Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Albizia and Rubber for Plywood Tea chest

H.M. Goonasekera
Timber care,

Annually, over 230 million worth of plywood tea chest panels are imported to Sri Lanka for bulk packing and transport of tea. Despite the fact that a number of alternative bulk packing materials have been developed for the tea industry in the recent -past, the popularity and the demand for the traditional tea chest has not declined. In fact the plywood tea chest panel import figures for the past decade shows a steady increase on the consumption level despite the introduction of paper craft and jumbo bags. There is a drastic drop in the level of local production of plywood tea chest panels due to shortages in the supply of soft wood species used for the manufacture purpose. Supply of lea chest panels by the plywood corporation which was the major supplier of panels to the local tea industry came to a halt with its closure in 1998. Now most of the industrial requirement of plywood tea chest panels are being imported. Although a few local entrepreneurs started manufacturing tea chest panels mainly for then- own consumption, it faces severe competition due to cheap and low quality imported panels. However, a much cheaper and better quality panel for tea chest can be successfully manufactured, using the locally available albizia and rubber wood. A better grade of plywood panel than the ones imported and sold in the market for Rs. 140.00 per set, can be manufactured locally for Rs. 88.00. Since the small scale tea chest panel manufacturing is labour intensive and involves only low technology, the industry can provide job opportunities to a considerable number of semi and unskilled workers.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


K.D. Parakum Shantha
Survey department

Sustainable development aims at maintaining equilibrium between human needs and environmental conservation through efficient use of natural resources. The space technology provide ways and means for the mankind to understand and develop the local and global environments, to measure, map and monitor the changes in these environments. and to supply geo-spatial information to decision-makers for their use in evaluation of available options. The geographic information system (GIS) has been developed as a powerful tool for natural resource management, as it plays an important role in decision-making through the use of both spatial and attribute data. It is the technology used for natural resource management at the different institutions in Sri Lanka at present.

The Survey Department being the national surveying and mapping organization that provides geo-spatial data to other institutions for their own GISs. The aim of this paper is to discuss the present role of the Survey Department in providing geo-spatial data for natural resource management and to address the key issues that relate to the data standards within GIS context.


T. Seresinghe and K.K. Pathirana
Dept. of Animal Science
Faculty of Agriculture
University of Ruhuna

Forage yield and nutritive value of seven Calliandra calothyrsus provenances were tested in the low country wet zone of Sri Lanka. Dry matter yield (DMY) from leaves and edible immature twigs (DMY kg/ha/cut) were significantly different (P<0.05) among the seven provenances tested. Madium (147/91) had the highest DMY of 29,600 kg/cut followed by Georgisiville (48/92) and Union Jaurez (50/92) kg/cut for each provenance. La Puerta (109/94) had the lowest DMY (14,800 kg/cut). The average dry matter content of seven provenances were different (P<0.05) and ranged from 32.47% (Union Jaurez) to 36.33% (La Puerta) Crude protein contents (CP) ranged from 17% (La Puerata) to 21.36% (Union Jaurez), with an average of 19.98%; for all provenances. NDF, ADF and ADL contents ranged from 37.25% to 43.04%, 29.32% to 35.14% and 12.65% to 17.13%, respectively while leaf: stem ratio ranged from 0.89 to 1.47. Dry matter digestibility (DMD) was fairly low with an average of 36.33°h, ranging from the highest (42.85%) for La Puerta and the lowest (31.0%) for Union Jaurez. Crude protein and digestible dry matter yields were related positively to DMY (r2 = 0.89). Considering the most important yield and quality criteria, the best provenance was Madium followed by Georgisville and Union Jaurez. However, the high DMY and relatively high CP content of all the tested provenances indicate the potential of C. calothyrsus as a forage supplement in ruminant rations. In order to obtain maximum yield and nutritive value, further studies on agronomic and nutritive evaluations are required.


S.M.C.U.P. Subasinghe1, T.A.R. Jenkins2 and G.J. Mayhead2
1Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
2School of Agricultural and Forest Sciences, University of Wales Bangor, United Kingdom.

