Conservation Projects – Ecosystems

Intensive farming impacts on biodiversity in Rwanda

In 2007, the Rwandese Government launched its crop intensification programme to increase agricultural productivity in high-potential food crops and ensure food security.  Although the programme provides an opportunity for the country to achieve self-sufficiency, concerns on its environmental sustainability have been raised. Through field research that involved interviewing farmers, our Rwandese alumni investigated the impact of intensified crop farming on biodiversity, with emphasis on birds and butterflies.

Their findings showed that intensive cultivation leads to higher food production in the short-term, but reduced diversity of birds and butterflies on the farms in the long-term. The findings also indicate that mixed crop farming is beneficial for both food productivity and biodiversity. These results are important not only for Rwanda, but also for many other African countries that are considering intensified farming as one way to boost food security.