BUJUMBURA January 25th (ABP) – Burundi will soon reintroduce “indigenous” plant species to meet “multifaceted” national interests, this was disclosed in Bujumbura on Wednesday by Samuel Ndayiragije, Director General of the Burundian Authority for the Environmental Protection (OBPE), a University professor and environmental expert.
In an interview with the check by ABP, Ndayiragije said that this national program will be implemented during the next 2018-2019 tree planting season and will involve the planting of 135,150 species on an area of 100 hectares in the Bugarama and Rwegura perimeters located on the Congo-Nile ridge.
“The indigenous species we are talking about are species that existed in Burundi many years ago, but have somewhat disappeared in most of the Burundian ecological zones,” he said.
As an example, he cited among the trees to reintroduce those known under the vernacular names of “Cordia Africana (Burundi drum tree)”, “Prinus Africana” (production of red-colored lumber), ficus (making clothes in the Burundian tradition) and “Entandrophragma Excelsum” (large species that can easily reach a height of 30 to 40 meters).
To date, he added, many of these species are endangered in national protected areas and “completely” disappeared in most parts of Burundi, principally in three Burundian provinces such as Gitega and Mwaro in the center of Burundi, as well as Ngozi in the north, where natural forests no longer exist.
“Here, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this process will start by replanting those species where we have found their traces in the past, for example, the National Park of Kibira Natural Forest. The extension of this program in other parts of the country will follow,” he said.
The main cause of the disappearance of these indigenous species in Burundi is, according to him, the dwindling land at the national level following the issue of demographic “explosion” in Burundi. The people thus began to “invade” savannas and forests where those species were, which contributed to their disappearance.
To the question of the environmental interests targeted by the reintroduction of those species in Burundi, Expert Ndayiragije noted in particular the cultural rehabilitation, the medicinal interest to the extent that those trees are among many endangered medicinal species while they have an economic interest, as evidenced by the Prinus Africana trees that provide timber “highly appreciated” by furniture manufacturers.