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Forest Conservation

Issue No 004 August-October 2016

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Climate Resilience

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Livelihoods Improvement

A quarterly Online Newsletter

SIBOMANA: Former illegal miner turns

REPUBLIC OF RWANDA


FOREWORD Dear Readers, Dear Stakeholders,

content Sibomana: The tale of a changed illegal miner ........... .............................P4-6

Efforts to stop illegal mining in Gishwati-Mukura Area intensified ..................................P7

PICTORIAL: LAFREC obgoing activities ..........................P10-11

‘Silvopastoralism addresses farmers’ needs”

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We are happy to bring to you the 4th Edition of LAFREC Magazine-a quarterly newsletter dedicated to the activities of the Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation, a Project which works to rehabilitate and restore the Gishwati-Mukura Landscape. Through this new issue, we look at the efforts being led by the Project and its stakeholders to ensure that the rehabilitationa and restoration of Gishwati-Mukura landscape achieves its objectives. Since we started our efforts to rehabilitate Gishwati-Mukura, we have recognised that illegal mining was a very huge challenge. That is why we have worked hard to ensure that all illegal activities are stopped. Through regular inspections and mobilisation meetings, we are on course to achieve this target. Through this issue, you will read testimonies of former illegal miners who have now joined the conservation efforts. They are changed men, determined to mend the damages they caused. Also, this edition looks at other developments including on the continuous work of the Gishwati-Mukura Mining Taskforce, efforts to introduce silvo-pastoral practices in the former central Gishwati rangelands as well as other activities currently being implemented. We also explore efforts to involve communities in the project implementation as well as supporting their socio-economic development. We hope that you will find this issue interesting and that it will help you to further learn of the efforts being led by LAFREC Projects to restore the highly degraded Gishwati-Mukura Landscape. Enjoy!

LAFREC Project

Patrick NSABIMANA LAFREC Project Coordinator

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About LAFREC

The Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation (LAFREC) Project is designed to demonstrate landscape management for enhanced environmental services and climate resilience in one priority landscape. This will be achieved through the conservation of biodiversity, increased forest cover, climate change adaptation efforts together with combating land degradation and provision of livelihood alternatives to the impacted communities. 3

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Conservation

Sibomana:

From illegal miner to conservation champion 4

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Conservation The tale of a changed illegal miner Since his teenage, Emmanuel Sibomana has known no other activity other than illegal mining. But today, he is among the army of workers who are dedicated to the restoration of Gishwati-Mukura National Park.

Emmanuel Sibomana (R) speaks to journalists about his decision to quit illegal mining during the 1st Media Tour organised by LAFREC Project

Since when he became an active teenager, Emmanuel Sibomana has known no other activity other than illegal mining. Despite the risks associated, the 22-year-old has been involved in illegal mining activities since his teenage. Growing up in a family living a few metres from Mukura Forest, a montane natural forest that is now part of the Gishwati-Mukura National Park, Sibomana was drawn into the illegal and highrisk business-illegally mining

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coltan and cassiterite in and around the forest. “I have been doing illegal mining since I was 13,” He says. “But we have now been asked to stop it because it destroys the park and environment.” Since LAFREC Project started the rehabilitation and restoration of the Gishwati-Mukura National Park, efforts have been intensified to stop illegal mining and ensure that all mining activities are in line with conservation efforts.

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“Quitting illegal mining was the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life,” Sibomana reveals. “But thanks to the many campaigns and awareness programmes, I have understood that the benefits accruing from conservation are far bigger than what I was gaining from illegal mining.” Ever since, Sibomana is part of the many locals who have been hired by the Project to work on the rehabilitation of the Park.

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Mining & Conservation Then an illegal miner, Now a ‘conservationist’

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“Illegal mining was a very risky activity. Though we sometimes could earn a lot of money, there was a serious risk of losing our lives or getting arrested. Today, we are safe since we have jobs to work on the rehabilitation of the Park and the risks of getting trapped while engaged in illegal activities is gone. I am now earning twice: First, I earn by working on the backfilling of the mining sites and second by working on my own plots in the afternoon. The future looks very bright.”

“By working on the rehabilitation of these mining sites, I am earning money but most importantly it is an opportunity to rehabilitate what I helped destroy,” Sibomana notes. “My role now is to ensure that whatever is done is preserved from any damage. I stand ready to report anyone who may attempt to destroy this Park,” he pledges. Sibomana adds: “When I was still in illegal mining, I would spend the entire earned money just in a day. But now I have learnt to save and that benefit me a lot.”

Faustin Ndikumwenawe, a former illegal miner resident of

Mukura Sector, Rutsiro

Women work on the rehabilitation of former illegal mining sites in Mukura Forest, which is part of Rwanda’s newest National Park: The Gishwati-Mukura National Park. The activities are spearheaded by LAFREC Project

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Mining & Conservation Efforts to stop illegal mining in Gishwati-Mukura Area intensified Members of the Gishwati-Mukura Mining Taskforce have provided strong recommendations to miners to further improve on their activities and ensure they do not harm the environment.

