Monday, October 02, 2006

Achieving Sustainability of Tsunami Rehabilitation & Reconstruction

Sulari Anthony

On 26th December 2004, the coast of Sri Lanka was hit by a series of Tsunami waves generated by an earthquake centered off Sumatra island in the Indian ocean. The waves initially lashed the Eastern coast and subsequently hit many areas of the Southern, Western and Northern provinces, causing extensive loss of life and damage to property. There were an estimated 31000 deaths, 6000 persons missing and almost total destruction of the built environment within the zone of wave impact. The natural coastal structure and environment suffered significant changes up to one kilometer from the shore. The Tsunami also triggered the displacement of up to 426000 persons, with the total affected population exceeding 80000.

The government of Sri Lanka, civil society groups, International donor community is now in a period where the need for long term recovery and rehabilitation, aiming at the sustainable development of Sri Lanka, is becoming increasingly apparent.

In a world where one billion people live on less than a dollar a day, and over 2.5 billion lack access two adequate sanitation and specially in a country at developing state, economic development, technological advance and reconstructions should be promoted in a sustainable way, a way which meets the needs of the present without compromising future generation.

Sustainable development is crucial for ecological stability as well as the peace of the country.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Keystone Species & their Role in an Eco-System

Thilina Jayarathne

All species play a role within an ecosystem as, (i) Primary producers (ii) Primary consumers (iii) Predators, and (iv) Decomposers. Primary producers absorb energy from the environment mainly from sun light an inorganic substances CO2 and H2O, produce Organic molecules such as C6H12O6 in their living cells which contain pigments. The primary consumers feed on them, they are herbivores. the Predators consume flesh meet on herbivores. Decomposers decompose dead organic materials in to inorganic particles and contribute for the material cycle. For many species the role is not unique. But some species play a unique & important role in ecosystem function & their removal results changes in that system.

Key Stone species is a species which affects the survival and abundance of many other species in the community in which it lives. The removal of such species can have a profound effect on the ecosystem in which they live, and sometimes even on the physical structure of the environment. And often the importance of these species is not evident until they disappear. Keystone species are less abundant, but they exert strong effects on the community they inhabit. There are Four types of Key Stone Species, (i)Organisms Controlling Dominants (ii)Resource Providers (iii)Keystone Mutualists (iv)Ecosystem Engineers.

Organisms Controlling Dominants Promote coexistence by reducing competition among other species for limiting resources in an Eco-system. Best examples are Predators which control the herbivores population and Herbivores which controls the plant composition. Resource Providers Provide continuous reliable source of food for many kinds of creatures. If it is removed unable to bridge the gap of supply. The best example is Fig tree. Mutualism is an interaction between 2 organisms. Both are inter dependent. They depend for Pollination (plants & animals) & Dispersal (plants & animals). If It fails it can be led to Reproductive failures, Loss of genetic diversity, Change in plant and animal population dynamics, Local extinctions without replacement, Loss of animal species reliant on fruits and seeds, Long terms species loss (trees). Ecosystem engineers are keystone species who physically modifies habitats. Best example is Elephants which maintain grasslands. Most exotic invasive species are ecosystem engineers in their invaded locations.

Loss of a Key Stone Species Can create a series of linked extinction events known as an extinction cascade. Returning the keystone species to the community may not necessarily restore the community, if other component species & physical environment have already lost.

Threatened Plant Species & their Conservation in Sri Lanka.

Gayesha Jayasinghe

Plants are a vital part of the world’s biological diversity & an essential resource for human well being. Beside the crop plants that provide our basic food & fibers, many thousands of wild plants have great economic & cultural importance & potential, providing food, medicine, fuel, clothing & shelter for vast number of people throughout the world. Plants also play a key role in maintaining basic ecosystem functions & are essential for the survival of the world’s animal life.
Yet, despite our reliance on plants, crisis point has been reached. Although much work remains to be carried out to evaluate the status of the plants, it is clear that about species are threatened in Sri Lanka. There are 280 plant species are threatened in Sri Lanka.

Plants are endangered by a combination of factors; over collecting, unsustainable agriculture & forestry practices, urbanization, pollution, land use changes, & the spread of invasive alien species & climate change.

The IUCN Red List is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant & animal species. It uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species & subspecies. The Red List can answer commonly asked questions such as, how threatened is a particular species? What are the threats to a species? etc. There are nine categories in the IUCN Red List system. In that categories there are Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable. Those are collectively called as “Threatened”. These criteria are based on biological factors related to extinction risk & include: decline, population size, area of geographic distribution & degree of population & distribution fragmentation. So we need conservation methods to protect these threatened plant species. The conservation can be divided in to In-situ conservation & Ex-situ conservation. In-situ conservation means “on site conservation”. It is the process of protecting on threatened plant species in its natural habitat. Ex-situ conservation may be used on some or all of the population, when In-situ conservation is too difficult or impossible. As a example we can consider about medicinal plants. About 80 medicinal plants are in threatened. Sri Lankan government takes necessary actions to conserve these. “Conservation & Sustainable use of Medicinal plants” project is an example for it. There are many policies to protect these plant species. “The Fauna & Flora protection ordinance” is the most important one.