A total volume prediction model for individual trees was constructed using total height and diameter at breast height (dbh) as explanatory variables for intermediate and neutral thinning types using the data obtained from the British Forestry Commission.

The key question used was vi = gi * hi * fi where v, g, h, and f represent the total volume, basal area, total height and form factor of an individual tree. Form factor is the most difficult variable to measure because, it is highly correlated with species, age, site, variations, stand density, crown growth and competition from the neighboring trees.

Assuming basal area and total height of the particular tree will indicate the competition and age, direct functions were not constructed for competition. However, it was tested indirectly using crown parameters, stand density (M and total basal area (G). Top height related functions were used to represent the site quality. The final equation tested was v =f (g, h, s, G, N, crown growth).

For each thinning type, 75% of plots were used for model construction and the remaining 25% for the validation of the constructed models. Data were divided by thinning type and then by age in order to fit the models to one year at a time.

Crown parameters, site parameters, total number of trees or total basal area were not statistically significant when fitted and the standard residual distribution indicated no improvement. Basal area and total height were the significant variables. Finally, basal area was replaced by dbh. For the final model at each age R2 was between 0.972-0.999 and standard residuals were distributed without showing any particular pattern. Quantitative tests indicated negligible bias and very high modelling efficiency for all ages. Lack of fit test indicated the model was adequate.

There was an attempt to construct parameter prediction models with age which was not successful because the estimated parameters for all ages were distributed around 0.5. Finally an averaged value of the parameter which replaced the form factor was selected for all ages for both thinning types. The final model is given below.

v = 0.5040 * h * (7πdbh2 /40000)


P.B. Dharmasena
Field Crop Research & Development Institute, Maha Illuppallama

In Sri Lanka a land extent of 1.26 million hectare in dry and intermediate zones, which had been once utilized for chena cultivation during last few decades, is presently a concern of auriculture and forestry development sectors for future production enhancement. Part of this land resource is marginal and hence restrict the importance for continuous cultivation of seasonal crops. Reforestation with trees of timber value is a successful option for these areas, but promotion of such programmes with farmers participation is difficult since farmers expect only short-term benefits. Inclusion of fruit trees that can attract farmers for reforestation programmes would be a better alternative. This can be considered as a multiple landuse (forest-garden) system. Introduction of perennial crop mulching, micro-level rainwater harvesting and use of large planting pits with expanded soil moisture and nutrient reserves can be successfully adopted to protect young perennial plants from drought damage. This innovation has now brought the expectation of perennial crop `forest' system for degraded lands in the dry zones of Sri Lanka.


W.G. Somaratne
Agricultural Resource Management Division
Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research & Training Institute

The major question that this paper addresses is: What are the immediate cost of land degradation for a nation? The objective of the analysis is to develop suitable measures to explain the national costs of land degradation. This paper further illustrates a spectrum of approaches to estimate land degradation-induced onsite and offsite environmental effects in Sri Lanka. The main onsite effect is the loss of soil productivity. The loss of productivity of downstream irrigated agriculture and hydropower generation, flushing cost of downstream reservoirs, operation and maintenance cost of highways network in the upland, are among the common costs of offsite effects. The study further suggests possible macro and complementary micro policy to minimize land degradation-induced onsite and offsite environmental costs in Sri Lanka.


B.M.S. Batagoda, B.M.N.K. Dorabawila and S.S. Ariyaratne
Ministry of Forestry and Environment

In a 'Sustainable' society there should not be any particular business called 'eco-business', but all human endeavors should be eco-friendly. Since conventional approaches to achieve sustainability through command and control mechanism have failed, world is now beginning to adopt more voluntary approaches that are generally skewed towards economic instruments. Eco-business is one of the major strategies that harnesses the economic power­ the strength of investors, consumers, business and the market place, to create an environmentally responsible and socially just society.

Though this concept is believed to have a lot of advantages, there is a danger that it can be manipulated by extremists, both environmentalists and developers, to achieve their strategic goals. On one hand, environmentalists may follow an extreme ecocentric approach and expect eco-business to be absolutely free from environmental impacts, which may not be economically viable. On the other hand, industrialists may fall in line or have some link with the green perspective in order to derive a strategic advantage. But, in effect, such a strategy may become questionable since their participation is not on genuine grounds. Both these may lead to the collapse of the concept.

