Energy-efficient stoves protect mountain gorilla habitat

Deforestation is threatening the population of Virunga mountain gorillas in Rwanda with extinction. New, energy-efficient stoves, which reduce firewood consumption, can help protect their habitat.

Of the 1,000 mountain gorillas worldwide, some 600 live in the Virunga Mountains in Rwanda. But their habitat is under threat from a growing population and its increasing demand for firewood.

To protect this species from extinction, the project partner of the Swiss climate protection organization by myclimate has teamed up with the local population to develop “an efficient stove model that can be produced locally and consumes more than two-thirds less firewood than conventional open three-stone fireplaces,” according to a press release.

The reduced wood consumption not only protects the habitat of the last mountain gorillas, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

What’s more, women and girls in particular have to spend much less time and money collecting firewood – a job that is traditionally in the hands of women, explains myclimate. The efficient stove also means they are also less exposed to the harmful soot particles of open fires, and it reduces the cooking time in half, allowing families to spend more time on other activities.

The project aims to sell and install up to 50,000 efficient stoves in Rwanda. Money from the CO2 compensation is being used to produce the stoves locally and offer subsidies when selling them to local households. The project contributes to the achievements of ten UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Image credit: Cai Tjeenk Willink / Commons Wikimedia

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