There are many constrains to conserve these threatened plants in Sri Lanka. So we have to identify those constrains & give our maximum effort to protect them. Because those are main part in the biodiversity of Sri Lanka.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka


The theme of wildlife conservation has been an ancient concept in Sri Lanka.It was considered noble in keeping with the teaching of Goutham Buddha and later essential to the Island.

The first attempt to stop the destruction of wildlife resources of Sri Lanka was made in 1889, by the conservation of forests, Colonel Clark R.A. He has enact " An ordinance to prevent Wanton destruction of elephants, buffaloes and other games" and "An ordinance to readjust the customs duties livable on firearms and to impose and export duty on certain hides and horns". For the protection of flora and fauna Ordinance, No 2 of 1937 was provide to the necessary rules and regulations. Under this ordinance the wildlife department separate in 1949. And establish new protected areas such as; Strict Nature Reserves, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Jungle corridors,Refuge,Marine Reserves ,Buffer Zones and Sanctuaries. The above ordinance amended in 1993 act no 49. After that under the Flora and Fauna ordinance, National parks 20, Strict nature reserves 03, Nature reserves 04,elephant corridors, and Sanctuaries. Haggala, Yala block 11, and Ritigala are the strict nature reserves; and the largest national park is the wilpattu national park, second largest national park is the Yala.And last gazzeted national park is Angammadilla in 05/07/2006.

In Sri Lanka, main conserve animal is the elephant which is the flagship species in the country and becoming threatened. Other major animals such as samber, deer, sloth bear, and Leopard were also protected. According to the survey of prof.Santiapillai in 2000, elephant population recorded as 4000 - 5000 .Most of this elephant population saturated in dry zone. And it case to human elephant conflict also. Because of the destroying forests food, water and shelter are not enough to for the population. Year by year elephant mortality goes to high, because of gunshot injuries, electricution, poisoning, landmines accidental fall into wells and pits,colission with trains and natural causes. For the conservations of elephants, the department of wildlife conservation has identified several areas where the human - elephant conflict has become serious. And given the facilities to control the conflict. When some elephants become rogue, they are tranquilized and translocate to another place and, when some baby elephants are remote in the jungle or village, bring to the Udawalawa elephant rehabilitation center.

Conservation measures adapted for; mitigation of human - elephant conflict, controlling ivary poaching, establishment of new national parks, establishment of elephant corridors, Increasing the extent of conservation areas, habitat enrichment activities, translocation of elephants, elephant drives and electric fencing. Ex-situ conservation and integrated elephant conservation with economic developments. Apart from that wildlife policy and international conservation laws and regulations such as CITES, BON convention, RAMSAR convention, are helps to conservation. And education programmes, NGO's also give the support to conservation. By the conserve wildlife, it gives recreation and scientific values to the nature.

And other projects such as turtle conservation project, lepord conservation project and bear conservation project given the support to the wildlife. And foreign donar agencies such as ADB, World Bank and GEF give the financial support to conservation.

Environmental Impacts of Shrimp Farming in Sri Lanaka

Duminda Perera

The problems related to the environment in the shrimp farming industry in Sri Lanka arose mainly from over–emphasis on high production, economic viability and foreign income generation without full consideration of the environmental impacts caused by over-crowding of farms. At the inception, there was no proper zoning plan to facilitate development of an environmentally sound industry. Lack of a proper zoning plan for the northwestern and western provincial coastal belts led to many social problems and destruction of ecologically sensitive areas, such as mangroves and mud flats.

Destruction of mangroves leaves coastal areas exposed to erosion, flooding and storm damage alters natural drainage patterns, increases salt intrusion and removes critical habitats for many aquatic and terrestrial species, with serious implications for biodiversity, conservation and food security. Mangrove estuaries are also specially rich and productive ecosystems and provide the spawning grounds for many species of fish including many commercially important ones.

Nutrient rich effluents of shrimp farms are typically discharged into the environment seriously upsetting the ecological balance. These waste waters contain significant amounts of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and antibiotics that cause severe pollution of the environment.

Other main environmental impacts are pollution and depletion of drinking water, retention of flood water and more frequent floods in the area. Agricultural activities of the area is also seriously affected due to conversion of agricultural lands in to ponds, salinization of water, deposition of salt in the soil and lowering of the water table.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Flowering Plant Diversity in Sri Lanka, with special reference to Endemism and Nomenclature

Pradeep Rajatewa

Sri Lanka has considerably high diversity of flowering plants. According to the recent checklist published in 2001, in Sri Lanka there are 214 flowering plant families, 1,522 genera and 4,143 species. Of the total number of species, about 75% are indigenous and about 25% are exotic. Of the total number of indigenous plant species 27.53% are found to be endemic to Sri Lanka. 75% of Flowering plants belong to the sub class - Dicoteledonae and rest belongs to the sub class - Monocoteledonae. Above mentioned numbers and percentages can vary slightly, due to the incompletion of the checklist. There are enough evidences to suggest the total number of flowering plant of Sri Lanka may exceed 4,500. In this it is study considered that there are 4206 plant species in Sri Lanka for further analysis.

