The Department of Natural Resources is comprised of the Forestry, Environment, and Lands sectors physical planning ,and surveying.
The Department has the following sources of funding
- Environment and Natural Resources grant
- Departmental Allocation (local Revenue and unconditional grant)
Natural Resources Office
The office has been monitoring, supervising and coordinating the implementation of all the activities in the various sectors i.e. lands, environment and forestry as below:
State of natural resources in the district
Mayuge district is endowed with a variety of natural resources ranging from the Lake Victoria, sand and stone fields, wetlands and streams, hills, forests, etc.
Mayuge district is relatively flat with high ridges and isolated hills, adulating lowlands and perch vents. The hills are linear and of a cur vex nature scope between 2% and 8% and almost flat valleys of scope less than 2%.
The lowest point of 1200m above sea level is found in the north. The district has a long shoreline of Lake Victoria in the south with 6 islands forming part of the islands.
The national environment (management of lake shores/wetlands/riverbanks) regulations act 2000 provides for the 200m protection zone measured from the lowest water mark of the lake (Victoria). Despite the regulations, people have settled in the lake shores thereby altering the ecological setting of the lake and in the end affect productivity of this vital resource.
In addition, cultivation along the lake shores which have always associated with the use of agro chemicals has resulted in formation of algal blooms in the lake, a scenario that affects aquatic life as the amount of dissolved oxygen meant for the fish is reduced. The most affected are shores of musoli, buluuba, south central forest reserve, bukaleba central forest reserve (activities of Busoga Forest Company) and Nakalanga areas
Mayuge district has approximately 400 wetlands observation points according to the wetland inventory report .
90% of the wetlands have been reclaimed to agricultural land especially sugarcane, rice and vegetable growing. This situation has been worsened with the coming of Mayuge sugar industries ltd which has done much in establishing sugarcane estates in the wetlands and swamps of mpungwe and buwaya sub counties.
The most affected sub counties are baitambogwe, wairasa, imanyiro, and bukatube with almost all wetlands and swamps changed into sugarcane plantations. Mpungwe, buwaya, kigandalo, and kityerera sub counties are about to join the que if the situation is not checked.
Conversion of all land and fragile ecosystems into sugarcane plantations has serious environmental implications ranging from food insecurity and drought as it is being experienced in baitambogwe, kakira, wandago, and magamaga and wairasa areas.
However, a number of interventions such as the formulation of community based wetland management plans for vital wetlands like kabeere, kyankuzi, lumbuye, katunda bay etc. are being put in place and the operationalization of the Mayuge natural resources ordinance 2009 is a great medicine to the problem.
The district has limited urbanization and most of urban centres are just up-coming with Mayuge town council, magamaga, bugadde and Bwondha and nsango landing sites being the most prominent.
Environmental impact assessment have been carried out for most projects like mayuge sugar industries, telecommunication masts, fuel filling outlets and all other in the district development plan likely to have impact on the environment.
- Carried out community sensitization on wetland and lakeshores issues in Bukabooli Sub-County, Kayanja Kato/Kanyana wetland systems
- Executed environmental sensitization on wetland issues in Bukatube sub-county, Kabere wetland system.
- Carried environmental sensitization & education in the six (6) Islands of Mayuge District.
- Formulated Community Based Wetland Management Plans for Bugingo wetland system (Mayuge Town Council); Lumbuye wetland system (Buwaya Sub-County) & Bukasero- Bukatube – Lukindu system (Bukatube sub-county)
- Established tree plantations at Mayuge District Headquarters
- Established and Monitored community tree projects at Bunya SS, Kyebando Parish Church, Kigandalo SS, & Baliita Primary School
- Executed environmental inspections & surveillance at Mayuge Sugar industries, Bukatube Central Forest Reserve & in Mayuge Town Council (grain and coffee mills)
- Environmental Enforcement & Compliance monitoring in respect to fuel filling projects in Mayuge Town Council, Baitambogwe Sub-County, Kityerera, Imanyiro & Malongo sub-county was carried
- In conjunction with Inter Religions Initiative for Great Lakes Region (Kampala) & Friends of Community Health- Mayuge, convened Environmental & Health awareness conference. An acre of trees was also established at the district headquarters
- Conflict resolution to avert lakeshore user conflicts in Nakalanga, Walumbe & Namugongo in Bukatube Sub County was successfully done though wrangles still future.Environmental Monitoring of LGMSP projects was done. This is still on going to clearly ascertain compliance of projects with the Environmental & Social Management guidelines.
