CHANGE AND NATURAL AREA CONSERVATION IN THE SOUTH EAST DRY ZONE OF SRI
M D C Abhayaratna
University of Sri Jayewardenapura
The South East Dry Zone (SEDZ) which is one of the least developed regions
of southern Sri Lanka, has experienced considerable land use changes during
the last few decades. A rising population has exerted increasing pressure
on land while reducing the land / man ratio. Competition for land uses
has become very acute and encroachment upon state land is commonplace
in the area. Natural Areas and reservations controlled by various agencies
of the Government are the most prone to encroachment, thus causing severe
strains on forest lands.
In the SEDZ, approximately 35 percent of the land area remains under Protected
Area of the Department of Wildlife Conservation and Forest Department.
With the development thrust of the region there is tremendous competition
for land by the different users and the changes in land use are taking
place at a rapid rate posing a severe threat to the Natural Areas of the
SEDZ. Hence, there is an urgent need to understand the pattern of change
in land use in order to arrest the undesirable consequences.
In view of this situation, the present paper analyses the existing land
uses with due emphasis on the pattern and process of change. It also focuses
attention on rationalization of land use from the perspective of future
demand for land and Natural Area conservation.
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science,
of Sri Jayewardenepura,Sri Lanka. 1999. All rights reserved.