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Uganda country paper
Highlights on characterization and
classification of wetlands

Wetland studies

Reconnaissance surveys of wetlands have been made countrywide. Semi-detailed studies have been made in selected wetlands. Detailed studies have been done only in a few wetlands, which have been earmarked for large-scale rice schemes, horticulture and dairy farms. Factors that have been studied so as to enable sustainable productivity are: climate, geology, morphology, soils, hydrology, land cover, biodiversity, agronomy, land uses, socio-economy, legislation and regulations. These studies however, are restricted to only a few wetlands.

Methodologies and tools used for the inventory and mapping are: transect walks, aerial survey and aerial photographs, remote sensing data, GIS, existing reports, mapping done in 10 of the 45 districts.

Constraints, related to wetland characterization and classification, are:

Responsible institutions, actual and intended users of wetlands

The National Wetlands Programme within the Ministry of Natural Resources, in collaboration with the National Biomass study project of the Forest Department, is responsible for all activities related to wetlands.

Among the actual and intended users of wetlands, one may count:

Paul Mafabi 
National Wetlands Programme 
Frank Akena 
Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries 

Sustainable development

Technology development, testing, transfer and adoption

Technology for sustainable wetland development for agriculture does not yet exist in Uganda and productivity of most of the reclaimed wetlands rapidly declines with time. This could be due to poor technology or poor management. At the moment most of the farmers do not have effective management practices. This has led to the drying up of a number of wetlands. In a few instances farmers practice ridge and furrow agriculture. On large scale farms, water is controlled and regulated.

Some technologies are being developed to classify and map some wetlands for agricultural purposes. Farmers will then be guided on the sustainability of their production system and that of the wetlands. Such technologies are yet to be tested before transfer or adoption.


Most of the country's large water bodies, especially the lakes and rivers, depend on wetlands for their recharge. Drained wetlands usually have a negative impact on hydrology and soils. Water tolerant crops such as yams and sugar cane are grown and wetland water is used for fisheries, irrigation and water for livestock.

Wetlands Policy

The National Wetlands Policy was launched in 1995 and has the following strategies:


Wetland systems are very dynamic and wetlands have high variation in soil types, which complicates wetland classification and sustainable development. Wetland boundaries are also difficult to define.

Research needs

Following the previous, the following research needs have been identified for successful and sustainable wetland development: (i) appropriate technology; (ii) sound management practices; (iii) wetland soils and (iv) wetland hydrology.

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