The Department of Natural Resources comprises of the Natural Resources Office, the Lands and Physical Planning Office as well as the Forestry, Environment & Wetlands Office. This department is charged with the responsibility of ensuring sustainable and productive utilization of natural resources for poverty reduction, enhanced economic growth and improved livelihoods. The following are the key out puts for Natural Resource Sector; tree planting and afforestation,training in forestry management(Fuel saving technology, water shed management),forestry regulation and inspection, community training in wetland management ,river bank and wetland restoration, stakeholder environment training and sensitization, monitoring and evaluation of environmental compliance,land management services(surveying,Valuations,titling and lease management),infrastructure planning. The major causes of the deterioration in the quality and the quantity of the natural resource base is associated with human activity. There is massive deforestation particularly on privately owned land where over 75% 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.
The department has encountered a number of challenges like; depletion of trees from farm lands, poor farming practices in range lands, Transfer of farming activities from range lands to wetlands.
The District is generally hilly with valleys and a number of streams flowing from Mt. Elgon.
The District has two altitudes namely:
The middle zone that has highly steep slopes with an altitude of 1400M above sea level.
The high altitude which lies between 1400 – 2000M above sea level. The highest point in the District is at an altitude of 2573M above sea level and this is in Teryet.
The District has a relief climate with rich and fertile soils which are attributed to volcanic ash agglomerates from Mt. Elgon.
The District experiences two seasons with average rainfall of 920 – 1620MM in the months of March to November. Dry windy conditions are experienced between December and February. Occasional storms and landslides are experienced in the District.
The average temperature in the District is between 19oC – 22oC.
The District has four swamps, some of which are seasonal without permanent wetlands. There are seven main stream rivers which flow from Mt. Elgon downwards to the plains.
1. River Sirimityo.
2. River Chebonet.
3. River Cheseber.
4. River Kaptokwoi.
5. River Cheptui.
6. River Atari.
7. River Sipi.