Forests for life: a restoration journey from degradation to delight

The Forests4Life project aims to restore the degraded landscape in Rwanda’s Bugesera district by cultivating native trees like Markhamia lutea, Acacia abyssinica and fruit trees. Through reforestation, agroforestry and training, the project will enhance biodiversity, improve soil fertility, empower the community and promote sustainable land management. 

In a year, the project expects to establish a tree nursery, engage locals, observe increased wildlife, enhance productivity via agroforestry and work towards landscape connectivity. The goal is an ecologically resilient landscape that sustains both people and nature. Join us on a captivating photo tour as we unveil the story of restoration, resilience and community empowerment.    

A plot of one of Kayovu’s village farmers whose land was degraded and is no longer productive. Thadee Ubayeho

Land near the banks of Kilimbi Lake in the village of Kayovu, parts of which have started to degrade. Thadee Ubayeho

Welcome to the heart of Bugesera district in Rwanda, where the Forests4Life Project is underway, breathing life back into the landscape of the village of Kayovu. 

Our plan includes establishing a tree nursery, engaging locals, observing increased wildlife, enhancing productivity and promoting landscape connectivity for an ecologically resilient landscape.

A glimpse of degradation

Our journey begins with a stark reminder of the challenges faced by the people of Kayovu. Here, we witness signs of degradation: eroded soil, sparse vegetation, and a landscape longing for rejuvenation. But amidst these struggles, hope shines bright.

A degraded maize plot that belongs to one of the farmers we work with. Reponse Iradukunda

Kayovu’s dry savanna vegetation  with pockets of grassland and shrubs. Reponse Iradukunda

Seeds of change

Step into the heart of transformation, where the Forests4Life Project has taken root. In this vibrant nursery, native indigenous tree seedlings such as Markhamia lutea, Ficus thonningii, Faidherbia albida, and Acacia abyssinica are nurtured with care. Each seedling holds the promise of a greener, more resilient future.

A picture of the nursery  from where the first phase  tree seedlings will be sourced. Claudine Kamanzi

Planting for prosperity

Venture further into the landscape, where committed individuals join forces to plant a forest for life. Volunteers and community members unite, digging holes and gently cradling young saplings into the earth. 

With every tree planted, we sow the seeds of prosperity for generations to come. To test the viability of the germination of the trees we will plant, we planted some 20 trees as a trial in two plots of the targeted farmers in Kayovu. 

Claudine and Thadee plant some trial trees in a plot belonging to one of the target farmers. Adeline Utetiwabo

Agroforestry in action  

Witness the harmonious coexistence of trees and crops in our agroforestry systems. Here, maize thrives beneath the sheltering canopy of indigenous trees, while beans wind their way up sturdy trunks. This integrated approach not only restores biodiversity but also enhances soil fertility and secures livelihoods.

One of the youth farmers and Adeline (a Forest for Life member) plant a tree in a degraded maize plot. Claudine Kamanzi

Community empowerment 

At the heart of the Forests for Life Project lies the empowerment of the local community. Through knowledge-sharing sessions and workshops, farmers gain the tools they need to steward the land sustainably. Together, they stand as guardians of the forest, united in their commitment to restoration.

Farmers in Kayovu gathered to make terraces to mitigate the soil erosion that has been causing land degradation. Thadee Ubayeho

Claudine explains to some of the farmers the importance of planting indigenous tree species. Reponse Iradukunda

Biodiversity blooms

Behold the resurgence of life as biodiversity blooms in the restored landscape. Vibrant wildflowers beckon butterflies, while the melodious songs of birds fill the air. With each passing day, the ecosystem grows richer, more resilient and teeming with vitality.

A plot in Karama, a neighboring village to Kayovu. This plot has been promisingly restored due to tree and cover crop planting initiatives by a local agriculture university. Adeline Utetiwabo

 Join us at Forests4Life  – a testament to the power of restoration, community, collaboration and the enduring spirit of nature!

Article tags

Generation restorationRestoration StewardYouth

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