Sri Lanka has the 871 endemic flowering plant species and 827 of them do not have lower taxa, but 44 species have. It includes 2 forma (1 sp), 26 sub species (13 sp) and 60 verities (30 sp). Apart from that, 15 subspecies (14 sp.), 46 verities (31 sp) and 2 forma (1 sp) are endemic to Sri Lanka. Within this 871 endemic species more than 12 point endemics included. Available literature is not enough to reveal all the point endemics. It is believe that Sri Lanka has 17 endemic genera. On recent study shows 3 of them are not endemic genera. It is difficult to find the endemism of another two genera because there generic name has been changed.

Nomenclature of the plants of Sri Lanka started from the period of eminent taxonomist Carols Linnaeus in 17 th century. But till today there are no any analysis have been made of the nomenclature. This study is attempted to fill this gap. According to this study 1612 plant names were changed. It includes 315 introduced plants and 248 endemic plants. Carols Linnaeus was the leading taxonomist who describes the highest number of flora that find in Sri Lanka. There are 542 species. But it includes very few endemics. Thwaitesi has described the highest numbers of endemic species. His total descriptions is 298 and 240 of them are endemic. Alston and Henry Trimen were the other taxonomists who described over 50 species. Only 6 Sri Lankan authors were able to describe the plant species (22 sp.). D.M.A. Jayaweera is the leading person among them who described 9 species.

There are only 2490 specific epithets used for 4206 plant species. zeylanica is the most commonly used specific epithet. It used for 72 times. Another 11 epithets that related to the epithet zeylanica has used 74 times (synonyms for Sri Lanka). indica and thwatesii are the next mostly used epithets. Another 25 epithets have Sri Lankan origin. It includes 7 Sinhala names that use for the related plants, 12 places or the area name that find the relevant plant species and 6 epithets mentioned the eminent taxonomist or the people’s name that have Sri Lankan origin.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Importance and Management Constraints of Elephant Transit Home, Udawalawa, Sri Lanka

Isuru Jayasundara

Sri Lankan elephant (Elephas maximus maximus ) is considered as a major endangered species and their survival in the natural habitat is threatened due to expansion of various human informal activities. Therefore the human and elephant conflict is increasing and as a result of that elephants in natural forests are constantly being destroyed and baby elephants become orphaned or abandoned.

Elephant Transit Home (Eth Athuru Sevena) is an elephant orphanage maintained by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) for protecting the orphaned baby elephants in Sri Lanka. This has been established in 1995 in Udawalawa National Park. Main purpose of this ETH (Elephant Transit Home) is taking care of orphaned baby elephants until they become young and release them into their natural habitat.

When a small elephants become abandoned or orphaned, it is difficult them to survive in their natural habitats, because of some carnivorous animals. On the other hand they may face many problems such as falling into abandoned pits and malnutrition. But if the herd is with them, adults in the herd try to save calves from dangerous incidents. If smalls can not escape from these troubles even with the help of adults, they get orphaned. Sometimes the baby elephant can be orphaned after its mother’s death. (This mostly happens, because of human activities, such as killing elephants)

DWC has to pay attention to provide shelter to the orphaned baby elephants and maintain them in good health condition. After living about 4 1/2 years of time they are released to the forest. All released elephants are then monitored for three years. Therefore this makes further conserve of our elephants. Actually this is a kind of ex-situ conservation method to conserve several genotypes of elephants found in different places of the country. Through this the production of improved novel genetic combinations is also provoked. In addition to that regular awareness programmes on elephants are also conducted in these premises.

Government has to make sound allocations to improve the facilities of ETH and for its maintenance. Therefore DWC has decided to seek private sector assistance. Launching a Foster Parent Scheme for baby elephants is one of such efforts. DWC is facing some problems in releasing the elephants to forests. Udawalawa National Park is highly suitable as it is enriched with food and covered by an Electric fence. But nearly fifty elephants have been released to this park up to now. As Udawalawa National Park is not very large, DWC will have to search another area for future uses. But most of parks do not have the environmental conditions like in Udawalawa national Park. In addition, there are some problems in monitoring or released animals.

ETH is doing a great work to conserve our elephants. We too must promote greater awareness and pay a hefty price to conserve this priceless ecological jewel for the benefit of our future generation.

