Natural Resources

The sector is comprised of the following sub-sectors namely: Administrative Office, Forests, Wetlands, Environment and Land Management. The sector goal is; Management of natural resources in a sound and sustainable manner.

Table 2.21: Major sectoral indicators

Indicator Type Numbers/percentage
Percentage of land under Agriculture/Farming 90%
Estimated area under forest cover 2%
Deforestation –estimated rate of deforestation (area) 3%
Re-afforestation- estimated rate of afforestation (area) 5%
Percentage of land under Agriculture/Farming 90%
Percentage of wetlands used for Papyrus harvesting 5%
Existing rivers, swamps, lakes No river, 20 swamps
No. of trees planted 15,000 planted.

Source: Natural Resource Office 2015

Total land under forest cover is about 15,302 hectares constituting about 2.38% of the total land

Bukomansimbi has three major wetland systems

  1. Kyogya wetland system.
  2. Nabajuzi wetland system.
  3. Katonga wetland system.

Of these many are connected with many small branches (tributaries) with dire encroachment.  Among the most degraded are:

  1. Lwenzo – Kyabagoma in Kibinge Sub County
  2. Kataaba river in Butenga sub county
  3. Meru – Kabigi in Butenga sub county
  4. Kanoni Butenga sub county
  5. Kigungumika Butenga sub county
  6. Kisojo Kibinge sub county
  7. Serinya-Kibinge Kibinge sub county
  8. Kyogya part in Kitanda sub county
  9. Nabajuzi Butenga and Bigasa sub county
  10. Kyogya part in Bigasa subcounty.

These wetlands are many encroached on purposely for vegetable growing, and brick making.  Others destroy them by burning thereby destroying the environment.

Table 2.22: Shows Land Ownership in the District

Indicator Type Percentage/comment
No. of hectares under Lease Hold No data
Percentage of land under Free Hold 70%
Land ownership by tenure No data
Number of people/households with land titles 8%
Number of people/households with leasehold certificates 10%
Number of female-headed households owning land 1%

Source: Natural Resource Office, Bukomansimbi, 2015

Private Forests in the District

There are also naturally forested areas on both public and private land totaling to about 12,000ha. Currently, this is the major source of timber, fuel wood, and charcoal in the District. Being outside the protected areas, the management of private forests is poor and most of them are getting depleted. Private forest plantations in form of woodlots mainly of eucalyptus are scattered throughout the District.

Forest Deforestation/Degradation in Bukomansimbi

According to The National Biomass Study, 2003, Bukomansimbi District has a very high percentage rate of deforestation. It is only second to Bundibugyo with 31% of Central Forest Reserves and 23% of the Local Forest Reserves deforested. 4,930 hectares of the Central Forest Reserves have been degraded. (National Biomass Study Technical Report, 2003)

This problem arose due to the transition from the traditional forest department to the National Forestry Authority

Environment and Wetlands

Socio – Economic Values

Wetlands in Bukomansimbi have quite a number of socio – economic values. The wetlands plants such as papyrus are extensively used for making crafts and are a source of thatching materials. Phoenix species are also used for building, making chairs and fencing. Other vegetation is used as source of materials for mulching, fire wood and herbal medicines from Kyogya wetland.

Most wetlands are a source of water, both domestic and water for production.

A number of wetlands are used for grazing animals, especially during the dry seasons.

Ecological Values

Wetlands in Bukomansimbi perform a critical function of maintaining the hydrological balance. They store excess water during the rainy seasons and release it gradually during the dry conditions. This is important for maintaining the water table high and for controlling the floods. They are also useful for modifying the microclimate.

Wetlands form habitants for wildlife. They form habitats for the crested crane and other rare species of birds, animals and other lower animals.

Riverine wetlands and those along lake shore filter out the pollutants, silt, and other heavy metals, thereby reducing the pollution of the lake.

 Threats of Wetlands in Bukomansimbi

Despite the above benefits and values, wetlands in Bukomansimbi pose very serious issues of concern.

These issues include the following: –

  1. Conversion/Encroachment
  2. Burning
  3. Over harvesting of Wetland Resources
  4. Pollution
  5. Construction

Wetland Management Planning in Bukomansimbi

Together with other development partners, Bukomansimbi District has developed wetland management options. With support from the then Masaka District adopted the Wise Use of natural resources concept. This has been demonstrated in Kyojja wetland, where the Kyojja Wetland Management Association – a community wetland management group spearheaded the implementation of the management plan. However, this management plan needs review in order to address the emerging issues.

 Tourism and Culture

Bukomansimbi District has a very high potential for tourism. This is due to its unique features and its proximity to Kampala via Kalungu District and to the other important national parks in western Uganda.  However, this potential is yet to be harnessed and developed.

Bukomansimbi District is located in the central region where the majority of the people are practicing Buganda culture. There are various cultural sites which depict the peoples’ royalty to their King (Kabaka) e.g. the palaces, totem sites for different clans and caves

Trends in key environmental issues in the district

Bukomansimbi being the second in deforestation at rate of 31%, the District is the process of undertaking tree planting campaign on private land and reforestation of the degraded forest reserves. The District forest officer has developed the tree planting proposal to source for funding from both the District and other funding bodies within the country. National Forest Authority has embanked on intensive tree planting through leasing out deforested land in forest reserves to private tree farmers. They are also recovering Kitasi forest reserves from degradation back to natural state through planting of the indigenous species.

Waste management and the general hygiene in the District being in sole state, the District council has resolved to pass an ordinance to control and guide waste management and increase hygienic standards in the District. They are also concerned over the up-coming un-planed trading centers in the District.

Through efforts by the ministry of local government and national environment management authority, main-streaming of environmental concerns in the District developmental activities under different programs has started to take root. E.g. LGMSDP, SFG and the Roads sector.

The continuous public awareness on environment issues and compliance assistance being given, developer as started to develop interest in conducting and implementing environmental impact assessment for their developments and over 50 in number EIAs and audits have been conducted and some have been approved by the National Environment Management Authority

Response to Environment Change

District Environment Policy and Reform

Bukomansimbi District has got management of environment as one of its strategic objectives for the development of the District. The District has already established and facilitated a full fledged Department of Environment. It has also included environmental concerns in the District development plan and sub county development plans.

It is also taking strides through a rigorous environmental screening process in integrating in all the programme investments and projects in the District. Integration of environmental concerns in the development programs and projects is now a core condition to access funding to lower local governments e.g. LGMSDP and SFG.