CONSUMERISM OF ENVIRONMENTAL GOODS IN SRI LANKA: FLORA-BASED
ECO-SYSTEM VERSUS FAUNA-BASED ECO-SYSTEMS
B.M.S. Batagoda1 and S.S.K.B.M. Dorabawila2
1 Ministry of Forestry and Environment
2 Social Studies Department, Open University, Nawala.
Mass consumerism, which is inter-linked with development, modernization,
and rapid population growth has induced recreation which has already taken
a heavy toll on the ecological environment in Sri Lanka. In particular,
increasing demand for nature-based recreation has generated a competition
between fauna-based reserves and flora-based reserves. Growing admiration
of bio-diversity throughout the world has created a higher demand for
flora-based recreation, which is a shift from the traditional recreation
demand, dominated by fauna. Environmentalists strongly canvass that the
existing forest and wildlife reserves be strictly preserved for bio-diversity
conservation. Conservation yields use and non-use benefits. However direct
benefits from conservation of forest reserves are considered non significant.
Economic justification of conservation of forest reserves need optimization
of direct-use benefits. Hence, raison d'Ítre to promote recreational use
of existing forest reserves as a strategy to increase direct- use benefits
References did not show a study that attempted to reveal, wholly or partly
the consumer preferences for recreational benefits of the natural eco-systems
in Sri Lanka.. The primary objective of this study was to identify the
actual recreational demand generated by different types of eco-systems
in Sri Lanka. Initially, estimates of the visitation (recreational) demand
for two markedly different bio-ecological regions were obtained. The two
systems investigated are the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Yala Wildlife
Sanctuary. This strategy enables estimating and comparing the consumer
surpluses of the visitors of the two sites. Further, the study also analyses
the relationship between socio-economic characteristics of the visitors
and the visitation rate for each eco-system.
The analysis utilizes the Trip Generating Function (TGF) using zonal travel
cost model, first employed by Wood et al (1958) and later developed by
others. Linear form and the semi-log form of the multiple regression model
were used to estimate the demand parameters of the TGF. Results revealed
that the linear form is more appropriate than the semi-long form in using
the zonal method.
Significant differences between visitors to the two eco-systems are observed.
The rate of visitation is considerably influenced by the socio-economic
characteristics of the people. The adoption of the same method to derive
eco-tourism values of the two sites (Sinharaja and Yala) enhances the
potential for comparability between the two sites. The usefulness of travel
cost method in estimating recreation benefits and the possibility of including
those realised values in extended cost-benefit analysis is emphasised.
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science,
of Sri Jayewardenepura,Sri Lanka. 1995-2000. All rights reserved.