Aquatic Weeds in Sri Lanka

Darshani Samarakkody

Sri Lanka is an agricultural country with a population of 19 million people. Farmers and farming communities rely on a multitude of reservoirs for water as the country knows prolonged dry periods. There are some 50000 reservoirs in Sri Lanka ranging in size from 10Km2 to 1045 Km2, which have been constructed over the past 3000 years mainly for irrigati. The rural communities in Sri Lanka depend on inland water for rice and vegetable production, animal protein as well as fresh water supply. In recent years, moreover the country has seen a rapid increase in the number of dams, reservoirs and canals resulting from development of irrigation and hydroelectric projects. Recent observation and reports have demonstrated that both natural and artificial water bodies in Sri Lanka have become infected with the aquatic weeds.

In its native range water weeds is largely restricted to costal lowlands and along the margins of lagoons and slow moving waters. It occur low densities, only becoming a problem where the hydrological regime of a water body has been altered by human activities, or where the level of nutrients in the water has been increased. They provide a habitat for vectors of several diseases, increase the areas at risk as a result of flooding, and affect drinking water supply, inland fisheries and rural transport. The mosquito populations have increased at an alarming rate during the last five years due to the large mat of floating weed infestations in coastal districts.

Programms to control its growth have been initiated in most countries where it occurs. Chemical and mechanical control measures have been used to combat water weeds, but are expensive and ineffective on all but small infestation. Eradication of the weed has been rare because of its rapid growth rate and its ability to reinfest from seeds or isolated plants. Increasing concern about the financial and environmental costs associated with herbicidal control measures and their limited effectiveness has led to growing interested in the use of biological control. Biological control of water weeds offers sustainable, environmentally-friendly, long-term control and is the only feasible method to provide some level of control to those infestations which cover huge areas, are difficult to access and / or do not warrant the high cost of physical or chemical control.

The area colonized by this weeds appear to have increased in the recent years as the Government suffers from foreign exchange difficulties, lack of aquatic management knowledge, expertise and programms. Thus aquatic weeds have received very little attention in Sri Lanka so far.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Forestry and Environmental Science
B.Sc. (Special) Part II

Anuradha Vanniarachchi
Rachitha Silva
Sumudhu Priyadarshika
Chamari Heenetigala
HMAB Herath

Community Forestry in Nepal

Rachitha Silva

The people of Nepal are heavily reliant on subsistence agriculture and Forests are an integral part of the agriculture and lives of them. The concept of community forestry is primarily focused on encouraging and contributing to support rural livelihoods in terms of fuel timber for housing, fuel wood, and fodder for stock and leaf litter for composting among many other things.

The forest regulations were revised with community forestry concepts and role of the Govt. has changed from project implementer to promoter and facilitator, while the Forest User Groups (FUG) to be the new implementer of projects. So far, about 1million ha of forest (18% of total forest cover) are being managed by 13, 238 FUGs involving about 1.5 million house holds, which includes about 28% of the total population by year 2004.

The FUG managed Forests are growing and improving value of the resources. Forestry Development activities are carried out voluntarily by the users. The CF program brought a big contribution, not only in environment conservation, meeting basic needs and economic development. CF has contributed mainly to the improvement of forest condition and people's livelihoods in three ways; Capital formation in rural communities, Policy and governance reform of various organizations and agencies, Contribution in the process of community empowerment and social change.

There are many unresolved issues and challenges in all areas of capital as well as governance. The SWOT analysis provides more in-depth details of Community forestry programs in Nepal.

Selection and Field Establishment of Tree Crops for Large Scale Plantations in Wet, Dry and Intermediate Zones of Sri Lanka

Rachitha Silva

Large-scale forest tree planting in Sri Lanka started in late 1950's and till December 1998 has covered about 140,000 ha of forest plantations belonging to the Forest Department. The main plantation species are Teak, Eucalypts (Eucalyptus grandis), and Mahogany etc. Most of the fuel wood, miscellaneous hardwood and teak plantations are located in the Dry zone. Eucalypts and Pine plantations are mostly in the up country Wet zone. Mahogany plantations are situated in Intermediate and Wet zone. Current emphasis is on indigenous hardwoods, like Nedun while planting of Pines is banned and Eucalypts is being planted only on a very limited scale.

The selection of a tree crop depends on; the purpose of intended plantation, the potential species available for planting, the site qualities, Silvicultural and economic factors. The purpose of plantation is a policy decision of Government arising from a domestic need. After determining the purpose, the choice of species is narrowed. If a native species meets the need, there is no reason to choose an exotic, if not exotics have to be introduced. Species and provenance trials have to be carried out before establishment of plantation. The site qualities play a major role in Genotype x Environment interactions. The site qualities like climate, soil, physiographic and biotic factors affect the growth at different sites. Silvicultural factors include silvicultural systems, ecological requirements of species etc. Economical factors include demand and supply, Relative costs and returns.

Field establishment of a selected species involve several steps like surveying, site preparation, planting, maintenance and tending operation. Field establishment techniques of several plant species for Dry and Intermediate zone (Teak, Mahogany), Up country (Eucalyptus microcorys) and Low country Wet zone (Nedun) have been discussed.