The challenge of the promotion of eco-business is to identify ways and means that render its own sustainability without falling into the extreme non-viable ends. This becomes difficult since the problem of clarifying the margins of environmentally-friendly goods and services is yet unsolved. Furthermore, in the case of Sri Lanka, there is no sound institutional framework that can absorb eco-business to the existing economic system.

This paper attempts to present a precise definition of eco-business and investigate the use of the eco-business concept as a pragmatic approach to protect the environment through promoting eco-business capable of bringing about a balance between the two competing forces, viz., the industrialist's relentless pursuit to maximize profits as against the preservation of the natural environment. It also discusses the extent to which the ecobusiness concept is applicable to Sri Lanka, and the loopholes that exist in the existing regulating mechanisms. Finally, it presents a framework for implementation.

The paper claims that the introduction of 'student-owned and operated companies' (in the school system) is an effective means of promoting the 'Environmentally-friendly Business' concept in Sri Lanka. A step-by-step modus operendi of the student-owned companies is presented in order to test the framework. Market potential of eco-products, particularly the consumer preference is presented based on data derived from a sample survey.


U.A.D.P. Gunawardene
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science
University of Sri Jayewardenepura

Existence values (EVs) are the values derived from the knowledge that certain species or natural environments exist. Existence values are pure public goods and hence lack market values. As income rise and natural environment suffer greater degradation, demand for existence values is likely to increase. This paper presents results of a contingent valuation survey designed to elicit existence values of a tropical rain forest and several issues related to estimation of existence values o1-a global resource.

A contingent valuation survey was carried out in order to derive EVs for the Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka. An open ended question format was used with a neutral trust fund as a payment vehicle. Three samples from Sri Lanka (urban and rural areas distant to the forest and peripheral villages to the forest) and one remote sample (from UK) were used in the study. The existence values for different types of users such as educational users, recreational users and non users were derived from the survey.

When expressed as percentage of income, willingness to pay values showed clear differences among different user types in different samples. On average, local rural educational users stated the highest values while remote non-users stated the lowest values. These existence value estimates, notwithstanding the theoretical validity, clearly illustrate the empirical problems related to estimation of existence values.

It could be assumed that existence values stated by non-users provide the nearest approximation for the `true' existence value of a resource. However, this relates with the provision of information and the knowledge of the respondent since people derive benefits directly and indirectly and they may be aware or unaware of such benefits emanating from tropical rain forests.

Implications of these findings in designing future existence value estimations and the role of information in survey design are highlighted. Implications for policy at global level, specifically, how mechanisms for appropriation of such values could be developed are also discussed.


B.M.S. Batagoda1, and S.S.K.B.M. Dorabawila2
1Ministry of Forestry and Environment
2Social Studies Department, Open University, Nawala.

Mass consumerism, which is inter-linked with development, modernization, and rapid population growth has induced recreation which has already taken a heavy toll on the ecological environment in Sri Lanka. In particular, increasing demand for nature-based recreation has generated a competition between fauna-based reserves and flora-based reserve,,. Growing admiration of bio-diversity throughout the world has created a higher demand for flora-based recreation, which is a shift from the traditional recreation demand, dominated by fauna. Environmentalists strongly canvass that the existing forest and wildlife reserves be strictly preserved for bio-diversity conservation. Conservation yields use and non-use benefits. However direct benefits from conservation of forest reserves are considered non significant. Economic justification of conservation of forest reserves need optimization of direct-use benefits. Hence, raison ďetre to promote recreational use of existing forest reserves as a strategy to increase direct- use benefits of conservation.

References did not show a study that attempted to reveal, wholly or partly the consumer preferences for recreational benefits of the natural eco-systems in Sri Lanka.. The primary objective of this study was to identify the actual recreational demand generated by different types of eco-systems in Sri Lanka. Initially, estimates of the visitation (recreational) demand for two markedly different bio-ecological regions were obtained. The two systems investigated are the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Yala Wildlife Sanctuary. This strategy enables estimating and comparing the consumer surpluses of the visitors of the two sites. Further, the study also analyses the relationship between socio-economic characteristics of the visitors and the visitation rate for each eco-system.

