Land, as a valuable natural resource, is an important pillar of Rwanda’s sustainable development. The majority of Rwanda’s 80% rural population rely on agriculture for their livelihood, and land is crucial for agriculture. However, since a high population density has made land a scarce commodity, growth in the agricultural sector and plans for rapid urbanisation are being constrained, and cross-sectoral trade-offs are becoming increasingly important, with a risk that long-term sustainability may be threatened if these trade-offs are not considered. To help track land value trends and assess trade-offs, and to help assess the sustainability of trends in land use and land cover, Rwanda has begun developing natural capital accounts for land in keeping with the United Nations’ System of Environmental-Economic Accounting. This paper reports on Rwanda’s progress with these accounts. The accounting approach adopted in our study measures changes in land use and land cover and quantifies stocks for the period under study (2014–2015). Rwanda is one of the first developing countries to develop natural capital accounts for land, but the wide range of possible uses in policy analysis suggests that such accounts could be useful for other countries as well.
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