Thursday, September 04, 2008

Potential For Gliricidia Based Dendropower In Sri Lanka

P. L. A. M. C. Wijewarnasuriya

These days Sri Lanka has been facing a power crisis. When considering the national grid, about 60% is contributed by fossil fuels. Sri Lanka does not have fossil fuel resources and being a developing country, Sri Lanka has to spend lot of money for importing crude oil and refined oil. As a result of that, Sri Lanka has to go to an alternative energy source.

About 2-3 decades ago, people thought that, by developing the hydropower projects, power crisis can be solved. But all of us had to experience power cuts about 4 years ago, due to lack of rainfall. Climatic changes can directly affect on hydropower plants. Therefore, Sri Lanka should attention on non-conventional renewable energy sources such as dendropower.

Dendropower is , energy produced by using biomass. As biomass, Gliricidia biomass can be used. Gliricidia sepium is an ideal species for generating dendropower in Sri Lanka as it is a common species which has a rapid growth rate. By maintaining Gliricidia plantations for energy production, additional benefits can also be obtained by people in rural areas. Gliricidia based dendropower is a cheap energy source compared to fossil fuels. And it is also an environmental friendly energy source.

Currently, dendropower is already used in Sri Lanka. Therefore, there is a great potential for Gliricidia based dendropower in Sri Lanka.A

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and its Potential in Sri Lanka

M.A. Lankathilake

Between 1970 and 2004 the annual emission of CO2 grew by about 80% and during the last century, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by twelve fold. Due to the greenhouse gas effect, with the increase of greenhouse gases (GHG) present in the atmosphere earth’s atmosphere get warmer and warmer. This cause climate change and other related problems. In 1990 IPCC mentioned that climate change is a threat to a whole world and whole world should be joining together to solve this issue. Then the UNFCCC was established and enter into force in March 1994 .Which works with the objective of stabilizing atmospheric concentration of GHG at safe levels that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, but this did not mentioned the quantity of the level of reduction of GHG.

Therefore in 1997 Kyoto protocol was adapted with the major objective of reduction of GHG by industrialized countries at least 5% compared to the emission levels in 1990 during the period 2008-2012.Accroding to the Kyoto protocol there are 3 mechanisms which can be use to meet the GHG emission reduction targets; Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), Joint implementation (JI), International Emission Trading.

CDM is the mechanism which implementing projects in developing countries that reduce emissions of GHG or absorb GHG from the atmosphere and sell the amount avoided or absorbed to developing countries. There are 15 potential sectors for CDM listed by UNFCCC and among them the potential sectors identified for Sri Lanka are Energy, Industry, Transport, Waste management, Agriculture, Forest management, Plantations. Among these sectors almost all Sri Lankan CDM projects registered so far in the hydropower sector. But Sri Lanka also has the potential to conduct CDM projects in the other sectors also. The major issue related to CDM is lack of awareness, high cost of preparing PIN/PDD therefore high initial cost, difficulties in finding international buyers. Create an awareness programs at national levels and give an international exposure to our CDM potential and CDM projects are some of the solutions that can be given for the issues.

According to the UNFCCC statistics it shows that the India and China get more benefits than Sri Lanka.CDM is the one of the best mechanism that can be implementing in our country as a developing country to contribute to the reduction of Global warming.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Effectiveness of current legislation of Protected Areas

D.K Lakmini Senadheera

An area of land and /or sea especially dedicated to the protection of biological diversity, and of natural and associated cultural resources, and manage through legal and other effective means”(IUCN1994). Protected areas (PAs) can be categorized in to six types, according to their management objectives. Category I to VI.

In Sri Lanka, there are eight types National Protected Areas. Strict Nature Reserves National Parks, Nature Reserves, Jungle corridors, Refuges, Marine Reserves, Buffer Zones, and Sanctuaries. Nearly all the natural forests that exist at present are state owned and under the purview of three institutions, namely the Forest Department, Department of Wild Life Conservation and the Divisional Secretaries.

