Mukura Forest Rwanda

Mukura Forest

This forest reserve is one of the many Afro mountain forests found in the western side of the Nile Congo crest in the western side of the country. Its located 1 hour drive from Kibuye city and 3 hours from Kigali city.  It was gazetted as 1951 and is one of the remaining mountain forests with 7 albertine rift Endemic bird species and 2 species listed on IUCN, that is the kivu ground Thrush and the Grauer’s Rush Warbler.

The reserve is in the north west of Rwanda and it covers 12.00km and it’s also situated in western Rwanda’s albertine Rift region that lies in Congo Nile crest. The forest reserve was once part of the swath mountain which extended all the way from Nyungwe to Volcanoes national and now it’s a small isolated chuck of forest. The forest covers an area of 30000 hectares and nearly of the forest biodiversity and cover was lost leaving only 16000 hectares. The annual temperature of this forest is at 15 C and its average height is at 2600m above sea level.

mukura forestThe forest is also covered with soft wood like cupressus spp, callitris as well as pinus spp. This forest is also home to many to over 402 species, 293 reptile species, 1,061 bird species, 5,793 plant species as well as amphibians.

There are many reforestation efforts which have been carried out within the forest and this has helped in restoring back the biodiversity of this reserve. Some of these efforts include; setting 30% of green coverage by the year 2020 while planting trees, giving full protection to the forest by providing forest guards, creating wide awareness of the advantages of the forest as well as capacity building, making the reserve forest a pillar of national economy which plays a role in tourism, agriculture, energy as well as environmental stability, the reserve management has involved the local communities in the conservation of the forest which also includes the protection activities of the forest, there has also been creating the local cooperatives which help with facilitating income generating activities, the management has also involved the women as well as the youth in the conservation and the development of the forest and finally increasing income generating activities to motivate the locals for the conservation of the forest.

Areco Rwanda Nziza which is Rwanda’s organization, has put many projects in place which will help in saving the rudiments of mukura forest, these include; promoting community based conservation, raising awareness of the locals as well as schools for sustainable conservation of the forest reserve, elaborating a Mukura forest management plan, supporting women in agroforestry and fruit tree production as well as organizing workshops with Rwanda Environment Management Authority.

There have also been many lessons which have been learnt, these include; secure livelihoods promotion is also a key condition for sustainable conservation and also working with youth, women, and schools is key way to sustainable biodiversity conservation as well as secure livelihoods.

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