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Rwanda Passes Bill Making Cutting of Immature Trees Illegal

Rwanda’s lower house of parliament in has approved a bill proposing stricter measures to safeguard the country’s forests.

The bill prohibits the harvesting, utilization, and trade of immature trees, while also mandating Rwandans to secure permits from authorities prior to tree cutting, even for privately planted ones.

Furthermore, the legislation suggests increased penalties for unauthorized tree cutting, including fines of up to 3 million Rwandan francs ($2,300; £1,800).

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The country’s parliament stated that the aim of the law is to enhance environmental preservation and mitigate the impacts of climate change. According to the pro-government New Times website, Rwanda intends to utilize the bill to sell carbon credits, as mentioned by Environment Minister Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya.

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However, the proposed law has faced opposition from some Rwandans who perceive it as an impediment to accessing wood for cooking, construction, and other daily needs. Despite the dissent, Rwanda’s efforts in tree conservation have significantly increased the country’s forest cover from 10.7% in 2010 to 30.4% in 2022, as reported by the environment ministry.

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