Dr. Ronald Twongyirwe (BSc., MSc., MPhil., PhD)

Mbarara University of Science and Technology

Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies

Senior Lecturer, and Head

Department of Environment and Livelihoods Support Systems

                                            E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Research interests lie in modelling socio–ecological systems; understanding complex (rural/urban) land use, vegetation and hydrological interactions; biodiversity conservation; emerging (debates on) climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies at both the local and international levels (e.g. REDD+); governance and environmental systems; soil and environmental science and policy; environment and development; extractive industries with a focus on oil and gold, and natural resource management.


·  Jan 2016–present: Senior Lecturer, Department of Environment and Livelihoods Support Systems, Institute of Interdisciplinary Training and Research, Mbarara University of Science and Technology

·       Aug 2015 – Feb 2016: Forestry Carbon Manager, Uganda Carbon Bureau.

·       May 2015 – July 2015: Consultant, UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge.

·       Oct 2014 – June 2015: Demonstrator GIS and Statistics, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.

·       June 2014 – June 2015: Consultant, PhD Tutors, UK.

·       Feb 2011 – Oct 2011: Forestry Carbon Specialist, Uganda Carbon Bureau.

·       May 2010 – Jan 2011: Consultant, Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation.

·       June 2009 – May 2010: Research Fellow, Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation, Mbarara University of Science and Technology.

·       Sept 2007 – Dec 2008: Research Assistant, National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCCRI).



·       PhD, University of Cambridge (England)

·       M.Phil. in Environmental Science, University of Cambridge (England)

·       M.Sc. in Environment and Natural Resources, Makerere University

·       B.Sc. Agric (land use and management), Makerere University


Graduate student supervision

I am willing to supervise MSc. and PhD students with similar research interests, but also keen to explore new ideas and areas.


·       Urban Ecology (Undergraduate)

·       Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems (Undergraduate)

·       Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (Undergraduate)

·       Introduction to Soil Science (Undergraduate)

·       Plant Nutrition and Soil Fertility Management (Undergraduate)

·       Statistics for Agricultural Research (Undergraduate)

·       Rangeland Management (Undergraduate)

·       Environment and Development (Postgraduate)

Current Research Projects

Principle Investigator: Analysis of past and projected future land use change and its impact on sediment fluxes in the Rwizi catchment (2018–2021) – in partnership with Prof. Anton Van Rompaey, KU Leuven. Funded by VLIR-OUS

Co-Principle Investigator: Natural Hazards, Risks and Society in Africa: Developing Knowledge and Capacities (HARISSA project: 2019–2023) – in partnership with Dr. Francois Kervyn, Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Museum of Central Africa (Belgium), funded by Belgium Development Cooperation

Co-Investigator: Sustainability Transformations in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining: A Multi-Actor and Trans-Regional Perspective (2018-2021- in partnership with Prof. Eleanor Fisher and multiple collaborators in Europe, Africa and South America. A multi-continental projected funded by a consortium of bodies including UK (ESRC), Brazil (FAPESP), Netherlands (NWO), Sweden (VR), Low-and lower-middle-income countries (ISSC)

Principal Investigator: Natural Resource Management in the Northern Albertine Rift Landscape, Western Uganda: Agent–based Modelling of Household Land Utilisation for Conflict Reduction (2017-2018) – in partnership with Prof. Eleanor Fisher, University of Reading. Funded by USAID in partnership with Texas A & M University

Recently Completed Research Projects

Co-Investigator: Resilience of cultural heritage to climate change in Southeast Asia (2018-2019) – in partnership with Dr. Alexandre Gagnon, School of Computing, Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of the West Scotland, and scholars from Thailand and Vietnam. Funded by Global Challenges Research Fund Networking Grant (GCRF)

Principle Investigator: Network for Interdisciplinary Partnership on Mineral Sector Development, Social Equity and Inclusion in Africa (2018–2019) – in partnership with Prof. Eleanor Fisher, University of Reading. Funded by Academy of Medical Sciences Global Challenges Research Fund Networking Grant Scheme

Principal Investigator: Agent-based modelling of rangeland health for sustainable dairy production in Uganda’s South-western Cattle Corridor (2016-2018) – in partnership with Dr. Mike Bithell, University of Cambridge. Funded by Cambridge–Africa Alborada Trust – completed

Current Postgraduate Students


Upton Nuwagira – “Tracing the Changing River Rwizi Morphology, Riparian Land use and Vegetation Cover in the Past 50 years” (Registered at MUST)

Yasin Igga – “Termite Mounds, Vegetation Dynamics and Rangeland Health in the Rwizi Catchment: Interrogating Anthropogenic Impacts” (Registered at MUST)

Aggrey Nshekanabo – “The Contribution of Urban Agriculture in Building Resilient Livelihoods of the Urban Poor. A Case Study of Mbarara Municipality” (Registered at MUST)

Kanyesigye Pison – “Gender based violence and Sustainable livelihoods in Sheema district” (Registered at MUST)

Lazarus Bwambale – “Hermetic silos and household food security for smallholder farmers in Kasese district” (Registered at MUST)

Robert Canpara – “Spatio-temporal distribution of tsetse flies in Nebbi district, Uganda” On-going (Registered at Gulu University)


Violet Kanyiginya Twagira – “Assessment of Natural Hazards in the South Western Region of Uganda” On-going (Registered at KU Leuven, Belgium), funded by HARISSA project.

