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Abstract for ICEED UNILAK 2018

Evaluating impacts and effectiveness of bamboo planting initiatives for sustainable
conservation management in the south-eastern part of Nyungwe National Park, Nyaruguru
district, Rwanda
Abstract, by Methode Majyambere and Theogene Nsengiyumva
Nyungwe National Park is a large tropical forest and a biodiversity hotspot located in the southwestern part of Rwanda. It is bordered by 5 districts, including Nyaruguru district to its southeastern end. Nyungwe is known for many primates found on the global list of threatened species,
including the eastern chimpanzee and the Hamlyn’s monkey, the latter living in the only bamboo
zone of Nyungwe covering about 32 km2. Illegal bamboo collection from Nyungwe has been
more prevalent in Ruheru sector, one of the four sectors touching to Nyungwe borders in
Nyaruguru district, where trading of bamboo products is serving several areas of the Southern
Province. The objective of this study was to evaluate the impacts and effectiveness of bamboo
plantations in the communities in Ruheru sector of Nyaruguru district for conservation
management in that part of Nyungwe National Park. Three cells among five were selected for this
research survey due to their impact on Nyungwe. Each of the cells comprised 5 villages and
interviews were conducted with 6 households in each village. Field surveys were conducted in
2017-2018 in bamboo plantations of the community fields and the buffer zone of Nyungwe.
Findings indicated that people still depend absolutely or significantly (68%) on bamboo today for
sustaining their livelihoods as in the past 10 years. Bamboo was indicated as used for several
activities, presented in the decreasing order of how frequently reported: construction, handcrafts,
home uses, and agriculture. 77% of respondents indicated that people are using bamboo collected
from Nyungwe, whereas 9% consider that people use bamboo from community fields; the rest
consider sources from both. Surveys indicated that bamboo planted in the buffer zone around
2009 under Protected Area Biodiversity (PAB) project failed over the entire space and people
could report only less than 20 unhealthy bamboo clumps surviving from those planted in their
fields in that period. Field surveys indicated the presence of 146 bamboo patches of which the
largest size was 1,880.45 m2 and the second comes with 722.56 m2. The total surface covered by
bamboo was 9,922.5 m2. The size of area that each household should own showed the average of
3.62 m2 per household, given 2471 as total number of households of the three cells. 1024 were
counted as mature bamboo (≥ 14 cm circumference) culms to be harvested, indicating that only
about a half of the households could harvest all mature bamboo present, with single mature culm
to each household. There are insufficient bamboo plants in comparison to the current demands
among communities in Ruheru sector; therefore, if no further strategies are applied and well
monitored, the illegal bamboo cutting in Nyungwe will continue at an alarming rate. Further
conservation efforts are needed to secure the long-term benefits of protecting the threatened
Nyungwe habitat and the Hamlyn’s monkey, while providing sustainable solutions that consider
appropriate incentives to promote people’s livelihoods.
Key words: Impacts, Nyungwe, conservation, bamboo plantation, community
About the authors:
1. Methode Majyambere, Assistant lecturer, University of Rwanda, College of Science and
Technology, Department of Biology
2. Theogene Nsengiyumva, Aspiring graduate, University of Rwanda, College of Science and
Technology, Department of Biology, Option of Botany and Conservation
Correspondence: methode.majyambere@yahoo.com; +250784520149