ISSUES ON AVAILABILITY AND PREFERENCE OF TIMBER SPECIES IN SRI LANKA
W A D A Wijesooriya and A Widanapathirana
At the request of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Forestry (MALF),
the Forest Department (FD) conducted a census of timber depots distributed
in 19 districts during the month of May 1995. The purposes of the census
were to take a stock of timber-based enterprises and to obtain the volume
of timber available in 19 districts. A total of 12,971 timber depots were
visited and the relevant information were collected by a team of officials
of the FD and others attached to the MALF.
This paper discusses the census methodology, main findings and the emerging
issues disclosed by the census. According to the census, the majority
of timber-based enterprises have not been registered in the FD. The census
indicates that there are 203 species used for timber in different districts.
Among the emerging issues uncovered by the census are:
- Increased popularity of species such as Mango (Mangifera
indica), Albizia (Albizia falcata), Dan (Syzygium spp.), Eucalyptus, Ginihapu
(Michelia champaca), ketakela (Bridelia retusa), Kon (Schleichera oleosa),
Lunumidella (Melia dubia), Mara (Albizia lebbeck), Kumbuk (Terminalia
arjuna), Coconut (Cocos nucifera), Rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) and Suriya
mara (Albizia odoratissima) and the retention of popularity of species
such as satin (Chloroxylon swietenia), Jak (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
and Milla (Vitex pinnata) as sources of timber
- A high level of diversity of timber species found in Colombo,
Gampaha and Kalutara districts while the diversity is low in the case
of depots located in districts such as Moneragalla, Anuradhapura and Ampara
- A high demand of timber for furniture manufacture, roofing purposes
and door frames in a majority of districts
- In terms of the timber volume, the largest proportion is made
up of Ginihapu amounting to over 6 million cubic feet followed by about
0.29 million cubic feet of Albizia. Jak comes third with over 0,14 million
cubic feet of timber
- The emergence of non-forest and plantation crops such as coconut
and rubber for timber purposes.
The paper finally discusses the possible policy and programme implications
of the results of the census.
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science,
of Sri Jayewardenepura,Sri Lanka. 1999. All rights reserved.