Afforestation situation in Burundi alarming, environmentalist warns

“The 2020 forecast says Burundi has a deficit of 3,325,000 cubic meters of woods. That is to say, Burundi would have 1,031,000 ha of forest in 2020, which corresponds to 38.81% of the Burundi area,” warns Jacques Nkengurutse, an environmental expert.

Leaders of religious denominations and government officials attending a workshop on the effects of deforestation in Burundi

It was in a workshop organized on November 14 for leaders of religious denominations as well as government official on the effects of deforestation in Burundi and alternative solutions.
“Even if we had money to plant trees in the area in question, we wouldn’t have the place,” said the environment expert insisting that the afforestation situation in Burundi is alarming. He explained that the rapid population growth and other activities that affect the forests namely agriculture, use of firewood poses a significant threat to afforestation.

Nkengurutse indicates that the Burundians’ daily use of wood and charcoal in cooking food constitutes a major threat to forests. He said that Burundians must find other alternatives not to resort to wood only.
He suggests the use of natural gas for cooking in cities not to continue using charcoal only. «100 kg of wood are burned in order to produce 9 kg of charcoal,” the environmentalist mentions.

In rural areas, he proposes the promotion of techniques and energy saving tools namely moderate fireplaces and ovens to reduce the consumption of wood as well as the use of other energy sources such as biogas, fuel briquettes and hydroelectricity.

“People need to be aware of the danger of the effects of deforestation and must act,” says Nkengurutse.

Jacques Sagna, Norwegian Church Aid Country Director indicates that religious leaders and the government officials have a big influence on the population, so they were chosen to participate in this workshop hoping that they will force a change.