve,” Beck added.
He said that, the project has one challenge of compensating residents who will be affected by the forest corridor.
“It’s our responsibility to compensate any one who loses any thing during the activity. However, we shall need cooperation and partnership with the community to ease the project,” he said.