Forest Status in Nyatuguru

1.    Introduction
Nyaruguru District is one of the Districts with a good stock of afforestation. In fact, according to the GIS center, which established a forest map of the District on the basis of high resolution aerial photographs taken in 2008-2009, the District totals 48,504 ha of forest, or 48% of forest cover. Natural forest occupies 44.65%; the rest is occupied by artificial forests.
State and District forest plantations occupy a total of 2,729.04 ha, of which 2,263.65 ha are from the State and 465.3925 ha from the District, not counting natural forest. The majority of this afforestation is unproductive; during the cadaster, they were described as degraded, old, victims of illegal cutting or snacking at 90% and 75% of the state and district afforestation. The results of the forest inventory (2017) confirmed this situation by noting a small amount of stems in the woods as well as a small volume of standing timber.

Table: Wooded area of Nyaruguru District

Forest categoryForest Speciescanopy density Total areas (ha)Percentage (%)
Low (ha)Medium (ha)High (ha)
Natural ForestsClosed natural forest(>=50%)19,817.1519,817.15 40.86
Degraded natural forest(<50%)   213.81214.81 0.44
Bamboo023.381,600,36 1,623.74 3.35
Artificial forests

Eucalyptus837.74,826.5219,546,86 25,211.10 51.93
Mixed0182.95582.25765.20 1.53
Other05.7305.73 0.01
TOTAL                                                                  48,505.17 100

Soruce: Forest Cover Map Rwanda 2012

2. Distribution of forest areas
According to Forest Law No. 47 bis/2013 of 06/28/2013, the forests belong to three types of owners, namely the State, the District and the Private (natural or legal persons).
The total forest area is 48,504.17 ha (48% of the District area) of which 24,532.28 ha are from the State (including natural forest), 556.29 ha from the District and 23,415.60 ha from privately owned afforestation. Including natural forest, the state occupies about 51% of the forest area.