In Sri Lanka, Current legislations for PA’s are mainly categorized in Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (FFPO). The category 5, 6 and 7 are introduced in 1993 (act no 49) by amending the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (No 2 of 1937)FFPO (amended)was approved y the Cabinet of Ministers on 12March 2008.It has been forward to Government Printing Dept on 8th June 2008 for gazzeting. If is expected to submit to parliament and get approved in August 2008.

Some of the policies on Protected Area are categorized in Management and wildlife Conservation National Policy. There are Fines and penalties for illegal activities in PA”s mentioned in the ordinance.(E.g.: For Strict Nature reserves Entering without permission , 15000-50000, 2-5 yrs ) When we consider about the current status of the legislation, The main policy making body for the PA’s in Sri Lanka is Department of wildlife and conservation. Almost all the legislations have been prepared according to the FFPO.DWC have amended seven items in the FFPO, Mainly they have consecrated on, Increasing fines for the illegal activities, Evade the loop holes in legal framework, Make new provision existing legal barriers. There are not enough laws and regulations are currently in operations according to the FFPO and wildlife policy. Some of them are lack of intervention of the police, not enough staff for handle the legislation in WDC. In adequate staff to ensure proper protection, lack of proper transport facilities, not enough weapons to control the illegal activities and poor inspection. Another major problems are, political influences(when making legislation, when implementing the existing laws)Influences of NGOs, Bribery and corruption, Enforcement of existing laws & regulations of protected areas should concentrate on most common illegal activities & violations.

As My recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the legislation on protected areas, the Policy making bodies should be well organized, and all the officers should be well aware about its operations. There should be political support for the policy making and the implementation of the above.The relevant authorities should get support/ assistance from Non government Organizations in making legislation. Recruit more officers and give them a good train. As the community, we should give our full support to the administrative to implement the legislation and conserve the protected Areas. It is recommended that development of an integrated operation plan that takes in to active consideration not only conservation and protection and enhancement of fauna and flora.

Timber Depots in Sri Lanka – Development options

D.K. Lakmini Senadheera (contact author)

Timber Depots are the places where the swan timber or logs are stored and sells. There about 397 timber depots are distributed in all over the country. The majority of them are medium and small scale. State timber cooperation (STC) was established in 1968.It is the Government Corporation responsible for harvesting and marketing wood from State-owned forests and forest plantations. STC has several timber depots distributed all over the country. Kaldemulla, Orugodawatta, Pannipitiya, Moratuwa are some of them.

Timber depot at Kaldemulla mainly obtain timber by Logging from state –owned forests and plantations Timber get from State owned lands currently under going development programmes , Timber get from, construction of highways, proposed electricity programmes, removal of dangerous tree, illegal timber capture from forest department. Demand for timber is very high. At kaldemulla, annual demand and supply may vary.

Development of this industry can be done by doing SWOT Analysis, Pest Analysis and 4P’s concepts. In my presentation I have mainly discussed about SWOT Analysis, Some of the Strengths are providing good quality timber, availability of timber at any time. Supply different sizes of swan timber customer needed. A good way of utilization of timer obtain from situations such as constructing/development projects, trees damaged due to accidents, having a continuous demand in whole year. Some of the Weaknesses are lack of skilful workers, Increasing the prices of the sawn timber and logs, Having a high production cost such as, labour cost material cost Due to less economic stability most of the depot owners can not adopt advance technology and use of multipurpose machines, In proper waste management, no job security in the industry. Some of the opportunities are high local demand for sawn timber and logs, the manufacture of various wood products such as toys, wooden components, crafts, parquetry, carvings, etc are the most important wood-based export industry, availability of timber in Sri Lanka is very high. Treats can be identified as Political interference in distribution of timber. Providing low quality timber to the customers at a lower price, Difficulties may be arise transporting timber logs.

