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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1995

ECOTOURISM AND CONSERVATION OF NATURAL AREAS IN THE SOUTH EAST ZONE OF SRI LANKA

G Tantrigama
University of Sri Jayewardenapura

The areas dominated by natural vegetation, wildlife, or forest are called Natural areas. Ecotourism is undertaken in largely undisturbed natural areas with a view to study, admire, and enjoy the scenery and its wild plants and animals as well as any existing cultural manifestation. Tourism in the South East Dry Zone (SEDZ) has been development in an ad-hoc manner which has resulted in adverse impacts on specific attractive sites, natural vegetation and wildlife as well local communities.

The objective of this paper is to assess the potential for ecotourism in the context of conservation and proper management of natural ares in the SEDZ. It is based on the work carried out as a part of a broader study on Natural Area Conservation in SEDZ under UNDP sponsorship for the Regional Development Division of the Ministry of Policy Planning and Implementation.

While promoting ecotourism in this region, tourism activities should be viewed as a means to generate revenues to enhance conservation efforts. In additional to a series of site specific and area specific proposals, the need for a regional tourism plan which recognizes natural areas in SEDZ as a system is stressed. In this regard, the coordinated effort of the Ceylon Tourist board, the department of Wildlife Conservation and the proposed Southern Area Development Authority is highlighted.


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University of Sri Jayewardenepura,Sri Lanka. 1999. All rights reserved.