Home NewsNational New Improved Technology To Reduce Loss of Trees Planted In Rwanda

New Improved Technology To Reduce Loss of Trees Planted In Rwanda

by Daniel Sabiiti
11:38 am

Roots & Shoots Rwanda and ISARO Econext members joined Runda residents in the tech-monitored tree planting exercise

Roots & Shoots Rwanda in collaboration with ISARO Econext have launched a fresh community awareness and tree planting campaign to use an improved technology to remotely monitor the growth of all planted trees.

The new technology “Eco Forest App” was demonstrated to citizens in in Runda sector, Kamonyi district, on February 27, 2024 in which members of both organizations also joined residents in a tree planting community exercise (Umuganda) where 400 trees were planted to reach 1,700 trees which are currently monitored by the tech.

The App was developed by ISARO Econext – a social interactive platform to engage individuals and organizations to take measurable climate actions as well as promote green innovations.

The earlier tree monitoring technology (using a QR Code Scanner placed on trees) was first introduced and applied in 2022 after years of research and hard work, according, to Amudala Museme, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at ISARO Econext.

However, this met with challenges of children removing the QR Code from the marked trees, thus making it difficult to track the trees and their growth.

ISARO Econext led by their CTO Amudala Museme (3rd right) ready to demonstrate the improved tree monitoring tech

Christian Niyigena Gasaro, the Founder of Isaro Econext said that they developed a new application technology to improve the monitoring of the newly planted trees which will be done between the citizen, the green agent, the organization that donated the tree, and the satellite technology.

Gasaro stated that their findings show about 30% of newly planted trees die or get damaged and do get to grow, thus a need for innovative tech-driven initiatives to respond to the challenge that can negative impact on the intended goals of planting trees in Rwanda.

Christian Niyigena Gasaro (right) hands over trees to Runda women and youth

The use and scale up of this technology is expected to positively impact on the country’s targets to increase forest cover and meet the country’s commitment to bringing two million hectares of land under restoration by 2030 through the Bonn Challenge.

With a 30.4% forest cover in Rwanda every year Rwandans plant millions of trees as part of an annual tree planting season with the common objective to maintain the forest coverage and increase their productivity.

For instance, from last year, Rwanda’s goal was to plant 63 million seedlings from October 2023 to February 2024 under the theme: “Healthy Forests, Healthy Planet”

Testing and demonstration of the tree recording tech

“This means that with the new technology, we will be able to reduce loss of trees which are planted and not monitored. This will benefit the citizen, the organization and attain the intended goals of protecting environment,” Gasaro said.

This goals will be attained by working with trained green agents (currently in Kamonyi and Muhanga districts) and collaboration with sector based agronomists to create impact locally using the application.

The App is available on smart phones (to enter data and monitor) and can be used by citizens to report any issues with trees or seek help using a USSD phone (by dialing *801*11#) to inform and seek help with the application systems and from manpower on ground.

All newly planted trees to be monitored remotely and physically

Gasaro explained that in order to ensure the trained green agents are doing a good job, they are required to monitor the newly planted trees and their growth every 2 weeks and enter an update report in the application system- which makes it easy to hold them accountable and not dodge their responsibility.

Gasaro also revealed that the application can also be used to acquire a 0% interest rated grant for trees which can help citizens to plant more income generating trees and fruit trees. So far over 30,000 trees have been loaned.

Clėmence Idukunda, the National Coordinator for Roots & Shoots Rwanda speaking to local media

According to Clėmence Idukunda, the National Coordinator for Roots & Shoots Rwanda- which is focused on making positive change in communities, for animals and for the environment, the introduction of technology means that they will follow up properly and see benefits in the targeted communities.

“We plan to increase the number of trees that will be tech monitored to 3,000 this year because we are sure they will grow and have an impact,” Idukunda said.

Runda Sector Agronome, Solange Muhimpundu (2nd right) used the opportunity to educate citizens on the need to protect planted trees

Runda Sector Agronome, Solange Muhimpundu said that the new technology will improve the work of local leaders to mobilize citizens to plant and monitor trees and this should be scaled up to more community even when it will not take away the need to conduct mass campaigns to educate citizens about safeguarding trees.

“The reason here is to avoid reporting dead or damaged trees in the new system. This doesn’t help the citizen, that is why we need to continue educating communities but work along the enabling technology,” Muhimpundu said.

Roots & Shoots Rwanda believes that successful tree planting needs women at the center

With the support by Noble Women’s Initiative; Roots & Shoots Rwanda and ISARO Econext donated trees to a student’s environment club at GS JMV Muganza in Muganza sector but also in order to encourage resident to be proactive, they also donated fruit trees to the community.

The excercise was also a learning experience for some volunteer students from INES Ruhengeri who are interested in contributing to Rwanda’s development.

Trees donated with the support by Noble Women’s Initiative who intend to support local initiatives

GS JMV Muganza students with their trees to plant

GS JMV Muganza students receive trees donated with the support of the Noble Women’s Initiative



Related Posts