Ange Irutingabo from Rwanda Environment Management Authority (L) talks to an official from RAP Mining Company during the 2nd Mining Inspection and Mobilisation Mission in Rutsiro District

The Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation (LAFREC) Project and its stakeholders have intensified efforts aimed at harmonizing mining activities and conservation efforts currently being undertaken within the Gishwati-Mukura area. Through regular Mining Taskforce Inspection Missions, the Project is ensuring that miners are complying with existing laws, conservation and environment protection policies as well as ensuring that no illegal mining activities are carried out. From 19th to 23rd September 2016, members of the Gishwa-

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ti-Mukura Mining Taskforce conducted their 2nd Inspection Mission in Rutsiro District. The Taskforce was established by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) through LAFREC Project, with the responsibility to undertake a technical review of mining activities in the Gishwati-Mukura landscape to harmonize them with the conservation activities. Officials from REMA, LAFREC, Rwanda National Police, Rwanda Natural Resources Authority, Western Province, Rwanda Mining Association, Rwanda Development Board and Rutsiro

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District participated in the mission. The Taskforce toured a number of mining sites to ensure that all regulations, laws and policies are observed and met with communities, including former illegal miners, to discuss their role in the ongoing rehabilitation of Gishwati-Mukura National Park. After the tours, the members of the Taskforce provided recommendations to miners to further improve on their activities and ensure they do not harm the environment.

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Awareness creation LAFREC holds the inaugural Media tour The tour was an opportunity to introduce the journalists to the work of LAFREC Project and create awareness about the Project’s interventions The first ever media tour organized by the Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation (LAFREC) Project was held in Rutsiro and Nyabihu Districts from 19th to 21st September 2016. The tour brought together journalists from seven of the most respected and popular media houses. The tour was an opportunity to introduce the journalists to the work of LAFREC Project, create awareness about the Project’s interventions, ensure the massive dissemination of information to the wider public and create awareness about challenges in the Gishwati-Mukura area as well as solutions being devised.

Participating journalists visited a number of sites including the restoration of illegal mining sites in Mukura, restoration of the Gishwati-Mukura National Park, Rutsiro River, tree nurseries established by LAFREC for the restoration of the Park and its landscape, terraced land and silvo-pastoralism, among others.

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They also met and interacted with communities employed as part of the Project’s efforts to rehabilitate the forest. Further, the journalists visited Nyabihu Beekeepers Association, supported by LAFREC, to witness efforts to improve the livelihoods of communities living in the project intervention zones. LAFREC plans to hold more Media tours in the future.

See here some photos of the tour:

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CLOCKWISE: (1) Journalists interview former illegal miners; (2) Journalists interview licensed RAP Mining company officials; (3) Journalists speak to the Western Province Mines inspector Mr Ernest Karangwa; (4) Journalists speak to Mr Antoine Mugwiza (Vice Mayor/Nyabihu) &(5) Journalists speaking to Innocent Nzabanita, a cattle keeper

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Project Implementation

Patrick NSABIMANA,

Project Coordinator

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The implementation of the Project is going well. We are investing much efforts in the rehabilitation and restoration of the core forest in the Gishwati-Mukura National Park. So far, many of the planned activities have started. For instance, the backfilling of mining sites is ongoing, preparation of indigenous tree nurseries for the core forest restoration has been completed (with over 19 species ready), the Park delimitation is ongoing as well the introduction of silvo-pastoralism.

The number of household members set to benefit from LAFREC Project interventions

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We are also done with the preparation of nurseries of trees that will be used to protect riverbanks in the landscape.

The number of community-designed income generating sub-projects, knowns as Community-Driven Development Subprojects (CDDs) that the Project will support as a way of improving the livelihoods of communities in the 4 implementing Districts: Rubavu, Nyabihu, Ngororero & Rutsiro

On livelihoods improvement, already a number of sub-projects are ongoing-including the valorisation of Mont Rubavu to promote eco-tourism, modern beekeeping in Nyabihu District, potato seeds multiplication and support to former illegal miners whom we have grouped into a cooperative to start eco-friendly, legal mining activities

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PICTORIAL LAFREC activities in pictures

LAFREC is working to restore and rehabilitate the Gishwati-Mukura core natural forest....

Rehabilitation of illegal mining sites and assisted regeneration of natural vegetation in Mukura Forest....

Over 100 hectares of radical terraces have so far been established to stop erosion and boost agriculture productivity....

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LAFREC conducts regular mobilisation meetings for communities to involve them in the implementation of the Project activities and involve them in the protection & conservation of Gishwati-Mukura National Park

Introduction of silvo-pastoral practices in the former central Gishwati rangelands...

Tree nurseries with over 19 indigenous tree species have been developped for the restoration of the core Gishwati-Mukura forest.

