Natural resources

The Department is mandated to ensure attainment of sustainable development through rational utilization of environmental resources for inter and intra-generational equity. This is derived from 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda under the National Environment Act CAP 153 and as amended 2019.
The department is composed of four Sectors that is;
• Environment,
• Forestry,
• Lands and Surveys and
• Physical planning.

The department is charged with the responsibility of ensuring sustainable and productive utilisation of natural resources for poverty reduction, enhanced economic growth and improved livelihoods.
The major causes of the deterioration of quality and quantity of the natural resource base is associated with human activity that is massive deforestation particularly on privately owned land where most of the districts tree resources are. This is closely followed by wetland degradation as a result of cultivation of crops. Other threats are soil erosion whose magnitude and impact has never been quantified.


Wetlands act as water reservoirs that are sources for various safe water points in the District. More so, they are a basis for productive activities like brick making, sand excavation for construction and also provide raw materials for the handcraft industry that employ mainly the youth and the women. The District has many small rivers and streams like Ishasha, Nchwera, Kiruruma and Birara. Besides various fish ponds, Lake Edward is the main source of fish in the District. The District is also endowed with a number of wetlands both seasonal and permanent, which serve as water reservoirs and other ecological functions.
However, these natural resources have faced degradation in various aspects resulting into land degradation, loss in soil fertility, soil erosion, deforestation, wetland degradation, pollution and mining.

State of Wetlands
The district is also endowed with a number of wetlands both seasonal and permanent, which serve as water reservoirs and other ecological functions.
 Number of rivers and lakes: 10%
 Percentage of wetlands used for papyrus harvesting: (grass) 5%
 Reclamation for human settlement and activities: (agriculture livestock) 95%

The land in Kanungu District is highly fragmented due to traditional practices of inheritance and high population density. Land is held in customary private ownership although there are few relatively well-off farmers with leasehold titles. Land fragmentation is a common feature. There has been Land degradation resulting from overuse, land shortage, increase in population, soil erosion and loss of soil fertility especially in the sub counties of Rutenga, Rugyeyo, Kanyantorogo, Kirima and Kayonza. This has lowered crop harvests and food shortages. Settlement and cultivation in ecologically sensitive areas like Enengo, which are susceptible to landslides and Soil erosion, caused by floor farming, practices bush burning, deforestation example Rutenga Sub County. Loss of soil fertility due to poor farming practices, nutrient leaching soil and bush burning and overgrazing. Loss of vegetation/tree cover due to clearing for farming, search for fire wood charcoal and other products. Wetland drainage due to over harvesting of materials drainage to create farm land and land shortage resulting from increase in population example Kayonza Rugyeyo Kihiihi and Kambuga. Water pollution due to mining of clay, sand and other minerals, dumping of wastes from corroded soil and contamination from animal and human faeces on river Ishasha, Birara and Kiruruma.

Status of land use in kanungu District
 Percentage of land under agriculture: 64%
 Percentage of land under commercial farming: 4%
 Percentage of land occupied by forest reserves: 22%

Over the last 10 years, the District has been providing tree seedlings to farmers and this has increased the number of woodlots and tree plantations in the District. The species provided has been mainly eucalyptus and pine. In terms of value addition to the forestry products, there are few carpentry workshops in the District. Thus, most of the forestry products are sold to markets outside the District especially in Kampala. The forest products are mainly electricity poles and timber. Woodlots service the local demand for wood fuel at household and institutional levels. Also, there is increasing demand for wood fuel for brick making in the District especially by the male youths.100 hectares of coniferous species leased from NFA.
42 acres under plantation but highly encroached and degraded by municipal waste dumping. Heavily encroached for cultivation and exact, Natural forest with no conservation entity/ownership but highly productive for wild fruits, under management of NFA.

Natural and planted forests
Kanungu District was endowed with forests, trees and woodlands. However, most of the forests remaining are in the protected areas. Over 90% of the population of Kanungu depends on forests and trees as fuel wood, furniture and building.
Type of Forest Size
Natural Forests 82 acres
Plantations 1806 acres
Central Forest Reserves 497 Hectares
District/Local Forest reserves 76 Hectares

Urbanization, Housing and Physical Planning

In Kanungu, urbanization has been increasing overtime and has been defined as the increase in the proportion of the population living in the urban area. However the definition of urban areas has been changing over time. The 2014 census defined urban areas as only the gazetted ones while the earlier censuses included ungazetted urban centres with more than 1000 people as part of the urban population. While 230,173 (79.8%) lived in rural areas, 58,372(20.2 %) live in urban areas. Most of the areas classified as urban areas in the District are peri-urban. Although growth of the urban population has been accelerated by internal migration, there are two other factors which have contributed immensely to urban growth in Kanungu though they have tended to militate against the urban concept. Urban growth is largely attributed to rural urban migration and partly to the gazetting of new urban areas. The population sizes of urban areas vary between 1000 - 20,000 people. Urban areas are constituted of town boards and town councils. Although the rapid urban growth has been taking place, urbanization results are instead the opposite, i.e. developments that are inconsistent with urban ways of life and overstretching of existing urban infrastructure and other amenities, thus adversely affecting the welfare of the urban population. Prostitution, pollution and waste disposal, issues of food, accommodation and sanitation are other challenges in urban areas.