Rogers Mutyebere – “Knowledge transfer for adoption of effective disaster risk management strategies and improved livelihoods: evidence from south western Uganda” - On-going (Registered at KU Leuven, Belgium), funded by D-SIRE project.

Samuel Tumwesigye “Influence of demographic developments on land use changes and the degradation of River Rwizi in Uganda” On-going (Registered at KU Leuven, Belgium), funded by Rwizi project.

Athieno Petrolina – “Innovative Methods to Measure, Value and Manage Ecosystem Services. A Case Study of Central Uganda” On-going (Registered at MUST), funded by self.

Naggayi Rita Kibirige “Interplay of formal and informal institutions for outcomes in the operations and maintenance of rural water facilities in Kabarole district, western Uganda” On-going (Registered at MUST), funded by DAAD.

Muyambi Fortunate “Mapping Biomass, Carbon Stocks and Emissions loss from deforestation and degradation by Integrating High Resolution Imagery and Field Measurements in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda: REDD+ Context On-going (Registered at MUST), funded by self.

Edgar Tusingwire “Building enterprise capacity in Uganda’s oil and gas sub-sector: The impact of enterprise development initiatives” On-going (Registered at MUST), funded by self.

Recently Completed Graduate Students

Clemencia Birungi – “Perceived effects of waste management practices on the people and environment: A case study of Nsiika Town Council” (PGD awarded by MUST, 2018)

Robert Iwera – “Collective marketing and social enterprise development: A case of Bukonzo joint cooperative union” Completed Oct, 2017 (MA awarded by MUST, 2017)

John Mary Atusasibwe – “Agent-based modelling of rangeland health for sustainable dairy production in Uganda’s south-western cattle corridor” (MSc awarded by MUST, 2019)



Twongyirwe, R,. Bariyo, R., Odongo, H., Muchunguzi, C., Kemigishaa, P., Nyakato, V. (2020). Good intentions, bad extension systems? How the ‘Garden Store Approach’ crippled tea expansion in Kigezi sub-region, SW Uganda. Agricultural Systems 180: (102681) 1-16.

Fisher, E., D'Angelo, L., Twongyirwe, R., van de Camp, E. (2020) Uganda: Gold as a (Trans)National Treasure. In: The Global Gold Production System Touching Ground: Expansion, Technological Innovation and Informalization. Palgrave Macmillan.


Twongyirwe, R., Mfitumukiza, D., Barasa, B., Naggayia, B. R., Odongo, H., Nyakato V., Mutoni, G. (2019). Perceived effects of drought on household food security in South-western Uganda: Coping responses and determinants. Weather and Climate Extremes, 24: 1-11.

Iwera, R., Twongyirwe, R. (2019). Facilitating Social Enterprise Development through Collective Marketing: Insights from Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union, Western Uganda. Journal of Fairtrade 1:.13-26.


Twongyirwe, R., Mike Bithell, Keith S. Richards (2018). Revisiting the drivers of deforestation in the tropics: Insights from local and key informant perceptions in western Uganda. Journal of Rural Studies 63: 105-119.

Jeary, K., Kandel, M., Martiniello, G., Twongyirwe, R. (2018). Conservation and Agriculture: finding an optimal balance? In book: Conservation and Development in Uganda. Eds Sandbrook, C., Cavanagh, C. J., Tumusiime, D. M. Publisher: Earthscan/Routledge



Twongyirwe, R., Bithell, M., Richards, K.S. and Rees, W.G. (2017). Do livelihood typologies influence local perceptions of forest cover change? Evidence from a tropical forested and non-forested rural landscape in western Uganda. Journal of Rural Studies 50: 12-29.



Twongyirwe, R., Bithell M., Richards K. S., Rees W. G. (2015). Three Decades of Forest Cover Change in Uganda’s Northern Albertine Rift Landscape. Journal of Land Use Policy 49: 236-251.

Twongyirwe, R., Sheil, D., Sandbrook, E. L., Sandbrook, C. G. (2015). REDD at crossroads? The opportunities, challenges of REDD for conservation and human welfare in Southwest Uganda. International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development 14 (3): 273-298.



Twongyirwe, R., Sheil, D., Majaliwa, J.G.M., Ebanyat, P., Tenywa, M.M., Heist, M. Kumar, L. (2013). Variability of Soil Organic Carbon stock under different land uses: A study in an afro-montane landscape. Geoderma 193–194: 282–289.                                                                                                                                                                                                        


Twongyirwe, R., Majaliwa, J. G. M., Ebanyat, P., Tenywa, M. M., Sheil, D., Heist, M, Oluka, M. Kumar, L. (2011). Forest cover conversion dynamics in and around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in South- western Uganda. Journal of Applied Sciences and Environmental Management 15 (1): 189-195.



Majaliwa J. G. M, Twongyirwe, R., Nyenje R., et al. (2010). The effect of land cover changes on soil properties around Kibale National Park in South Western Uganda. Applied and Environmental Soil Science Article ID 185689, 7 pages. doi: 10.1155/2010/185689.

Other Professional Engagements

June, 2016 – present: Member, Mbarara University of Science Quality Assurance Committee

June, 2016 – present: Chairperson, Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies Academic and Quality Assurance Committee  

June, 2016 – present: Member, Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies Higher Degrees Committee  

June, 2016 – present: Member, Faculty of Interdisciplinary Studies Appointments and Promotion’s Committee  

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