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Global Ideas

Swamp thing: Saving Rwanda's marsh lands

Mosquitoes, crocodiles, stagnant water: Swamps don't sound like pleasant places. But they are important ecosystems that feed rivers and lakes, and are home to a host of species - as some in Rwanda are discovering.

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Project size: The 7,000-hectare Rugezi marsh in Gicumbi District in Northern Rwanda
Project goals: Forest and landscape restoration, including sustainable agroforestry; raising awareness among local communities; working with Mulindi tea factory to promote energy efficiency measures
Biodiversity: Rare species like the grey crowned crane

Rwanda - land of the thousand hills - is promoting hydroelectricity as a means to supply its population with energy. The Rugezi marsh is one of the area's most important ecosystems, and supplies water to its surroundings, including to Ruhondo and Burera lakes. These two lakes play host to some of the country's most important hydropower stations, but suffer from periodic low water and siltation due to severe erosion. 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature is restoring degraded landscapes in various ways, including through agroforestry. Newly planted trees can feed cows, provide wood for fuel and help fight erosion. 
The project is supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI).

A film by Julia Henrichmann

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