KIGALI, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Rwandan Ministry of Environment Saturday launched a countrywide tree planting season with a total of 43,589 hectares of land set to be covered with trees over the next six months.
The launch took place in Gatenga Sector in Kicukiro District of capital city Kigali, where 180 hectares of agroforestry and 30 hectares of woodlots will be planted and 175 hectares of degraded forest lands will be rehabilitated during this year's forest planting season.
Rwandan Minister of Cabinet Affairs Marie Solange Kayisire at the launched encouraged all Rwandans to be active in protecting and expanding Rwanda's forests to build a green and healthy nation.
Tree planting efforts will support Rwanda to achieve the target of covering 30 percent of the country with forests, she said.
She also called on Rwandans to plant ornamental trees in their gardens and fruit trees around their homes and agricultural lands to contribute to food security.
This year's tree planting season, organized by Ministry of Environment together with several other government partners, is dedicated to increasing community involvement and ownership in landscape restoration for enhanced impact and sustainability.
Throughout the season, a total of 38,119 hectares of agroforestry, 4,800 hectares of classic forestry and 225,440 fruit trees will be planted. In addition, 670 hectares of degraded forests will be rehabilitated countrywide.
Special attention will be given to Kigali and Eastern Province in this year's tree planting season, due to shortage of forest cover.
Currently, forestry coverage stands at 29.8 percent, of which plantation forests occupy 17.9 percent and natural forests comprise 11.9 percent, Ministry of Environment said in a statement released Saturday.
The 2016 national forest inventory revealed that Rwanda's forests are degraded and need special attention to improve management of planted trees and rehabilitation of degraded forest lands.
The launch also coincided with the celebration of the 43rd national Tree Planting Day, which drew local residents, government officials, members of security agencies and the private sector to plant trees.