Planted forests


Description of plantation resources


The socio-political crisis caused by ethnic conflict has strongly affected the forestry sector since October 1993. It is estimated that more than 60 000 ha of forest land, both natural forest and plantations, have been damaged (MATEDF,1995).

There is a large domestic market for industrial wood. The country both exports and imports forest products (Bararwandika, 1999).

Development of forest plantations

Plantations were started at the beginning of the twentieth century. By 1919, demand for fuelwood had increased and farmers had already started to use the natural forest. During the French colonial times, plantations were aimed at the protection of the natural forest, protection of agricultural land from erosion, and to supply fuelwood. Since 1931, establishment of plantations has become an obligation for communities. After 1948, the Forestry Department became responsible for both natural forest and plantations.

Following independence in 1962, plantations were managed under the plan of the colonial era. Farmers utilised plantations for their needs, and the state was not able to adequately protect them. Fifteen years after independence, the development of the forestry sector was considered important for the country. As a result, the forest area reached 90 000 ha, more than 3 percent of the whole land area. In 1989, the plantation area was estimated to be 52 000 ha, consisting of 16 000 ha of Pinus spp., 17 000 ha of Eucalyptus spp., 19 000 ha of Callitris spp. and others.

By 1992, government and community plantations had reached 95 000 ha and total forest cover 210 000 ha, about 8 percent of the total area. However, in 1993 a war broke out and the forest cover decreased to 151 000 ha, including both agroforestry and small-scale plantations (Bararwandika, 1999).

Species composition

Eucalyptus species cover the largest plantation area (35.5 percent), followed by Callitris species (33 percent). The latter includes other coniferous species. Pinus species cover about 16 percent of the area. Other species are Grevillea, Cupressus and others.

In agroforestry, Grevillea robusta, Calliandra spp., Leucaena spp., Cedrela spp., Markhamia spp. and others are privately planted (Bararwandika, 1999).


After the conflict of 1993 there was a need to recover existing plantations and to establish about 15 000 ha to 20 000 ha of plantation to reconstruct destroyed infrastructure. There is presently an emphasis on private establishment of plantations (MATEDF, 1995).

During 1998, 3.2 million seedlings were planted, equivalent to 2 100 ha of plantations.

Private agroforestry and small-scale plantations have been increasing. The preferred species are Grevillea robusta, Calliandra spp., Leucaena spp. and Cedrela spp. (Bararwandika, 1999).


Since 1994, refugees from neighbouring countries have cut trees to build houses or have removed trees for other purposes, and no management has been done (Bararwandika, 1999).


Bararwandika, A. 1999. Ressources forestières et produits forestiers au Burundi. Bujumbura, Ministère de l´Aménagement du Territoire et de l´Environnement. Département des forêts.

MATEDF. 1995. Rapport national d´activités. In African Forestry and Wildlife Commission, Sombonani, South Africa 27 November-1 December, 1995. Bujumbura, Ministère de l´Aménagement du Territoire et de l´Environnement. Département des forêts.

Mamarbachi, A. 1992. Renforcement des capacités d´action de la Direction Generale de l´Amenagement du Territoire et des Eaux et Forêts. In Programme de Coopération Technique FAO TCP/BDI2252(A) Rome.

last updated:  Tuesday, February 23, 2010