Planting of Trees in Saline Soils

H.M.A.B. Herath

Soil salinity is the oldest soil pollution problem. The collapse the Babylonian empire is considered to be partly the result, of failure of irrigated crops due to the accumulation of salt. The problem is primarily associated with arid and semi-arid regions of the world, where there is an insufficient rain to leach out the soluble salts.

Three billion hectares of land have been affected by soil salinity in the world. In Europe twenty million hectares of land is affected due to this purpose in Sri Lanka, such salt affected soil is found along the coastal zone an extent of 223,000 hectares have been affected. This is about 3 percent of the total land area of the Island. Several natural and artificial factors influence the development of soil salinity. It provides unfavourable conditions for plant growth. Saline soils can be categorized as saline soil and saline alkali soil (sodic soil). Sodic soils are more detrimental for plant growth than saline soils. Good soil processing is critical for plant growth in saline soils. Therefore soil reclamation methods should be applied for eradicating soil salinity. Salinity of soil can be reduced by applying chemical, physical and biological methods. Another important factor is the choice of suitable plant species. The selected species should be adapted to saline conditions. The most suitable salt tolerant species include Eucalypts and Acacia species.

After establishment of plants, proper silvicultural practices and good maintenance are essential for development of a good plantation.

Environmental Pollution and its Mitigation Measures of the Shrimp Farming Industry

Rachitha silva

The current shrimp aquaculture industry in Sri Lanka is concentrated in the North Western coastal belt covering a farm area of more than 4,500 ha with 1,344 farm establishments. The major components of the shrimp industry include shrimp post larvae production (hatcheries), shrimp farming, Shrimp processing and Shrimp feed manufacturing. Many Environmental Impacts are occurring due to haphazard development of farms in Environmental sensitive areas, such as Mangroves and Salt marshes. The following Environmental impacts and their mitigation measures are discussed in this paper; Destruction of Wetlands for construction of ponds, Salt water intrusion, Effluents, chemicals & OM in waste water, Sedimentation of lagoons and other water bodies, “Biological pollution” of native shrimp stocks, Spreading of diseases.

Shrimp farming was practiced using an open system of operation in earthen ponds until white spot virus in 1996 and yellow head virus in 1998 caused serious economic losses in the industry. Following these outbreaks of diseases, the industry has developed closed and semi-closed production systems as well as fully recirculated systems.

The institutional support for the minimizing environmental impacts and implementation of mitigation measures are given by the Shrimp Farms Extension and Monitoring Unit (SFEMU) of the NAQDA, which was established to monitor and regulate the industry with the participation of both private and public sectors. The following activities have been undertaken by the NAQDA; Zoning, Formation of Shrimp Farm Associations, Authorization and licensing of hatcheries, Replanting mangroves, Conducting awareness programs on Good Aquaculture Practices (GAP), Implementation of crop calendar.

Economic Evaluation of Energy Externalities

H.M.A.B. Herath

Externalities arise due to failures in market, policy or institutions. Externalities exist when economic transactions between two or more parties result in an impact on a third party, who is not involved in the transaction.

Economic evaluation of energy systems strongly depends on four factors; Capital cost, Maintenance cost, Fuel cost, External cost. Fuel and external costs are sensitive to fuel type & efficiency of the used system. Economic parameters like discount rates, inflation and escalation rates deeply affect the evaluation. Most of the external costs related to energy sector have been evaluated.

Some of the following externalities have not been evaluated in Sri Lankan context. Socio-economic externalities such as, Indigenous knowledge loss, Loss of traditional cultivations, Biological externalities such as algal blooms, Physical externalities such as Encroachments in the catchment areas have not been evaluated.

Contingent valuation method can be adopted and IK conservation program can be hypothetically established in order to evaluate the WTP of people for the conservation of IK. The productivity change method can be used in evaluating loss of traditional cultivations. Travel cost method can be used to evaluate the depletion of recreational value of cultural and biologically valuable places.
Some externalities related with ecosystems are hard to monetized as these are uncertain and are long term externalities. E.g. Severe damage to an ecosystem

Benefit- transfer method can be used to evaluate issues which have been already evaluated in other countries.

Externalities can be reduced by adopting sustainable energy sources like wind or solar power and the capital costs can be covered by incentives provided to CDM projects. To reduce the externality costs, the power plant can be established in a remote area.

Plan for the development of Wooden Items sector in Sri Lanka

Rachitha silva

The production of various wooden items targets the local as well as global export market. These products include wooden toys, sport goods and educational items for children, Household items, Figurines, Sculpture and Masks, Parquet floorings and ceilings. Especially the Wooden toy industry in Sri Lanka is an established industry with over 50 exporters and over US $ 71 million annual exports. Comparatively the consumption of raw material per unit of wooden item is much less than for furniture and other products. Most of these products are value added products and the value addition depends on the design, method of production and quality of the final product. Some of the main issues in this sector were identified in FSMP, 1995 and some of the work has been done according to the FSMP.