The analysis utilizes the Trip Generating Function (TGF) using zonal travel cost model, first employed by Wood et al (1958) and later developed by others. Linear form and the semi-log form of the multiple regression model were used to estimate the demand parameters of the TGF. Results revealed that the linear form is more appropriate than the semi-long form in using the zonal method.

Significant differences between visitors to the two eeo-systems are observed. The rate of visitation is considerably influenced by the socio-economic characteristics of the people. The adoption of the same method to derive eco-tourism values of the two sites (Sinharaja and Yala) enhances the potential for comparability between the two sites. The usefulness of travel cost method in estimating recreation benefits and the possibility of including those realised values in extended cost-benefit analysis is emphasized.

Monday, September 18, 2006


H.M.V. Herath
Central Environmental Authority.

The Divisional secretary (DS) is the chief administrative officer at divisional level for both the central government and the provincial councils. This paper attempts to examine the level of authority held by the DS in relation to environmental management related legislation enforcement. Data was collected through individual discussions with relevant officers of different institutes, people concerned, and through participatory observations of in Mihintale area and by participating District Environmental Law Enforcement Committee (DELEC) meetings.

According to the Environmental Act No. 58 of 1988 (Revised). DS has the authority of public lands (less than 200 hectare) and is responsible for issuing permits for any small scale industry while Pradeshiyasaba is responsible for monitoring. In addition, DS is responsible for public land resources management. Other officers such as the Rural Development Officer, the Community Development Officer, Samurdhi Managers, Samurdhi Development Officers etc., directed to DS office are responsible for duties relating to environmental protection and management. The majority of environmental complaints which are produced through Gramaniladharis to the DS are settled either through provisions in land legislation or by co-ordinating with other institutes. However these administrative officers do not have formal training on environmental management.

The paper also discusses some cases related to environmental pollution and the co­ordination of different institutions. In addition, social and political issues in environmental legislation enforcement are discussed. Attitudes and constraints of DELEC on legislation enforcement are also discussed.

Consideration of various institutes related to DS office as one unit in environmental management is very important and efficient. Though DS system is a legally and institutionally empowered and well organized institution for implementing environment legislation, it still runs in a traditional frame. Recommendations are made to improve and strengthen the environmental legislation enforcement capacity for proper management of resources.


T. Hewage, B.M.S. Batagoda and S.S. Ariyaratne
Ministry of Forestry and Environment

The struggle to overcome the accelerating socio-economic and political problems in Sri Lanka seems to be even more difficult in the face of increasingly apparent environmental constraints. There is a -rowing belief that most development activities are hindered or terminated due to environmental reasons. Often, the environmental authorities are blamed for such obstructions. The 1992 'Earth Summit' succeeded in altering the conscience of the world towards environmentally sustainable development with the message that without better environmental stewardship, development will be undermined, and without accelerated development in poor countries. environmental policies will fail. However, many conceptual and technical questions in achieving sustainable development still remain unanswered. A critical question for policy makers thus is whether the environmental aspects of socio­economic development can be alleviated by modifying existing approaches, or a complete new strategy is required.

This paper discusses the ideologies distributed along the spectrum of 'neo-Malthusian' pessimists (those who believed that it is very likely that human industrial civilization will collapse under the weight of growing consumption of resources, growing human population and increased environmental pollution) at one end, and the 'cornucopians' or the technological optimists on the other end. The paper attempts to merge these ideologies and seek for a more holistic approach to accelerate economic growth while addressing environmental challenges, and also to propose institutional mechanisms to integrate environmental concerns in the development policies and long term planning.

To address the aforementioned issues the Ministry of Forestry and Environment has introduced several measures including Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), Committees on Environmental policy and Management (CEPOM) and Committee on Integrating Environment and Development Policy (CIEDP). However, the EIA process has its own weaknesses and is being heavily criticized by investors as well as environmentalists. CEPOM and CIEDP Structures were proposed to reduce the conflict between development and environment- However, this mechanism is still in its infancy. The paper provides a vigorous review on the existing mechanisms available for integrating environment and development towards sustainable development objectives. It also attempts to introduce possible policy initiatives to improve the existing situation.


