9/22/11 (AEIN) The Central African nation of Rwanda received a forestry award from the World Future Council (WFC) on Wednesday. It recognizes the Rwandan government's commitment to protect forests and reverse the process of deforestation, the U.N. reported late Wednesday.
The WFC's Director Alexandra Wandel announced the Gold Medal award, saying that only two other countries in western and central Africa had accomplished the reversal of deforestation. Rwanda has increased its forested land area by thirty-seven percent during the past twenty years, carrying out major efforts to plant more trees.
Rwanda's government has instituted a number of policies to protect the environment during recent years, including a ban on disposable plastic shopping bags. It also promotes ecotourism, a concept which seeks to obtain economic benefits from the environment and animal life through tourism, rather than exploiting them for commodities.
Deforestation and desertification are serious problems for many nations. Deforestation often renders countries more vulnerable to flooding. Desertification reaches about 4.8 million new acres (12M hectares) of productive land yearly, according to the U.N.