The Eastern region of Rwanda is characterized by dry climate, limited rainfall and a lack of quantity, quality and diversity of native seeds. The small scattered protected forests are being used by local residents to have more space for their basic infrastructure, their cattle and more farming land.
Deforestation is a main issue in the Province as, due to lack of alternative sources of energy and insufficient forests, local population are cutting trees for basic needs such as firewood, medicines, and construction materials.
The 3S project aims at restoring and promoting the sustainable management of 11 protected small natural forests and shrub land in the Eastern part of the country by establishing buffer zones of protected forests and restoring the surrounding areas by intensifying agroforestry. Land ownership is dominated by private land, but public land is also available especially around Akagera National Park. The small natural protected forests will be the starting point to promote a community based approach to restore/ establish buffer zones as protective forest on 40,000 ha, using well adapted tree species.
This will create around 10,000 jobs for youths and women especially in tree seed and seedling production, tree planting, forest management, agroforestry farming, fruit tree production and fruit value addition, non-timber forest products value chain, improved agriculture practices. The project will also involve former reintegrated combatants from Congo and retired security officers grouped into cooperatives to be more effective and this will in turn promote social cohesion.