Negative effects of deforestation in Rwanda

Deforestation occurs when forests are converted to non-forest areas for urbanization, agriculture and other reasons without sufficient reforestation. It is the permanent destruction of forests and woodlands. Therefore the negative effects of deforestation are summarized below;

Extinction of thousands of species

Destruction of the forests leads to loss of biodiversity. Many plants, shrubs, birds, butterflies and animal species become extinct as a result of deforestation.

Heavy soil erosion

The forest and plants provide a cover as their roots hold the soil in place. Without them soil erosion and landslides easily happen.  The soil is easily carried away to lower areas by rain water.

Greenhouse effect

Deforestation increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere heightens the threat of global warming as the trees and other plants that take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to use for their own photosynthesis are no longer there.

Silting of lakes, rivers and dams

Deforestation also results in the silting of lakes, rivers and dams which reduces their usefulness. The sediments deposit shortens the life span of dams and clogs the water and irrigation systems. The lakes become shallow and life in the lake water which supports the fish in the lake is destroyed.


Forests and other plants absorb water quickly in great amount during heavy rains hence reducing the volume of water going to the valleys. But due to massive destruction of plants, there are no longer adequate plants to absorb the water hence resulting into flooding in the lower lands.


The roots of the trees and plants bind soil to the roots and to the bed rock underlying it. This reduces soil by soil erosion agents like wind or water. The risk landslides increases as the plants are destroyed.

Degraded Watershed

As plants are destroyed watersheds become reduced leading to the loss of sustained water supplies for the country. This affects the capacity of the country to produce food for its people.


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