Rwanda is a small country in the heart of Central Africa, covering 26,338 km2. It is surrounded in the north by Uganda, in the east by Tanzania, in the south by Burundi and in the west by the Democratic Republic of Congo. The shortest distance to the Ocean is 1,200 km. Rwanda’s altitude ranges between 1,000 m in the southwest (Bugarama) and 4,500 m in the northwest (Volcanoes Range). The country is also called the “country with a thousand hills” because of its terrain. Despite its territorially small size, Rwanda is covered by diversified ecosystems including mountain rainforests, forests, savannahs, and wetlands. All these ecosystems accommodate a wealth of flora and fauna. The country has biodiversity adapted to each environment.
National protected areas (national parks and reserves) provide a large number of goods and services that are contributing to the growth of the national economy as well as to improving the welfare of the people. Concentrated in protected areas, particularly in national parks, the tourism sector is estimated to have generated USD 293.6 million in 2013. The country’s economic prosperity depends on how natural capital is maintained.