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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1995

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT OF LOCAL FORESTS: WOULD IT BE A PROMISING STRATEGY TO SOLVE FOREST MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS IN SRI LANKA?

Anoja Wicramasinghe
University of Peradeniya

This paper presents how non-forest scenarios affect the systems of community management of local forests. The field investigations reveal that human-forests interfaces exist in almost all the areas, irrespective of the state ownership, their status and regulations. Examples regarding local management systems, drawn from the fringe communities of Adam's Peak Wilderness, Ritigala Strict National Reserve and the Knuckles Range of forest, show that the systems are diverse. In some areas there are well formed social regulations governing the people-forest interface, while in other areas either no systems exist or are weak and related to market driven factors. The situations tends to vary even among the communications living along one fringe. In Ritigala, the community management system and social regulations are extremely strong among indigenous communities. The cohesiveness of the communities influence their group gathering and systems of sharing. The involvement of individual families is widespread in the Knuckles where forest cultivation has outstanding importance. There are variations along the fringe of the Adam's Peak Wilderness in relation to ethnicity, location, survival systems, and the level of dependence on the forest resources. This suggests that local community organizations do not exist in all forest peripheries but a generation long management practices on which community organizations could be formed is an important aspect. It is argue that unless a better understanding of local situations is attained, it would not be possible to offer one blanket recommendation and replicate it for all the forest lands of the country. To accept local management systems as promising strategies for forest management, a broad understanding of their potentials, regulations, interests and organizations should be examined.


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