The Government of Rwanda sets up a conducive policy environment to invest in several development initiatives. Agriculture sector as the main contributor in the economic development received supports to sustainably manage Rwandan hilly landscape, dominantly ranging from 5 to 55% slope gradient. Intensive erosion control interventions confronted with different approaches have been introduced in the country such as participatory landscape management, (participatory) integrated watershed management and site-located intervention without any specified approach. This chapter intends to describe and evaluate the impacts of these previous approaches used in Rwanda in order to retrieve the success stories and encountered challenges as lessons learnt in the future interventions for optimizing land productivity in a sustainable manner. Participatory landscape approach in Gishwati area was a success story in protecting degraded lands and generating ecosystem benefits. It leads to more sustainable natural resources management from participatory planning up to implementation which addressed the frequent landslides, erosion and flooding while sustainably exploit the land to the profit of local farmers in the livelihoods. About 6,600 ha of lands have been successfully protected with full-packaged bench terraces, rangeland blocks and forest regeneration. This participatory approach also helped to relocate people from high risk zones to other safe places and build capacities of farmers through farm-livestock cooperatives. On the other side, Nyanza and Karongi sites under LWH project also emphasized strong evidences how land husbandry technologies (terraces) efficiently reduced erosion risks and improved farmers’ livelihoods. Lands were made productive with implementation of bench terraces on 3212 and 2673 hectares respectively for the two selected sites. However, challenges were observed from technical and socio-economic contexts which might have caused farmers to abandon or under-exploit the terraced lands. Finally, the chapter suggests to scale up the participatory landscape management approach which supports the involvement of farmers’ communities in the process.


  • Rwanda, the country of thousand hills, has a small coverage area of 26,338 km2 with the highest population of 12 million inhabitants (416 habitants per km2), Soil Erosion - Current Challenges and Future Perspectives in a Changing World among African countries

  • The technical recommendations of bench terraces are based on an assumption of a soil depth of between 75 cm and 1 m and Vertical Interval (VI) of between 1.5–2 m and the calculation counted the Vertical Interval (VI) for the space needed between two succeeding bench terraces

  • This chapter described different erosion control approaches that have been adopted in Rwanda, focusing on two selected case studies such as Gishwati area and LWH project sites (Karongi and Nyanza)

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The country of thousand hills, has a small coverage area of 26,338 km with the highest (rural) population of 12 million inhabitants (416 habitants per km2), Soil Erosion - Current Challenges and Future Perspectives in a Changing World among African countries. Over the last two decades, the Government has experienced tremendous and steady rates of economic growth nationwide averaging 5.7% in 2019 [2] While this sector contributes approximately to about 27% of the national GDP and 68% of the labor force [1], there is an intense pressure on degradation of natural resources especially land and water, by occupying marginal and non-protected lands. Climate change conditions have to harmonize style and droughts reduced the performance of agriculture production system, resulting from to rainfall differences as affected by El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events (El Niño and La Niña) [11–13]. This renders small-scale, subsistence, rain-fed farming vulnerable and leads to more advanced land degradation problems.

Sustainable landscape management approach
Criteria for selecting appropriate land uses and managements
Exploiting available datasets
Consideration of slope gradient nature
Exploiting soil depth
Community-based factor
Result as success stories in sustainable landscape management
Involvement of stakeholders in promoting land husbandry technologies
Participation of beneficiairies in land redistribution in Gishwati area
Landscape restoration interventions in Gishwati area
Identification of land sensitivity levels or resilient categories
Cropland blocks
Description of the study areas
Implementation approach
Technical specifications of terrace establishment
Technical achievements
Social build-up of farmers exploiting developed lands
Success stories for participatory landscape management in Gishwati area
Lesson learnt from Rwanda experiences in land husbandry

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