Developing the industry can be done by introducing the new technology to the existing. It will increase the efficiency and reduce the generation. Improve the of saw dust. Storage of timber should be managed in proper way which will lead to reduce the waste. And they can improving the sales by advertising and increase the profit, by having good customer relationship and develop the exporting of Sri Lankan timber.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Human Elephant Conflict in Sri Lanka:

W.A.S Lakmali

Except for a small remnant population in the Peak Wilderness area, elephants are restricted to the lowlands, especially in the Dry Zone. Over the past 200 years, human land-use has forced the elephants from the wet and fertile regions of the south-west of the island to much drier regions. Between 3,160 and 4,405 elephants are estimated to be present in Sri Lanka (Kemf & Santiapillai, 2000) of which between 2,000 and 2,870 occur largely in the protected areas. The Department of Wildlife Conservation carried out a survey of elephants in much of the safe areas of the island in June 1993, and arrived at a minimum of 2,000 elephants in the wild in the five regions. They are North-western, Mahaweli, Central, Eastern and Southern areas. Almost all estimates are very approximate and these estimates may turn out to be underestimates, given the difficulty in counting elephants in the scrub. Each animal needs hundreds of square kilometers of territory as their home range. While Sri Lanka's forest cover is shrinking because its human population is expanding rapidly. Farmers are encroaching on jungle which was once the sole domain of the elephant. The result is injuries and deaths on both sides of the conflict.

Due to population pressures on elephant habitat, there is a severe toll both on elephants and rural communities from Human-Elephant Conflict. This conflict is at the heart of environmental conflict. With the reduction of the habitats, elephant populations have broken up and some herds have got pocketed in to small patches of jungle. many people are poor and landless, so they clear natural forest for agricultural use. In other parts, quickly expanding farms of such agricultural crops as sugar cane, rubber, and palm oil have replaced most of the forests that once supported wild elephant populations. These land uses increasingly displace wild elephants from their habitats and home ranges, which they travel through in search of food. Frequently, these elephants turn to farmer's crops to supplement their diets. Sri Lanka’s wild elephant population has been increasing over the last 10 years.

Conflict has become serious. These include Kotavehera, Kalegama, Navagattegama, Galgamuwa, Giribawa, Kahalle-Pallekele, Galewela, Pibidunugama, Galkiriyagama and Karuwalagaswewa in the northwest, Heen Ganga to Dumbara valley in the vicinity of Wasgomuwa National Park; Sigiriya-Habarana area in the Mahaweli area, and Ritigala-Kalawewa area.and Haldummulla, Uma Oya; the area between Lunungamvehera, Udawalawe and Bundala; Haltota-Haldummulla area north of Udawalawe National Park in the south. Elephants killed by humans as well as vise versa could be happening frequently in those areas.

Poaching for ivory or meat, Poisoned, cattle born disease, Electrocution and hit by trains are the main reasons for death of elephants. Asian elephants face almost certain extinction in almost every place they exist in the modern world. So conservation of wild elephants as well as protection of cultivations and property of the poor people is essential. In order to that mitigation of human –elephant conflict would be mitigating by adopting many techniques. Electric fencing, establishment of new national parks, habitat enrichment, establishment of Elephant Corridors, increasing the extent of conservation areas, translocation of elephants and elephant drives and integrating elephant conservation with economic development are some of them.

Management Plan of Wild Elephants is essential for Sri Lanka. Little information about available true number of elephants in the wild, the extent of suitable wild lands for the conservation of these endangered populations is needed. GIS and GPS can be used as a new technology for this purpose. The satellite GPS collars used in Myanmar and Sri Lanka to track the geographic location of the collared elephants.

Economic activities that would enable the local communities to derive some tangible benefits from the presence of elephants in their neighbourhood. e.g. manufacture of paper from elephant dung, organic farming using elephant dung, production of biogas using a combination of elephant and cattle dung. Conservation GIS Laboratory will develop a satellite-based early warning system that will demonstrate where rapid habitat loss is occurring.