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“Silvopastoralism answers farmers’ problems”

“This initiative responds to our very needs; we see in it a very high potential. It carries both ecological and economic benefits”

Antoine Mugwiza,

Vice Mayor for Economic Affairs, Nyabihu District

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New practices “Silvo-pastoralism answers our needs”

Sylvo-pastoralism is designed and managed for the production of trees, tree products, forage, and livestock in one integrated pasture system

The Vice Mayor for Economic Affairs in Nyabihu District Mr. Antoine Mugwiza has commended the introduction of silvo-pastoralism in the Gishwati rangelands. The leader said the introduction will not only contribute to the increase of dairy production in his District but also will lead to the increase of tree cover. “The initiative carries both ecological and economic benefits,” Mugwiza told journalists from various media houses who attended the 1st Media tour organised by LAFREC last September. “This initiative responds to our very needs; we see in it a very high potential,” he noted. “Our role be to support the implemen-

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tation of the activities, mobilise community support and ensure that whatever is achieved is sustainable.”

is combined in a mutually beneficial way. The practice is new in the Gishwati area and is being championed by LAFREC Project.

Silvo-pastoralism is a form of agro-forestry system consisting of the trees (woody perennials) and pasture and animal components whereby forestry and grazing of domesticated animals

Equally, cattle farmers have commended the initiative noting that they stand to benefit from it.

Innocent Nzabanita, one of the beneficiaries, said: “we shall gain from both improved Trees are important in rangelands as they support the productivity and wood products. This is an investment development of a productive dairy sector. We shall that we hope shall greatly benefit from simultaneous production of trees and impact our lives.”

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When we first heard of silvo-pastoralism from the Project, many of us thought it would negatively impact on our activities. But later, thanks to trainings and study tours we benefited from, we realised that it is rather beneficial. Every one of us wants to be considered for this activity because we understand the benefits associated. It is a very nice initiative to which we have committed our full support.

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Silvopastoral activities will be implemented on 150 hectares in Nyabihu District. In the four implementing Districts (Rubavu, Nyabihu, Ngororero and Rutsiro), LAFREC will introduce silvo-pastoral practices on 500 hectares.

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Understanding Silvo-pastoralism SILVO-PASTORALISM is presently not practiced in the former central Gishwati rangelands but LAFREC project is promoting the practice in the region. Activities to introduce silvo-pastoralism include establishing trees on ridge-tops, extreme slopes, riparian buffers, and as live fences, shelter belts and shade trees, through planting and managed natural re-growth within the rangelands in the former central Gishwati area. LAFREC targets to introduce silvo-pastoralism on 500 hectares in Rutsiro, Rubavu, Ngororo nd Nyabihu Districts as demonstration and hope that other farmers will reproduce the practice in their own rangelands

Sylvo-pastoralism is presently not practiced in the former central Gishwati rangelands

Silvo-pastoralism is a form of agro-forestry system consisting of the trees (woody perennials) and pasture and animal components whereby forestry and grazing of domesticated animals is combined in a mutually beneficial way. It is specifically designed and managed for the production of trees, tree products, forage, and livestock in one integrated pasture system. Silvo-pastoral approaches are expected to improve the overall productivity of rangelands (in addition to enhancing forest cover and biological connectivity) by protecting against land degradation, providing shelter for animals from climatic extremes, and through provision of additional fodder and forest products

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Benefits of silvo-pastoralism

Increased income opportunities through diversification of production; Enhancement of economic performance Reduced climate-induced stress to livestock

Enhanced wildlife habitat

Improved soil conditions

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LAFREC Project has started introducing silvo-pastoralism in the Gishwati rangelands. Activiities started with fencing and tree plantation.

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Environment Education Educating Communities LAFREC Project intends to conduct regular environment education programmes in order to educate communities on best environment-friendly practices, involve them in the conservation of the Gishwati-Mukura National Park and the implementation of the Project activities. The following table summarises some of the activities that LAFREC plans to carry out as part of its environment education programme:

ACTIVITY

TARGET

Study tours (local leaders, students, communities & CDDs* beneficiaries

Local leaders, community representatives, students representatives, youth& women

Films screening

Communities around Gishwati-Mukura National Park, students

Sports competitions

Communities, students

Arts competitions (Songs, poems, drama, drawing, debates)

Students

Community meetings & Community outreach programmes

Communities around G M National Park

Support to school-based eco-clubs

Students (members of eco-clubs)

Media Campaigns

Communities, leaders, Opinion leaders

Production and dissemination of information, education and communication materials (both English & Kinyarwanda)

Communities, public,

CDDs* = Community Driven Development Subprojects

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This newsletter is a quarterly publication of the Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation (LAFREC) Project

Remain informed on LAFREC Project activities; Follow us:

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LAFREC NEWSLETTER (ISSUE 004)  

We are happy to bring to you the 4th Edition of LAFREC Magazine-a quarterly newsletter dedicated to the activities of the Landscape Approach...

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