- Reviewed 4 projects and latter submitted reports to NEMA. These projects include the proposed Charcoal Kilns project by Busoga Forest Company at Kasali Village in Bukatube sub-county; Bukaleba Orphanage Home by Arise Africa International at Lawrence Village in Bukatube sub-county; Airtel Masts at Nsango and Buyugu village in Buwaaya and Bukabooli Sub-counties respectively.
1. Compliance with the Environment and Social management is still a challenge. Most developers including Local Government contracted companies have always neglected the aspect mitigating the negative impacts during and after project implementations as required by the law. For instance restoration of borrow pits has always been hard.
2. Poor relation with other Government Agencies like NFA (BFC). These don’t recognize the role played by the Environment and Natural Resources Department in the management of natural resources and ecosystems that are adjacent to central forest reserves.
3. There is still a challenge of over exploitation of fragile ecosystems in the district.
4. Environmental management in the Islands is still a challenge. These are hard to reach areas yet there is a funding inadequacy
5. Finally, environment issues are not taken as government priorities. Most plans have always ended up on papers and as ‘mere mentioning. Efforts by other sectors to mainstream environmental issues are still a challenge.
- The District Should Prioritize the Issue of Settling land disputes in Bukaleba and South Busoga CFRs by way of follow up of the presidential directives.
Mayuge district has various central forest reserves including south busoga, bukaleba, namafuma, and wabulungu. The state of these reserves leaves a lot to desire as they are only characterized by encroachment, uncontrolled tree cutting, boundary conflicts to the extent that some areas are just land reserved for the forest but actually no signs of a forest exists in most of these reserves due to uncontrolled clearance of the would be forests.
The pressure on tree resource (for charcoal, timber and fuel wood) is due to the increasing pressure on the limited size of land, which therefore calls for rationalized utilization of natural resources for sustainable development.
However, the department has tried to intervene by ensuring routine sensitization and education on tree planting; encouraging establishment of private tree nurseries and public/community tree projects which has tried has tried to improve on tree coverage in the district.
· Establish at least 3 private tree nurseries in each sub-county
· Train private tree farmers on thinning and pruning of their plantations
· Establish about 30 acres of tree plantations on private land comprising of pine, Eucalyptus and Musizi
· Train interested people in seed selection and storage
· Routine extension of forest knowledge on spacing, pitting and general planting of tree seedlings
· Improve on revenue collection from forest produce
· Linking private tree farmers to markets
· Encourage all timber dealers in the district to plant a minimum of 300 trees each.
· Promotion of Agro forestry on both the main land and the islands
· Encourage people along the lake to plant the recommended tree species in the 200m from the water body.
· Monitored & supervised the existing tree plantations at the district headquarters
Activities so far implemented
· Out of the 39 tree nursery beds we and planted to establish only 17 were established maintained and seeds disposed off
· All farmers with grown up tree plantations were trained in things and pruning except in the Islands
· Out of the 30 acres of tree plantations we planned to establish, only 11 were established and are being maintained under the supervision of the forest staff.
· 3 people, two from Bukaleba (Bukatube sub-county) and 1 from wandegeya (Kityerera sub-county) were trained in seed collection and given appropriate manuals.
· Routine extension of forest Knowledge has been and is still being carried out
· Market linkage. This has been achieved. We managed to get market for all the seedlings in every tree nursery
· 15 people (timber dealers) established plantations.
· Agro forestry knowledge has been extended to farmers even on the Islands.
- The revenue base of the forest produce tremendously reduced. Most of the timber and charcoal used to come from south Busoga Forest reserve. However, depletion of the trees couples with the land wrangles has greatly affected charcoal burning there in.
- Limitation of land has greatly affected plantation establishment. Plantation establishment has been left only to those with reasonable chunks of land.
- For purposes of being efficient and effective, the forest sector at least needs a motorcycle to cater for transport during extension work.
- Sugar cane Growing: this being a new development in the District. Most people have cut down trees in favour of sugar cane growing.
- Land wrangles in respect to forest reserves in the district have made sustainable management of forestry resources a challenge. These have also claimed a number of lives.
Despite Mayuge having that size of population, the average holding of land per household is approximately one acre which has led to the increasing pressure on land and the entire fragile ecosystems like the lake shore, wetlands/swamps, mountainous and hilly areas etc. in search for land for settlement and agriculture.
Survey and Titling of Government Land
After identification of government lands, the District council embarked on survey and registration of government lands.
The following pieces of District lands have been successful surveyed and registered under registration of title Act RTA (cap 205)
1. District Headquarters land
2. Nkoko Memorial. Technical Institute
3. District Land housing community hall/Probation office
We have started on sub-county headquarters, parish lands and Markets e.g. Magamaga, Lugolole etc.