Private forest usage guidelines in Rwanda - Part I

  • Category: Management
  • Author: Fabrice Feyton
  • Published: Oct. 11, 2020
  • Views: 533


Forest owners are true heroes and they deserve a lot for their unmatched contribution to climate change mitigation. Owning a forest and bypass temptations to convert to other land uses like tea plantations or conventional farming has been the main driver of deforestation in different parts of the country. Rwanda, through Vision 2020 and EDPRS II (Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy II ) set a target to have an area covered by forests above 30% of the country area and it is achieving that target through different strategies as highlighted in National Forest Policy and The National Forest Law which are linked down.

In this post consisting of 5 parts, we will discuss how these strategies and forest laws affect private forest usage and what can be done to improve the system currently in place. Bear with me on this one, and make sure to comment your thought on the issues or share your issues here to be discussed.

Forests usage

As a forest owner, you need a license to use your forest in terms of harvesting and transportation of the products. This brings a lot of constraints on the usage of forest products and even brings many down the poverty road when untackled successfully. Punishment is high and fines are a great deal of money ranging from 100k to 1 million Rwandan francs. As one of my favorite principles says "Avoid fines at all costs or you will add to that cost to pay the fine", I am writing this posts to help people navigating the forest sector in Rwanda get a glimpse into the national forest law and national forest policy and what it means for private and smallholder forests owners.

As mentioned above, securing a license to use your forest products legally can be quite challenging as some people are new to owning forests, and the fact that forest owners are sometimes not the ones using their forests. Owners and investors need to work together and secure a license beforehand without cutting corners as those corners can be quite expensive when you are wrecked in the way.

Process of requesting licenses

To successfully use your forest harvest, it takes generally two licenses which can be pretty overwhelming for a citizen. Knowing where to request a license, how much to pay and what is required to obtain the license is a mystery for many as Forests Law is one of the under-discussed laws. This is mainly driven by the fact that many Rwandans own forests but never harvest the whole forest at once or they never need to transport the products.

Even though it may seem this way, punishment stated by the law is real and if you own a forest as RFA defines it. You must be aware of those laws and regulations. I am going to try and explain the process of requesting a harvesting or logging license, terms and conditions applied and the factors considered for a variety of forests based on their area. Then after I will briefly talk about the transport license, when you need it, and how to request it.

The next part, read on the following link:

Private forest usage guidelines in Rwanda - Part II


Rwanda National Forest Policy 2018

Rwanda National Forest Law 2013

I am student in Forestry and am happy to contribute to the available knowledge regarding this field. I am interested in use of data and technology to improve how forest sector is perceived and to improve investments in the sector....

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Posted by:   Fabrice Feyton  Date:   12 Oct 2020

Please share your thought on the process and give us a trip into your experience if you have requested a harvesting permit at any administrative level in Rwanda