Table: The proportion for each type of property is shown in the table below



Area in ha

Proportion in%







Private afforestation







Source: Rapport Cadastre 2015; The Forest Cover Map of Rwanda 2012


3.    Forest management plan
3.1.     Public forest plantations
The management of Public forest in Nyaruguru District proposes an intermediate period of 10 years which consists in first creating a productive resource through rehabilitation or reconversion works. After this period, silvicultural interventions may aim at the continuity and sustainability of goods and services from the forests.
Inspired by the forest policy which encourages the emergence of a wood industry, the transformation of wood for more added value and the reduction of wood as an energy source, and taking into account climatic and soil characteristics in the District, an organization of the forest territory based on the expected products has been proposed. For the State and District afforestation, 3 main production objectives have been proposed, namely:
•    The fuelwood production target (PBF) occupying respectively 15%;
•    The lumber production target (PBO) covering 40%;
•    The service wood production target (PBS) occupying 45%.
•    The District of Nyaruguru also intends to increase the wooded area which is currently 27.7%, by promoting agroforestry and by planting new trees and especially bamboo on the banks of rivers as well as by rehabilitating existing forest afforestation. The private sector will be called upon for these planting activities and also for the management of existing afforestation.
Considering all above management objectives, the management plan predicts different technics to put in place among them include:
1. Respect a 10-year cutting rotation and a 40-year revolution;
2. Respect an annual cutting base of 9.24 ha;
3. Reconvert the afforestation 40 years after their establishment. Afforestation will be converted according to their age; starting with the oldest, unproductive or degraded afforestation. The treatment regime applied to new eucalyptus woodlots will be simple coppice. They will be replaced or converted after 40 years, in particular after 4 rotations of 10 years;
4. Develop anti-erosion ditches in each afforestation before its exploitation or reconversion;
5. Choose the planting species from the following: Eucalyptus microcorys, Eucalyptus globulus var. maidenii, Acacia mearnsii, ...
6. Plant at 2.5m x 2.5m spacing.
7. Manage afforestation under coppice regime (if the species used reject);
8. Reduce rejection by strain and allow a maximum of 2 to 3 releases per strain depending on the size of the strain and the fertility of the soil;
9. Mark each perimeter by a different species from that (s) composing the stand (Use of Callitris on the edges of each perimeter for example).
3.2. Private forest management approach
The overall approach to the development of private afforestation is aligned with that adopted for public afforestation. Without claiming to replace individual management plans for private afforestation, the approach comes as a recommendation to support forest owners to improve their management, increase the productivity of their afforestation and prepare for their sustainable management.
It is thus proposed that private forest owners benefit from the supervision and technical support of the District. As with public afforestation, the District Forestry Technician will support the development of private afforestation in terms of advice, management of afforestation, liaison for administrative matters (such as cutting permits), etc.
Regarding production objectives, private afforestation may be assigned to one of the following 3 main production objectives:
- Fuel wood production objective;
- Service wood production target;
- Lumber production objective;
In order to facilitate supervision, it is proposed that private forest owners come together to work in association and manage their afforestation together. This association framework must be voluntary; but it is desirable that the owners of small woodlots (of less than 2 ha) can join it to constitute forest complexes economically more advantageous. Thus, private afforestation will be grouped into private Forest Management Units which will put together afforestation that is geographically close and that constitute economically viable entities. The size of a private Management Unit can vary between 25 and 50 ha.
As membership in the association is voluntary, two options for the development of private afforestation are proposed:
(i) Development through the Association of Forest Owners (APF),
(ii) Individual development of private afforestation.
Recently, at least 14 private forest farmers’ associations (One per each sector) are formed in Nyaruguru District to facilitate management of private forests. To enhance this for both options, a simplified management plan will further be drawn up: a management plan for the private and a management plan for individual afforestation (≥ 2 ha).
3.3.    Management of agro-forestry trees
In addition to the District afforestation, a specific objective of agroforestry production (PAF) is proposed which will bring together all the agroforestry zones in the District. These agroforestry zones will remain managed individually by the tenant / operator of the land but they will benefit from supervision and technical support from the District. In this context, the District may extend the Twigire Muhinzi / Farmers Field School (FFS) approach, which exists for agricultural support to farmers, to support the management of agroforestry areas.
Agroforestry aims to integrate trees into the agricultural system and manage them in rural landscapes in order to increase productivity, profitability, diversity and sustainability of the ecosystem.
The objective is to increase the agroforestry cover in the District in order to reach the target of 50 agroforestry trees per ha in 2027.
On the other hand, a more accelerated scenario can also be considered. If we can devote much more effort to raising awareness, producing and distributing quality agroforestry plants as well as to technical support, this program can be carried out in a period of 7 years.
4.    Conclusion
Forests are an important resource for the country. The National Forest Policy makes the forest sector a national priority and recommends a continued increase in its contribution to gross domestic product (GDP). Using this same logic, this revised District Forest Management Plan (PAFD) offers solutions for the management of State and District forest plantations based on the socio-economic situation of the District described in the chapter 2 and especially on the situation of forest resources presented in chapter 3 of this document. Indeed, the State and the District own forest resources up to 51%, including natural forest. On the whole, the forest resources in the District are overexploited following the demand of the population for forest products. As a result, these forest plantations cannot offer large or medium-sized products such as lumber and service because of logging cuts very close in time.
With regard to public afforestation, we observe management without development objectives which means that we do not know when where and for what to intervene. The result of this situation is the existence of unproductive forest perimeters because they have been over-exploited or are too old. This creates an imbalanced supply of forest goods and services, jeopardizing the continuity and sustainability of the supply of forest products.
It is in this context that, for the first phase of this management plan for state and district forests, a plan was proposed which consists in increasing the productivity of afforestation through conversion works. This work may be accompanied, in some cases, by the placing on the market of forest products. However, given the current state of afforestation, one cannot speak of a sustainable exploitation plan which should have been part of this forest management plan.
For efficient management of District’s forests, it is suggested to the District and the Being to involve private investors much more in the planning and development of public afforestation. In this sense, Tea factories are suggested to be gives District forests under a coo management.
And to help the peasant forest owners to better manage their afforestation, the District will have to better orient the support that it provided to its population by focusing on the popularization and the provision of forest plants intended for the replacement of old strains.
Regarding the intensification of agroforestry, the development of trees along roadsides, rivers and streams, the District will be able to take advantage of public-private partnership with the surrounding population in order to better manage and protect these trees.