Forest ThreatNet

Volume 10, Issue 4 - September/October 2016

An Assignment in Africa Connects Forests, Water, and People

Cohen, McNulty, and Sun stand in front of a tea plantation in western RwandaIn the east-central African country of Rwanda, people primarily rely on surface water for drinking, hydroelectric power, and irrigation for subsistence and export crops grown across 70 percent of Rwanda’s land. “Water is critical to the security and well-being of any country regardless of the country’s wealth, but water is everything to the people of Rwanda,” says Eastern Threat Center research ecologist Steve McNulty. In 2011, McNulty and Center researchers Ge Sun and Erika (Cohen) Mack collaborated with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Rwanda Agricultural Board to perform a rapid assessment of Rwanda’s water resources using the Water Supply Stress Index (WaSSI) model, now described in a recently published case study. Rwandan officials received the assessment results and now have the ability to use WaSSI themselves to see how changes in land cover, leaf area, and current and future climate can affect runoff and surface water supplies for watersheds and sectors across the country. Read more in CompassLive...

Pictured: From left to right, Erika Mack, Steve McNulty, and Ge Sun stand in front of a tea plantation in western Rwanda. Photo by Ge Sun, U.S. Forest Service.

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