Thursday, August 06, 2009


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7 August 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sawmilling Industry in State Timber Corporation

Asha Dissanayake

State Timber Corporation is a government corporation responsible for harvesting and marketing wood from State-owned forests and forest plantations. The corporation is involved in the extraction of timber from forests, conservation of such timber, maintenance of finished products, sale of logs and sawn timber.

Sawmills are the primary processor of the raw wood, logs. A sawmill take the log and turn it into a product that is desired by the secondary industry. This product is usually a board, but it could be chips, sawdust, excelsior, or even firewood. Each sawmill has their own customers. These customers are the secondary industries, they all produce different products that the consumer purchases.

Kaldemulla and Ratmalana are the major sawmills operated by the State Timber Corporation. The STC have number of sawmills all over the country. Kaldemulla Saw mill produce lumber for manufactured furniture for their own furniture show room. However in Ratmalana sawmill, saws not only STC timber they also provide services to the private customers. Furthermore there is a timber depot centre to sell the timber.

These two sawmills have horizontal band saw machines. Bandsaws are the most widely used cutting tool in the primary breakdown of logs. Band saws result in less sawdust and more lumber due to a smaller kerf.

Logs brought into the sawmill pass through a process to produce the finished product. First the logs are debarked. Removing the bark removes the dirt and debris in the bark. Next the log is cut into boards. The boards may pass through several saws, edged and cut to length to produce the finished product. Then the lumber is stacked and dried in large kilns. Boards are graded and sorted to be bundled and sold to the markets.

Proper maintenance of the bandsaw blade is very important for the efficient sawing of lumber products. Punching, tensioning, straightening, leveling, swaging, setting, and sharpening are major processes that should be carried out in bandsaw blade maintenance. In these two sawmills there are specialised saw doctors to maintain saw blades and there are automatic feed mechanism to perform saw setting. Kaldemulla and Ratmalana sawmills use two different saw setting methods.

There are so many problems associated with sawmilling and wood product manufacturing. There are environmental problems, employee safety problems and maintenance problems of both machines and workers. Sawmilling industry is a profitable industry for the State Timber Corporation. However due to political interference, inefficiency of some workers and lack of new technology the sawmilling industry in STC is not performing well.

Current status of Endangered Herpetofauna in Sri Lanka

Asha Dissanayake

Herpetofauna mean all reptiles and amphibians of a certain area. Herpetofauna constitute significant biomass, often exceeding that of all other vertebrates. They form important linkages in the ecosystem by providing dispersal mechanism for plants, form an important link in the tropic structure through predation, and form a potential prey- base themselves, contribute to environmental heterogeneity, and have key stone function in maintaining ecosystem structure and forest important symbiotic associations with an array of organism.

Sri Lanka ranks as a great herpetological paradise in the world. It is blessed with not only high amphibian and reptile diversity and endemism, but also relatively high densities of individuals interested in herpetology and publications, especially when compared with other countries in South Asia.Sri Lanka supports a high species richness and endamacity in herpertofauna, with 106 described species of amphibians and 171 described species of reptiles. Among them there are 56 reptiles and 52 amphibians are totally threatened. Yala National Park,Knuckles Range, Udawattakelle Sanctuary, Sinharaja, and Horton plains are the herpetological importance sites in Sri Lanka.

At present large scale conversion of forest areas for agriculture, plantation and settlements has put great stress on the remaining tropical forests of the country. Changing land use patterns, habitat fragmentation and habitat destruction have caused severe threats to the amphibian and reptiles. Also a combination of other factors including use of organoclorine pesticides and herbicides may have caused declining population of once abundant Herpetofauna of Sri Lanka.

Hence it is of critical importance to comprehensively identify the Herpetofauna of Sri Lanka in order to develop conservation measures which may help in encouraging ecotourism, building biodiversity database, land use planning and the production of regional and international Red Data Books of threatened species.