The deregulation of laws has a beneficial impact on WBI since 2005. Most of the WBI utilizing Rubber wood blame that they are in danger due to unpredictable wood supply as this sustained resource have been exploited by the Merbok MDF Lanka Ltd. Only few companies have adopted to use alternative timber species and FSC forest certification.

The methodology used to development plan preparation is the Log frame approach, which is a matrix that discusses the goal, purpose, activities and inputs in horizontal rows and narrative summary, indicators, means of verification and risks/assumptions in columns.

The goal of this plan is Development of Wooden items sector in Sri Lanka to be a significant and reliable supplier to local and global markets. This goal is achieved for three purposes; improve the utilization of available timber resources, increase exports of wooden items, increase productivity of Wooden Items Industry. The relevant log frame is discussed in this paper.

Economic Evaluation of Agrochemical Externalities

Rachitha Silva

Assessing the true costs and benefits of pesticide use is much more complicated than for technologies such as fertilizer application or new crop varieties. Most of impacts may take many years to emerge and even longer to be quantified. This future cost to sustainability of production systems through current pesticide use is not included in standard cost-benefit analyses.

Reliance on pesticides as the main control strategy is not only unsustainable, but also extracts penalties in terms of human and environmental health. Externalities result in economic costs which are not reflected in the price of pesticides and there is therefore no direct market incentive for users to change their pest control practice to reduce these costs. Only since the early 1990s some researchers tried to estimate some of these external costs.

Most of the present literature focuses primarily on human rather than environmental consequences of agrochemical usage, and the literature therefore concentrate on valuation of health effects on consumers and farmers. Travisi et al (2004) emphasize that this research are still suffers from a scarce communication with the environmental sciences and the environmental dimension of pesticide risk is still partly neglected in the literature.

Health risks associated with pesticide residues in fresh foods have been valued using contingent valuation method. There are several studies on valuation of reduction or ban of a pesticide using cost- benefit analysis. The organic farming products valuation has been more market-oriented and focuses on consumers WTP for residue free products. Only few studies have been done on hedonic pricing valuation, travel cost method and defensive expenditure method [Travisi et al (2004)]. The Environmental dimensions of pesticide risk are still partly neglected in the literature. This paper discusses about economic evaluation techniques that can be used to evaluate both positive and negative externalities related with agrochemical usage.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Sumudu Galpaya

Poverty is increasing worldwide due to the population increase, higher consumption of resources and inequality of resource distribution. Also poverty is higher among the rural population which is comprised of 70% of the world population mainly due to environmental degradation.

Being forestry is a multilateral subject it can be used for rural development through an integrated manner. These rural development programs should consist of improving social forestry and agro forestry systems, improving small scale industries of non wood forest products in rural areas, family oriented improving schemes and hence development of forest villages as revenue villages. Regenerate and management of forests and trees for food security, energy plantations for fuel wood supply and rural electrification, Green belt establishment to improve coastal livelihoods, improving mangrove ecosystems will also be added to those forestry programs. It will be more effective if they can be included forest extension, forestry education, and forestry research and personnel management in rural areas with infrastructure development. Legal and financial support of governmental and non-governmental organizations is very important factors for those implementations.

It has been now recognized that maximum participation of community for decision-making in forestry programs is very essential for successful consequences. There are several such effective initiatives in Sri Lanka such as participatory forestry programs, upper watershed management projects; wilderness area management programs based on community participation with governmental support. And also successful stories from India and Nepal of community forestry programs are valuable examples for us.

Sri Lanka being a developing country integrated forestry related programs will be an effective answer for achieving the development of rural communities giving them drinking water, food, energy, education, health and infrastructure facilities with proper livelihoods in a sustainable manner. It will also increase gross national production in the rural sector while conserving the well-being of the rural population.



This project is within the Western Province, which comprises of three districts namely Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara. This is the most densely populated due to the presence of the capital of Sri Lanka; the province is more advanced with respect to other provinces with respect to socio-economics, infrastructure, education health facilities and development. So it is a must to develop the road network to quick, efficient and time saving transport system.

Due to an absence of any highway to by-pass Colombo city, with exception of the Baseline road environmental and extension project the traffic causes unnecessary traffic congestion within the city. The trunk roads radiating from the city viz. Colmbo to Galle, Colombo to Puttalm, Colombo through Awissawella to Rathnapura, which from the major traffic corridors is already approaching capacity.

The proposed outer circular highway would provide inter connectivity from the major corridors.This will be a 22 kilometers expressway which will construct around the Colombo city. All proposed expressways will link to this road.

The EIA report of this project was prepared by Engineering consultants limited of SriLanka.The impacts of the project was considered under physical aspects, biological aspects and socio-economic aspects.