B.M.S. Batagoda and K.L.A. Kularatne E.Y.K. Lokupitiya
Ministry of Forestry and Environment

Under the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions become a global good with shared and differentiated responsibility vested with member countries. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 as the legally binding instrument to achieve the objectives of UNFCCC. This protocol introduced three controversial mechanisms namely Joint Implementation (J1, Article 6), Clean Development Mechanism (CDM, Article 12) and the emission trading (Article 17) for the establishment of markets for GHG emission reduction.

Under the Annex 1 of UNFCCC countries are obliged to reduce their GHG by 5.2% From the total 1990 level. Global commitments under the common but differentiated responsibility principle of UNFCCC for reducing the emissions vary and depends on the country's level of emission. Accordingly Annex 1 countries were given emission reduction targets e.g. Japan 6%, EU 8% and US 7%. This issue has drawn attention of the developed countries since it could alter their lifestyles drastically. The flexible mechanism permits developed countries to purchase GHG emission potential from developing countries.

Selling GHG emission potential (although an income source) has been viewed as selling development potential of developing countries. This puts the developing countries in a dilemma in making decisions on emission trading. Therefore an in-depth knowledge on market potential of GHG is important.

The objective of this paper is to review the flexible mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol i.e. J1, CDM and emission trading along with principles. modalities and procedures in relation to Sri Lankan environmental conditions and to estimate the total GHG market potential for Sri Lanka if the country decides to participate in the global GHG market. This paper presents an economic analysis of GHG market in Sri Lanka with an attempt to investigate the relationship between rate of emission and economic growth. This venture essentially creates an equity problem which is discussed using different discount rates.

Data from secondary sources, in particular GHG inventories for Sri Lanka for 1994 & 1995 years are used to estimate Sri Lankan emission trading potential. These figures will be useful for predicting Sri Lankan contribution to the emission trading market. Sinks and Sources and the sectors of emission are discussed separately in order to identify the most important sectors in terms of emission trading. The paper also discusses the disadvantages of emission trading, particularly whether this would limit our development potential and sovereignty, the major criticisms against the emission trading. Finally, this paper presents the relationship between GHG emission, emission trading potential and economic development under various scenarios.


D.M.S.H.K. Ranasinghe
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science
University of Sri Jayewardenepura

Evidence of the accelerating depletion of natural resources and other environmental and social problems has resulted in a global consensus on the need to see development in terms of long term sustainability. This interest in sustainable development has been accompanied by an interest in important related issues such as the conservation of natural resources, indigenous knowledge systems (cultural diversity), intellectual property rights etc.

For thousands of years, information on plant genetic resources has been collected freely all over the world. However, the growth of biotechnologies which use genetic resources thus raising their commercial value in combination with the loss of biological diversity world­wide had led to a narrowing of the free exchange principle. Thus far, this narrowing has been largely one sided. For many years, the developed countries have realised enormous benefits from their access to third world genetic materials, specially in the case of crop plants.

This paper explores the relationship between cultural diversity and biological diversity and how indigenous knowledge technologies derived from that can be used to manage biological resources on a sustainable manner. It also explores the reasons and underlying causes for the cultural and environmental changes which include biodiversity and indigenous knowledge systems vital to sustainability to lose at an incredible rate.

The paper also discusses the threats placed on biodiversity, traditional indigenous knowledge, the agreements and conventions which encourage countries to consider ways and means for the effective protection and use of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous people and other local communities as well as fair equitable sharing of benefits arising from such knowledge, innovations and practices.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Abstracts of the papers presented at Forestry and Environmenet symposium 1999

Read all the abstracts of the papers presented at Forestry and Environmenet symposium, organized by Department of Forestry and Environment Science, University of Sri Jayewardenapura, Sri Lanka.

This was the 5th symposium in this series of annual symposia. Theme of the symposium was: Challenges in Natural Resource Management. This was held on 10 - 11 December 1999 at Coral Gardens Hotel, Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka.