Doho Rice Scheme

Country/territory: Uganda

IBA criteria met: A1, A3, A4i (2001)
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Area: 3,200 ha

IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2012 high near favourable negligible
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Site description (baseline)
Most of the Doho Rice Scheme in eastern Uganda was formerly a seasonal wetland on the River Manafwa flood-plain. Doho Rice Scheme is an area of intensive irrigated rice cultivation with adjacent areas of natural wetland, mainly in the south. The swamps immediately to the north of the scheme have also been drained for rice-growing by independent farmers referred to as ‘outgrowers’. The swamps to the north form part of the Lake Kyoga complex. All of the rice-fields have irrigation channels which supply water to the rice-paddies from River Manafwa. Rice cultivation has not destroyed the wetland, but has changed the character and flora of most of the area from a natural ecosystem to a managed artificial environment. The remaining natural vegetation consists of reeds Phragmites, floating grass Vossia and various species of sedge (Cyperaceae), including papyrus Cyperus papyrus. Wet grasslands dominate seasonal swamps.

Key biodiversity
See Box and Table 3 for key species. There is no information on the avifauna of the site before it was transformed by rice cultivation. However, the transformation has created conditions favourable for some species, particularly waders, whilst destroying the habitats of others.This wetland forms part of the Lake Kyoga basin and more research, especially in the remaining intact swamps, could reveal other species of interest at the site, especially papyrus endemics. The area is also important for breeding Balearica regulorum, and other species such as Ardea melanocephala, Threskiornis aethiopicus and Platalea alba breed in Busolwe, a nearby trading centre. Recently, over 800 nests of Bubulcus ibis were recorded at the heronry. The rice scheme is an important site for some migratory species and big congregations are occasionally recorded. Species such as Himantopus himantopus, Limosa limosa and Tringa erythropus are sometimes numerous.<

Non-bird biodiversity: The ungulate Tragelaphus spekii (LR/nt) is known from the swamps, where it is hunted by the surrounding communities.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Doho Rice Scheme. Downloaded from on 02/06/2023.