Outdoor Photographer

Filming in the Land of 1,000 Hills

The close of the 20th century was a dark time for the people of Rwanda. The 1994 genocide during a four-year civil war took the lives of an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people. This had not only a tragic human impact but also an environmental one as well. Refugees returned in chaos, many having lost their lands, and took up subsistence farming, clearing vast expanses of ancient forest in the process. An archived web page at NASA.gov estimates that in the years between 1986 and 2001, only “1,500 acres of the [Gishwati] forest’s original 250,000” remained.

Things are looking brighter for Rwanda in the 21st century. In 2004, Nyungwe Forest National Park was established. About 30 miles to the south of Gishwati Forest, it encompasses the largest remaining forest in the African nation. In 2007, the Gishwati Area Conservation Program formed to protect the remaining forest there. These efforts are a tremendous win for the wildlife and biodiversity of the region.

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