With « Ape trees », Primate Expertise and Wild Earth Allies are reforesting degraded forest in and around Kahuzi Biega National Park.

Through this program, Primate Expertise is contributing to reforest degraded forest areas in and around the grauer’s Gorilla habitat at Kahuzi Biega National Park (KBNP). To achieve this, we are practicing our innovative and non-destructive approach called Ape tree. This approach consists of producing plants from seeds collected in the ape dung.

 

 

 

PEx-WEA’s reforestation program is helping to reduce pressure on the park’s resources and restore Grauer’s gorillas habitat. Over the past ten years, due to deforestation, Kahuzi Biega National Park has lost more than 400 hectares of its forest. This large-scale deforestation affects Grauer’s gorilla conservation as well as other species sharing the same habitat as the gorilla.

Thanks to studies of several researchers on the diet of great apes, it has been observed several times that Gorillas and Chimpanzees of the KBNP consume the fruits of certain forest species (Syzigium guineensis, bridelia bridelifolia, Myrianthus holtii, Allophyllus kivuensis, Ekebergia campensis….). These seeds once have passed through digestive tract of great apes, their germinative power is boosted. These seeds are visibly present in their droppings.

« Ape trees » is a valuable practice that contributes to grauer’s gorilla’s habitat restoration and reduce impacts of climate change as well as food security. To fulfill reforestation of degraded areas in KBNP, Primate Expertise collaborate with local communities to restore degraded areas in KBNP. From September 2020 up to now, PEx have restored 150 hectares of degraded forest areas in KBNP and planted 3419 ape trees on 5.8 hectares in differents villages around KBNP. On idjwi island, we are restoring habitat of blue monkeys of Schoutdeni at Bulolero where 1399 Ape trees were planted.

A part of reforestation of degraded areas in and around KBNP, Primate Expertise produces and promote fruit for local communities to improve their livelihood. In fact, Primate Expertise have distributed more than 6,565 fruit plants in 10 villages around the KBNP.

In collaboration with CRSN Lwiro, PEx is domesticating ape trees on an area of approximately 2.5 hectares in the botanical garden. So far, more than 1600 ape trees have been planted.