Contact author

Valuation of Parks using Travel Cost Method

R. A Jayasinghe

The travel cost method is used to estimate the value of recreational benefits generated by ecosystems. It assumes that the value of the site or its recreational services is reflected in how much people are willing to pay to get there. It is referred to as a “revealed preference” method, because it uses actual behavior and choices to infer values.

The basic premise of the travel cost method is that the time and travel cost expenses that people incur to visit a site represent the “price” of access to the site. Thus, peoples’ willingness to pay to visit the site can be estimated based on the number of trips that people make at different travel costs. This is analogous to estimating peoples’ willingness to pay for a marketed good based on the quantity demanded at different prices.

The travel cost method is relatively uncontroversial, because it is modeled on standard economic techniques for measuring value, and it uses information on actual behavior rather than verbal responses to hypothetical scenarios. It is based on the simple and well-founded assumption that travel costs reflect recreational value. It is often relatively inexpensive to apply.

This method has some limitations as well. The travel cost method assumes that people perceive and respond to changes in travel costs the same way that they would respond to changes in admission price. The simplest models assume that individuals take a trip for a single purpose – to visit a specific recreational site. Thus, if a trip has more than one purpose, the value of the site may be overestimated.

Defining and measuring the opportunity cost of time, or the value of time spent traveling, can be problematic. Because the time spent traveling could have been used in other ways, it has an "opportunity cost." This should be added to the travel cost, or the value of the site will be underestimated. In addition, if people enjoy the travel itself, then travel time becomes a benefit, not a cost, and the value of the site will be overestimated.

The availability of substitute sites will affect values. For example, if two people travel the same distance, they are assumed to have the same value. However, if one person has several substitutes available but travels to this site because it is preferred, this person’s value is actually higher. Some of the more complicated models account for the availability of substitutes.

The travel cost method is limited in its scope of application because it requires user participation. It cannot be used to assign values to on-site environmental features and functions that users of the site do not find valuable. It cannot be used to value off-site values supported by the site. Most importantly, it cannot be used to measure non-use values. Thus, sites that have unique qualities that are valued by non-users will be undervalued.

However, due to its own merits or a lack or alternatives–it is one of the most significant tools we have for the estimation of user value for non-market assets.


Randika Jayasinghe

Floods in Colombo! A not so-familiar incident until a few years ago has become an all-too familiar occurrence whenever there is a heavy downpour. Several areas in the Western Province were submerged following the torrential rains on 3rd and 4th May that flooded much of the city of Colombo.

Heavy rains received on 03rd and 04th May resulted in severe flash floods which displaced a total of over 145,000 island wide. More than 50,000 were affected or displaced in the Colombo area.15 people lost their lives which included 3 deaths form Colombo due to drowning and electrocution. The flooding combined at times with high winds, resulted in destroyed homes and many been highly damaged.

People's park, Maradana, Reid Avenue, Ward Place, the National Hospital…….areas not normally known as 'flood-prone' sites, were under water for several hours, disrupting the smooth flow of life and causing chaos all around. Heavy showers also damaged the roof of the country's Parliament, while parts of the main Galle Road in Colombo were washed out Schools in Colombo were closed on Thursday and Friday as approach roads to the capital were submerged.

The main causes for floods are blocked drains and canals, unauthorized constructions and the century-old drainage system in the Colombo city which fails to absorb the present high volume of water or carry the water to the sea. The city's drainage lines were clogged by garbage, septic sludge, and the debris and dirt that had collected on roads and had been swept or washed on to the drains. These drains had not been cleaned or properly maintained. The other main cause for this havoc is the filling up of flood retention areas, which were identified some years ago.

However several measures have been taken to solve the problem. A coordinated effort with the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLLRDC), Road Development Authority (RDA) and other state agencies and institutions have been taken to have a sound flood retention system implemented soon in the city.

