Forest restoration: the place is Sri Lanka?


This 12 months, the Worldwide Day of Forests is marked below the suitable theme “Forest restoration: a path to restoration and well-being”. Forest restoration is without doubt one of the precedence areas to mitigate the consequences of local weather change. Restoration and sustainable administration of forests will assist take up air pollution, rebuild pure habitats and maintain life on earth. This weblog discusses the decline in forest cowl in Sri Lanka and gives options on the best way to tackle the drivers of deforestation.

Lower in forest cowl in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is endowed with a various vary of forest ecosystems due to totally different topographical, climatic and soil circumstances. Dry monsoon forests, lowland rainforests, humid monsoon forests, mountain forests, dry river forests, savannah and mangrove forests are the primary forest varieties within the nation.

Nevertheless, latest technical studies and mainstream media studies each level to a speedy improve in deforestation and forest degradation in Sri Lanka. It’s estimated that 70% of the island was coated by forest originally of the nineteenth century, which has since declined to 29.7% (1.95 million hectares) in 2017. Figures from the Meals Group and agriculture (FAO) counsel that in 2020, the forest cowl decreased additional to twenty-eight.39% (1.86 million hectares) of the overall land space (Determine 1).

An estimated -3.16% change in forest space was noticed through the interval 2015-2020. Major forests are probably the most affected forest varieties. In 1999, the island was coated with 257,000 hectares of main forest whereas in 2020, solely 167,000 hectares remained. A brand new research by Rathnayake, J. and Soto-Berelov (2020) which makes use of evaluation of satellite tv for pc information confirms the disturbances of protected areas (see Determine 2). Pink dots on protected areas point out that deforestation is going down in protected areas.

Deforestation elements

An in depth account of the drivers of deforestation in Sri Lanka is printed in a report below the UN-REDD program in 2015. The report identifies the drivers of deforestation from previous, current and future views. Many of the drivers are socio-economic.

Within the present context, land encroachment, growth tasks and the enlargement of personal agricultural enterprises are the primary quick drivers of deforestation. Individuals are encroaching on protected areas for agricultural and mining actions. With inhabitants progress, native demand for land and subject crops in addition to international demand for export crops and aquaculture merchandise (shrimp, and so forth.) are rising. Because of this, people who find themselves pressured by these engines and who face a extreme land scarcity are encroaching on protected areas.

Alternatively, authorities coverage goals to extend native agricultural manufacturing and cut back agricultural imports akin to sugar and milk additionally result in an enlargement of agricultural enterprises. As well as, the demand for valuable stones akin to gems accelerates forest degradation by encroachment of mining actions. The event of infrastructure is one other driver of deforestation and forest degradation.

Examples are tasks on city growth, resettlement, tourism, livelihood growth, infrastructure growth akin to roads, highways and airports, and voltage transmission traces. As well as, native demand for wooden from households and trade contributes to unlawful logging.

The best way ahead Strengthening environmental safeguards

The inconsistency of current insurance policies on forest conservation in addition to new initiatives to extend agricultural manufacturing or different growth tasks can encourage encroachment and deforestation. For instance, in 2020 Sri Lanka canceled three circulars that protected 700,000 hectares of forests acknowledged as different state forests.

These areas will not be categorised as protected areas, however signify 5% of the remaining forest cowl. At present, protected areas are managed by two businesses with restricted integration – the Forestry Division and the Division of Wildlife Conservation with totally different official mandates, however want to mix efforts to guard forest areas and their biodiversity. Due to this fact, the federal government ought to take the required measures to strengthen environmental safeguards related to growth applications and conduct monitoring actions.

Consciousness creation

Consciousness elevating could be an efficient initiative with lasting impacts on forest restoration and conservation. On many events, folks don’t acknowledge the significance of the a number of ecosystem providers provided by protected areas and push to take advantage of solely short-term financial advantages. Thus, better consciousness initiated by non-public and public entities would guarantee sustainable use of forest land by restoration and discount of disturbance.

Participatory strategy

Public, non-public and neighborhood partnerships are important to sustainably handle protected areas. Non-public corporations can adhere to minimal deforestation insurance policies or implement compensation insurance policies akin to replanting. Communities can provoke partnerships with private and non-private authorities to hold out replanting applications. Such applications could be developed as social enterprises just like the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), a nonprofit social enterprise in Haiti, which has planted 5 million bushes to offset extreme deforestation charges within the nation.


Replanting endangered and endogenous species in degraded pure forests and personal lands would help reforestation efforts.

Promote wooden substitutes

Wooden substitutes akin to aluminum, metal and processed wooden from sources akin to bamboo ought to be inspired. Nevertheless, these substitutes should not hurt the setting.

Progressive agriculture

The event of agroforestry fashions, elevated tree cowl on non-forest land and sustainable administration of plantations would reduce stress on forest land. These interventions would additionally make sure the sustainable use of forest ecosystems by supporting reforestation efforts.

Ruwan Samaraweera is a analysis fellow at IPS, with coaching in entrepreneurial agriculture.

(Speak to Ruwan – [email protected])

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