The District is richly endowed with a number of unexploited and underutilized natural resources such as: -Small stretch of River Nile which contain a wide range of fish species, Forest Reserve in habited by wild life at Kei, Qualitative clay for making bricks, Tiles and pots and all clay products, Abundant Land and labour.
Neptune petroleum carried aerial survey in the south western part of the District. This has revealed potential for the presence of petroleum products. This Financial Year, seismic survey will start to determine the quality and quantity of petroleum products underneath this part of Yumbe district.
Like other districts within the region, majority of the people in Yumbe district still practice subsistence agriculture with the main grown crops being cassava, beans, sorghum, millet, groundnuts and pumpkins among others. Most of these crops are not processed but sold in their natural form. Tobacco has also been grown but has been on the decline over the years as it is being decampined by the government. But with the advent of a growing number of refugees in the district and demand for food rising, attention has once again shifted to growing of food crops to target both the locals and refugees.
Most parts of the District are agriculturally productive except the eastern part of Romogi, Kuru and Odravu sub counties. The District has loamy soil. Gravels are evident in some isolated parts of Kuru, Romogi and Odravu sub counties. While towards the eastern part of the district along the Nile basin is sandy.
Forest and Woodlands
Forests, trees and woodlands are important resources and play multiple ecological, economic, social and cultural roles. A forest is a type of vegetation dominated by trees, many species of which all are tall trees at maturity and have on average straight trunks. The canopy is typically deep and dense, being composed of several layers of foliage, and the herbaceous vegetation is generally open and lacks tussocks-forming grasses, which are characteristic of many types of Savannah.
Mt. Kei Forest Reserve
The major difference between woodlands and forests is that in the case of woodlands, trees are characteristically shorter than in forests and canopy is less dense.
About 80% of the total area of Yumbe is for agriculture, most of it is actually cultivated. Forestry and woodlands cover a very small part i.e. only 17.1% of the area (table 6). The district has a total of 411.78km2 of land under forestry and woodlands. There are three central forest reserves in the district;
Mt Kei natural forest reserve which is also a conservation area, covers an area of 40,689ha; Lodonga forest reserve is a plantation which is being majorly cultivated by tobacco farmers association to produce woodfuel and has an area of 106ha and Koloa forest reserve with an area of 614ha, has the same status with Lodonga forest reserve. The remaining is either ungazetted community forests e.g. Ujiji in Odravu sub county, or woodlands. National Forestry Authority (NFA) has taken over the management of the three central forest reserves which forms about 30% of the forest and woodland cover, leaving the 70% to the local governments for management.
Threats to forests and woodlands
Deforestation; is the main environmental issue confronting forests, Savannah woodland and bush lands. The major factors contributing to deforestation are: – a) encroachment, this majorly by settlers due to the ever increasing population, b) over exploitation of forest products-woodfuel, timber etc, c) opening up of new land for cultivation and, d) urbanization and institutional failures.
Pests; these are a common cause of forest degradation in many forests. The most destructive pest infestation is the termite. This is mainly observed during the dry season and reforestation periods.
Wild bush fires; this is done especially by the hunters during dry season and is one of the major threats;
Degazettement of the three central forest reserves: – Mt.Kei, Lodonga and Kulua due to increased population and reduced sizes of arable land for crop growth and Encroachment for agricultural production is rampant due ever increasing population.