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The Nyungwe forest of Rwanda is being destroyed due to human activities. The forest along Rwanda's southeastern districts of Cyangugu, Kibuye and Butare, used to span over an area of more than 250,000 hectares, but now covers only 87,000 hectares. The forest is famous for its 200 tree species. Athnase Nyamacumu, an official of the Rwandan Tourism and National Park, blames human activities for the present situation. According to him, in addition to felling trees for firewood or for construction, farmers living close to the forest have plundered it for other illegal activities.
"The destructive activities range from mining for gold, slash-and-burn agriculture, pasture requirements or even deliberate fires that are lit every year," Nyamacumu said. He said the consequences of the environmental degradation are now being reflected in Rwanda, which experiences climatic disturbances such as prolonged dry season and unusual rise in temperatures. He says authorities should try to save the forest by taking various measures, including large-scale afforestation, educating people regarding the consequences of their rampant logging and involve them in environmental protection activities.
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