Habitat Mapping

Randika Jayasinghe

With the start of a new programme to conserve Sri Lanka’s wildlife and manage its protected areas, a much need boost will be given to wildlife conservation in this country. At the request of the government of Sri Lanka, the Asian Development Bank has agreed to fund the Protected Area Management & Wildlife Conservation Project, which covers a wide spectrum of wildlife conservation activities.

The project, which started off in September 2001, will support efforts to conserve the country’s valuable natural resources and preserve wildlife biodiversity for the well being of current and future generations. Sri Lanka is considered a global biodiversity hot spot because of the large variety of biological species in this small island. Half of these species are endemic. Many migrant species also find a temporary home here where the habitat is critical for these internationally mobile species. If their unique habitats are lost, a number of species will be lost forever.

It is envisaged that the new project will identify the problems, especially in conservation terms, in seven protected areas (PAs) that have been selected under the project. The selected protected areas are Wasgamuwa, Minneriya, Uda Walawe and Horton Plains National Parks, together with the Ritigala Strict Natural Reserve and the Peak Wilderness area.

Preparations of habitat maps for these areas are one of the major activities carried out under component C of the project. Habitats are an integrated reflection of abiotic and biotic factors that shape the environment of a given land area. For this reason habitat mapping plays a vital role in providing relevant information for conservation management purposes.

From a biodiversity point of view the lack of consistent and up-to-date information on type, location, size and quality of natural habitats in PAs in Sri Lanka has been identified as a major constraint for the implementation of the management plans. Therefore the use of habitat maps based on vegetation, soils, geology and slope might be critical when developing management strategies.

Habitat maps play a vital role of providing relevant information for conservation management purposes. They are widely used as a proxy for the biodiversity that exists in different habitat types. They are tools for the development of effective PA management plans and to define various management zones and identification of important conservation goals. Also habitat mapping provides valuable ecological information and to comply with operational tasks such as accurate delineation of protection zones and implementation of statutory measures for conservation.

Development of the Pantry cupboard Industry in Sri Lanka

Randika Jayasinghe

The pantry cupboard industry has become a new trend in the Sri Lankan society. It is one of the most requested features in many of the middle and high income homes today. The pantry cupboard industry can be seen as a small scale industry such as self-employed carpenters and medium scale and large scale such as export oriented companies such as Damro and Singer. Works of self-employed carpenters are very popular among individual households and ready-made pantry shelves are popular in apartments and hotels.

Teak, Nadun, Jak and Mahogany are some of the widely accepted timber for pantry cupboards by local carpenters because these species have a good texture and an appearance. However due to high price and lack of availability of those species, Pine wood and Rubber wood is highly used for pantry cupboards in the local market today. Wood preservation and seasoning techniques should be carried out for these species in order to increase the quality of the final products.
There is a good market for wooden pantry cupboards locally and internationally compared to metal and plastics. Also there is a good demand for pantry cupboards in the domestic sector (for houses, apartments etc.) and in the commercial sector. (Hotels, Restaurants etc.) Availability of suitable timber species in Sri Lanka, availability of workers, high price that could be obtained for the work and high demand from customers due to maximum utilization of space compared to cupboards, drawers are some of the opportunities of the industry.

Fewer facilities for most small scale carpenters and craftsmen, failure to create new designs and develop new products, uses of out dated machinery are some of the drawbacks of the industry. However there is a growing demand for pantry cupboards in all levels of the society and a good demand for new products and designs. Therefore it is important to improve the product quality to meet the customer requirements.

A proper development plan should be adopted for the improvement of the industry. Introducing innovative designs, use of different accessories and colour schemes to capture the customer’s heart, introducing new market places and improving advertising and promotion about the products are some of the steps that should be carried out. Use of alternative low priced timber species instead of high priced timber, reduction of import duties on accessories and fittings, introducing new loan schemes for small and medium scale industries and introducing attractive prices for different designs and new products are also important in regulating the price of the products.

Contact Randika