Climate Resilient Altitudinal Gradients - CRAGs

Altitudinal Gradients matter: they are important for domestic, industrial water supplies and sustain Key Biodiversity Areas. In the context of the African Great Lakes Region, the freshwater provision and regulation is the most crucial ecosystem service that is driven by Altitudinal Gradients. These landscapes are likely to occur everywhere; ranging from the very steep slopes in the Lake Kivu and Rusizi River Catchments (Rwanda, DRC and Burundi), to the more gentle hillsides around Lake Victoria (Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania). However, these mountains experience increasing pressures, including climate change and unsustainable land use practices. If these gradients remain dangerously vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, the well-being of humans and natural ecosystems is threatened.

CRAG II: Building the Climate Change Resilience in the Lake Kivu and Rusizi River Catchments Project 3 October 2017
Project Countries: Rwanda and Burundi Project Area: Sebeya and Ruhwa River Systems (Rwanda), Muhira River system (Burundi) Project Duration: April 2017 – March 2019
Enhancing Climate Change Resilience in Great Lakes Region Watersheds: the Lake Kivu Catchment and Rusizi River CRAG Project 1 October 2014
The acronym CRAG stands for Climate Resilient Altitudinal Gradient, which is a landscape unit with a minimum altitudinal range of 1,000 meters, and which is characterized by climate resilient biodiversity and ecosystem service values. The goal of the project is to help to understand, and respond to, increased environmental pressures from climate change, and to create and expand incentives to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services in the South Kivu and Rusizi River catchments.
Towards protecting the water towers in the Lake Kivu and Rusizi River basins, Rwanda Basic page 14 March 2019
By Providence Akayezu, Ken Mwathe and Felicien Karekezi Uwizeye A number of rivers take source from these mountains of the North Western Rwanda  
Sedimentation in Lake Kivu, fish breeding sites are threatened ©ACNR
Efforts to enhance climate change resilience in the Lake Kivu and Rusizi River Basins News 18 August 2016
The CRAG project is applying various conservation approaches and activities, such as integrated water management; ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change; soil erosion, pollution and forest management; and community livelihoods, which have impact across a landscape gradient in ways that directly benefit human wellbeing and the biodiversity.
View of Lake Kivu from Rusizi River © Josep Casas
Sediment fingerprinting: monitoring erosion in the Lake Kivu-Rusizi River landscape News 26 July 2016
Erosion resulting from human activities such as agriculture is a widespread and major cause of land degradation. Addressing erosion and sedimentation is therefore central to the CRAG approach currently being piloted in the Lake Kivu–Rusizi River Basins in Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda.
Rukarara microhydropower plant outside NNP ©WCS Rwanda
Understanding stakeholder’s perspectives on sustainable financing mechanisms for conservation in Rusizi-Kivu News 6 May 2016
Protected forests in Kivu-Rusizi Climate Resilient Altitudinal Gradient (CRAG) landscape are highly important for the well-being of its surrounding human population.
Over 310,000 seedlings to mitigate the local impacts of climate change News 27 October 2015
The Association pour la Conservation de la Nature au Rwanda (ACNR), the BirdLife International partner in Rwanda, plus other partners in the region work together to enhance climate change resilience in the Lake Kivu Basin by applying the CRAG approach.
The reality of climate change in peoples' lives News 16 April 2015
Major changes to the climate are happening in the villages of South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo, affecting the physical environment and even the social structure of the communities. Horizon Nature is an NGO working in South Kivu and is partnering with BirdLife International and other partners in the region to enhancing climate change resilience in the Lake Kivu Basin through applying the CRAG approach.