Conservationists discuss fire control on the Greater Virunga landscape

The trans-boundary meeting which brings together protected area institutions of Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, last week resolved to harmonise guidelines in fire control and local ecosystem management for better conservation.

The trans-boundary meeting which brings together protected area institutions of Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, last week resolved to harmonise guidelines in fire control and local ecosystem management for better conservation.

This was during three-day meeting in Rubavu district aimed at seeking common strategies for sustainable development in the greater Virunga landscape.

Tom Sengalama, the Executive Secretary of Greater Virunga Trans-boundary Secretariat, said that the objective of trans-boundary conservation is to set up fire control mechanisms in the parks.

Despite efforts by member countries to manage fires in forests, there are a number of challenges that still slow the exercise.

“Most of the parks don’t have fire management mechanisms, scanty knowledge of ecology,” he said. “Fire fighting equipments are inadequate and there is no coordination in fire fighting approach and management.”

The meeting resolved to handle fire cases at regional and national levels. It also resolved to come up with a draft action plan to be used to develop fire control programmes.
It was noted that most forest fires are ignited by community activities which calls for community involvement.

Forest fires impact negatively on the forests by destroying the litter layer which is the dry organic matter, damages seedlings, sampling and mid canopy trees.

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