Description of plantation resources
Plantations are divided into three categories depending on ownership: governmental, communal -such as those belonging to a village or town- and private. The area of plantations belonging to the second category is the largest.
Plantations are aimed at producing timber and fuelwood, and protecting the mountainous areas from erosion (Mihigo, 1999 and FAO, 1999).
Development of forest plantations
The first plantation was established in 1920 and the second in 1948. Their purposes were to protect a high mountainous area from erosion and to supply fuelwood. Up to 1967, about 20 000 ha of plantations had been established. During 1967-1975, 5 500 ha of plantation were established under the project "Projet Pilote Forestier de Kibuye".
The year 1975 was a turning point for plantations. There was a planting campaign and large-scale development projects were launched. These projects were supported technically and financially by several organisations abroad. The total area planted in that year was 25 500 ha.
Between 1989 and 1993, a project to distribute seedlings for both public and private plantations was implemented. Between 1993 and 1995, all silvicultural activity stopped due to the war.
In 1995, silvicultural activities started again, including establishment of plantations. NGOs and projects produced the seedlings.
The total plantation area was estimated to have reached 247 500 ha in 1991 and 256 300 in 1997. The additional plantations were established only on government land (Mihigo, 1999 and FAO, 1999).
The dominant species is Eucalyptus spp. with Pinus spp. following. Other species include Acacia spp., Casuarina spp. and Cupressus spp. Acacia spp. and Casuarina spp. are planted only in government plantations. Three percent of the plantations, some of those established by the private owners, are categorized as planted with unspecified trees (Mihigo, 1999 and FAO, 1999).
Growth and yieldEucalyptus globulus can produce 40 m3/ha/year at an altitude of 2 000 to 2 500 m and Eucalyptus grandis and E. saligna produce 15 to 35 m3/ha/year.
Pinus patula is estimated to yield between 10 and 20 m3/ha/year after 30 years and, on more fertile sites, 30 m3/ha/year. Acacia melanoxylon is estimated to yield 10 m3/ha/year (FAO, 1999).
The plantation area is estimated at 256 300 ha as of 1997. The increase of planted areas is mostly in government plantations (FAO, 1999).
An effective inventory of plantations is still unavailable (FAO, 1999).
Mihigo, A. 1999. Situation du secteur forestier et des statistiques forestières. In Workshop on data collection and analysis for sustainable forest management - linking national and international efforts EC-FAO partnership programme (1998-2000). Project GCP/INT/679/EC. Lambarene, Gabon, 27 September - 1 October 1999. Kigali. Ministère de l´Agriculture, de l´Élevage et des Forêts.
FAO. 1999. Étude des ressources forestières naturelles et les plantations forestières du Rwanda. By Murerehe, S. Rome.