The proposed route of this highway will be passing through Kelani River. Bolgoda Lake is also located nearer to the proposed route of the highway. So these water bodies can be badly affected in the pre-construction stage, construction stage as well as implementation stage. So the water quality of surface water bodies as well as ground water can be contaminated with these pollutants. Although this route won’t significantly harm unique sites of breeding and feeding grounds, as a whole their habitats will be in danger. Especially those who inhibit in marshlands. If the project is implemented it will displace around 1684 families due to land acquisition for the project. Also 132 persons will lose their source of employment due to the acquisition of agricultural lands.

Although the mediatory measures for the impacts are given, the sites of relocation of residential houses, industries and agricultural lands are not identified at this stage which is a major aspect to be considered. So when compared to the identified impacts, the identification of mitigatory measures are not adequate. Also the alternatives of the project are also not considered as a detailed manner.

So if appropriate mitigation measures are taken to minimize above weaknesses before implementing the project, it will be beneficial to both the economy as well as to the community of Sri-Lanka.




University of Sri Jayewardenepura (

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Environmental effects of Desiccated coconut industry in Sri Lanka.

Gayesha Jayasinghe

The desiccated coconut (DC) industry is one of the major export oriented food processing industries in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is the birthplace of the DC industry. The DC industry in Sri Lanka consists around 66 factories, which are mostly located in the coconut triangle.

Heat & electricity are the to main energy forms used in Dc mills. There are many wastes produce during the manufacturing process, such as coconut water, coconut shell, etc. They badly affected to the surrounding environment &the people who are living in those places. We can recover the affects to some amount by applied some technological options.

University of Sri Jayewardenepura (

Environmetal impacts of Rubber Industry in Sri Lanka

Chamila Parthiana

Rubber Industry is a major industry in Sri Lanka, which has a significant contribution to national economy. Also, Rubber Industry generates many employment opportunities to rural population having lower level of education. The technology used by most of raw rubber manufacturers is very old and this results in low productivity and high environmental damage which people to do not tolerate any longer.

A closer look reveals that rubber industry consumes large volumes of water, uses tons of chemicals and other utilities and discharges massive amounts of wastes and effluents. The few cleaner production assessments and implementation programs carried out in Sri Lanka has shown tremendous benefits. Some of them are lesser usage of chemicals, energy and utilities including water, improvement in productivity and profitability, lesser loads and volumes of effluent discharged to the neighborhood, better image and relationship with employees internally and with the neighborhoods externally.

These benefits should encourage many rubber industrialists to follow a cleaner production program in their own places. Many have realized cleaner production is the only way to survive in today's competitive market where cost of production is on the increase and prices are decreasing.

University of Sri Jayewardenepura (

Monday, May 22, 2006

Upper Kothamale Hydropower Project, Sri Lanka

Sulari Anthony

The upper hydropower project is a run of river hydropower project with an installed capacity of 150MW; consisting of two 75MW units and it will produce 528 per year. It has the following components; a dam, a headrace tunnel, an upstream surge tank, underground powerhouse, an outdoor switchyard and 200kV double circuit transmission line.

The upper Hydropower project (UKHP) was conceived with the preparation of a master plan for hydroelectric development in the Basin 1968. The environment impact Assessment (EIA) Report was issued in September, 1994. the Environment impact Assessment identified key issues associated with the UKHP as, impacts on water fall aesthetics due to stream flow reductions, social impacts due to resettlement of affected people, possible effects on ground water due to tunneling, impacts on bio-diversity.

Further detailed studies on alternatives were completed in 1996 and secretary of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment granted approval for the project under the National Environment Act in July 1998 subject to strict adoption of proposed mitigation measures to minimize possible environmental impacts, which included the development of a watershed management plan, maintenance of daytime flows over the waterfalls, monitoring of ground water levels, an resettlement program. This decision was challenged in the court of appeal, in October 1998. The secretary of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment gave final order in March, 2000, subsequent to the settlement of appeal.

The project is funded by Japan. The government of Sri Lanka secured financial support in March 2002 from the Government of Japan to implement the project, signing of loan Agreement SL – P 74 in March 28, 2002.

After, having being rejected three times, the Upper Hydropower project is now under construction, in order to generate 150 MW of electricity for the country in which, the demand for electricity has been growing at an annual rate of 7-8%.

Environmental effects of sand mining in Kelani River, Sri Lanka

Uthpala Wijemanna

Rivers are complex natural systems, which responsible for the natural balance or equilibrium by water discharging, and sediments depositing. So that river sand mining is directly affected to the natural equilibrium. It has estimated that the annual sand requirement of the country is nearly eight million cubic meters and it is growing at an annual rate of 10 per cent.

Kelani River can be considered as a one of the major rivers in Sri Lanka, which is badly affected by sand mining activities. Sand from the Kelani River has been used for many building purposes, and also extensively to cover telecommunication and other infrastructure networks in recent years.

