Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation and Their Impact to The Livelihoods of People and The Environment, Huye District, Rwanda
Keywords:Deforestation, forest degradation, impact to environment and livelihoods
Forests play an important role in important role in the environment and the wellbeing of people around the world. However, there are different challenges that forests face and lead to their degradation. This study was conducted in Huye district, Southern province of Rwanda with the aim of identifying and analyzing the direct and indirect drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in Huye, Maraba and Gishamvu sectors of Huye District and their impacts on people’s livelihoods and the environment as well as identifying the mitigation measures for the drivers of forest cover reduction. The data collected from household survey and the key informants show that the major drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in these three sectors are overharvesting of forest products (24% of respondents), animal grazing in forests (13%), induced fire (11%), pest and diseases (18%) and others like crop cultivation in forests, settlement, infrastructure development, thieves of trees, poor silvicultural treatments. Deforestation and forest degradation affect the environment in different ways especially climate change (36% of respondents), air pollution (13%), loss of biodiversity (10%) and soil erosion (36%) are the most environmental impacts of deforestation and forest degradation as the results shows. All those environmental impacts affect negatively the livelihood of people where they lead to diseases (4%), lack of fuelwood (36%) and other forest products (24%) and poverty (13%) as forests are source of income for people. Deforestation and forest degradation affect the development of the country as well as the wellbeing of people. Forests should be conserved as a major factor of sustainable development and encourage private sectors to invest in forest businesses for proper forest management of state and district forests.
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