NEW FORESTRY BILL IN PARLIAMENT
And amendment and major re-write to the outdated 1988 forestry bill was sent to parliament this week in Kigali, aimed at creating a modern legal framework on forest protection and conservation through sustainable use of the country’s timber resources. It also spells out measures of implementation of the updated law, something the initial bill largely lacked as well as fines and penalties for offenders. Over 550.000 hectares of land are presently fully or partially covered by trees and forests, including plantations for specific timber use and firewood. The country has in the recent past embarked on an aggressive re-forestation exercise, hoping to close gaps between previously connected forests and turning many of the tropical rain forests into nature reserves or national parks to exploit their tourism potential and add attractions to the safari circuit, which presently is considered too narrow. Alongside conservation measures will run a campaign of civic education and sensitisation for the affected populations, including teaching them the use of alternate and renewable sources of energy for cooking and heating.
Forest plantation owners were told they could expect a streamlined regulatory regime with specific guidance of how best to exploit their investments and to sustain it in the long term, relieving doubts that purpose planted trees and forest could be declared ‘conservation areas’ too.
Way to go Rwanda, way to go!