Over-mining of Kelani river causes many problems like salination of Colombo's drinking water due to the intrusion of sea water into the river, collapse of river bank, loss of river land. It is difficult to totally ban sand mining practices in Kelani River, because many people living near the river is totally depending on this job and also there should be an alternative for the construction sector. So that the best way is minimizing the over mining the river or introduce the alternative to the river sand.

Environmental impacts on Sri Lanka by the Sethusamudram ship canal project

Gayathri Abhayarathne

The Sethusamudram ship canal project was proposed to implement in the year 2005 by Indian government. The National Environmental Engineering Institute (NEERI) of India did the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project. Before the Indian cabinet approved the project, it didn’t consult its all the stakeholders that have to be consulted while preparing the EIA report. When considering about the location of the canal to be dredge, its impacts will be directly on Sri Lanka. So Sri Lanka acts as a primary stakeholder of the project. But Sri Lankan government was got to know about the project after the Indian cabinet got the approval for that. Sri Lanka was objecting for the project due to dredging of the canal. When considering about the environmental impacts of the projects, its impacts will be on the richest marine biosphere, the Gulf of Mannar, which located between southern India and northern Sri Lanka. The environmental impact of the project on Sri Lanka and its legality must be assessed as Sri Lanka citizens.

Student Abstracts

Forestry and Environmental Science
B.Sc. (Special) Part I

Gayathri Abhayarathne
Dulmini Jayawardene
Thilina Jayarathne
Gayesha Jayasinghe
Uthpala Wijemanna
Sumedha Amarasena
Chamila Pathirana
Priyanwada Rathnayaka
Sulari Anthony

Norochcholai Coal Power Plant Sri Lanka

Dulmini Jayewardane

The main crisis faced by Sri Lanka in this 21st century is the power crisis. At present, hydropower produces 37% of electricity and the deficit of 63% is fulfilled by fuel. Yet, the demand for electricity increases by 10% each year.
Due to the price increase of fuel at the world market, Sri Lanka faces not only a power crisis but also financial constrains. As the production cost of producing electricity through coal power is lesser and the capacity that can be generated is higher than other modes such as windmills, firewood etc. the Sri Lankan government decided to go for a coal power plant. Finally, the
foundation stone of Norochcholai Coal Power Plant, to mark the official launch of the project was laid on 11th May 2006, with the aim of fulfilling the electricity need of people and to give electricity at a cheaper cost

The coal power plant is being constructed in the Southern end of Kalpitiya peninsula with the funds of China. It will be constructed in three stages, with a capacity of 300MW per plant per year, making a total capacity of 900MW by 2010. High quality low Sulphur containing coal is due to be supplied from Australia, South Africa and Indonesia.

For projects of the size and importance of the coal power plant, which can have considerable impacts on the environment, Sri Lankan legislation requires an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Report. The EIA report discusses the environmental issues relating to the coal power plant and evaluates its potential impacts on them. Major issues are the possible impacts on air, ground water, soil, marine water, terrestrial animals and vegetation, the coast and the coastline buildings and socio-economy due to the coal power plant. They are: the air getting polluted from gases like CO2, CO, NOx and SOx resulting from combustion of coal and also from particulate matter like fly ash, bottom ash, and coal dust; the ground water and soil getting contaminated from leachate through ash landfill, coal stock pile and waste waters; marine water from warm water discharge, coal falling from unloading, coal dust and
the fuel and greases from ships; coastal erosion and impact on buildings specially the St. Anne’s Church at Thalawila due to the jetty etc.

Mitigation measures are being proposed to control these possible impacts on the environment. Some of them are: to use low Sulphur containing coal to reduce the emission of SOx, Flue Gas Desulphurization equipment to absorb SO2, low NOx burners to control NOx emission, an Electrostatic Precipitator to collect fly ash, spreading water on coal piles to control coal dust, sealing of the base of ash landfill and coal stock yard to avoid leachate to ground
water and soil, drape a canvas between the unloading ship and the jetty to catch falling coal etc.

A major concern was that whether the jetty may affect the church but it has been shown that there will be no impact on it due to the jetty. Another concern was whether the warm water having a temperature of 70C above the intake temperature can affect marine water and animals. A computer program has revealed that there will be no such impact as the warm waters temperature will fall down to 0.50C within an area of 500m after discharged due to the rapid mixing with sea water.

Due to the mitigation measures that are being proposed the environment effects due to the coal power plant will be minimized. Therefore, it is ensured that there will be no harmful impacts on the environment due to this coal power plant. By this coal power plant general public, small industries and factories will get electricity at a lower cost, and most importantly as a country Sri Lanka will gain many years of development.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

B.Sc Forestry Sepecial Seminars

These seminars are held on Tuesdays from 10-12 at Forestry Auditorium, Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
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Articles on Forestry, environment and biodiversity of Sri Lanka

This blog includes articles, assignments, seminar abstracts, research abstracts by B.Sc. and M.Sc. students of Department of Forestry and Environment Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka