The Landscape Approach to Forest Restoration and Conservation (LAFREC) project is a five year project under implementation by Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), with the support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the World Bank.
The project is mandated to rehabilitate the Gishwati- Mukura landscape by using a landscape approach to bring the forest ecosystems into better management and develop multiple benefits.
LAFREC project goals will be achieved through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, increased forest cover, climate change adaptation efforts together with combating land degradation and provision of livelihood alternatives to the impacted communities.
Restoring the previously degraded Gishwati- Mukura landscape aims to enhance its both productive and environmental values. It is also part of Rwanda’s efforts to fully transform and operationalize Gishwati Mukura as a National park officially established in February, 2016.
LAFREC project was also co-financed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), also through the World Bank to implement the “Improving the Efficiency and Sustainability of Charcoal and Wood fuel Value Chains” project, with the objective to improve the efficiency and sustainability of wood fuel value chains in Northwest, Rwanda.
LAFREC project works concurrently in the three major elements of the landscape that are:
• Rehabilitating forests and biodiversity within the Gishwati and Mukura Forest Reserves;
• Enhancing sustainable land management in the agricultural lands between them, and
• Introducing silvo-pastoral approaches in the rangelands of the central former Gishwati Reserve.
The NDF project, which was integrated as part of the LAFREC Project has three components namely:
• Improving woodlot Management,
• Improving tree seed quality, and
• Providing technical assistance for more efficient charcoal production and biomass processing.
LAFREC project has been running from January 2015, and is implemented in four districts of the Western Province namely Rutsiro,Ngororero, Nyabihu and Rubavu.