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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1996

AN ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT OF SUSTAINABILITY OF TRADITIONAL AGRO-FORESTRY SYSTEMS: CASE OF KANDYAN FOREST GARDENS

N K Batagalle and H B Kotagama
University of Peradeniya

    Sri Lanka provides a striking example of rapid deforestation. To overcome the negative economic and environmental impacts of this trend, the government of Sri Lanka has introduced various policies, through the Forestry Sector Master Plan (1995). A major policy decision is the promotion of conservation oriented methods of forest management. In this context Kandyan Forest gardens (KFGs) are of significance since they not only provide tree products but also conserve a rich collection of bio-diversity.
    Although national policy strives to promote agro - forestry in order to achieve nationally desirable objectives and goals, successful adoption of these policies depends on the degree of congruence between different national objectives and the multiple objectives of farmers determined by their socio economic conditions.
    Therefore, the objective of this study is to identify the objectives of farmers and to determine the socio economic factors that influence agro - forestry systems and their bio - diversity. Data were collected by conducting a field survey in four villages namely Gangoda, Gomagoda, Galpihilla and Dolapihilla in the Kandy district. Sixty households were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. A detailed analysis was conducted using tabular analytical techniques. Total income earned from KFGs and number of species per KFG was regressed against identified socio economic factors. A linear programming analysis was done using the Motad model to find species combinations that give the highest returns with minimum income variance.
    Major objective of 95% of the farmers was to increase income. Other than that, minimization of risk, optimisation of capital meeting subsistence needs and maximisation of leisure were identified as objectives. The average extent of the KFGs was 0.38 ha and an average of 37 plant species. The average income earned is 2967 Rs./yr per 0.38 ha.
    Results of the regression analysis proved that income from KFGs as the dependent variable positively and significantly related to the number of species, family labour availability, land extent and capital use. Number of species per KFG positively and significantly related to the land extent, amount of capital used and contribution to production of subsistence needs. It is economical to have pepper, coconut and champaka [sapu] in the home garden according to the solution of the Motad model. The binding constraint was land and sensitivity analysis showed that with the increase in the extent of land both the number number of species as well as income from KFGs tend to increase.
    It can be concluded that existing KFGs contribute at least partially, to achieve the policy makers objectives such as protection of bio - diversity. But their value as a source of timber becomes low due to lesser number and low diversity of timber species in KFGs. The existing structure and lands under KFGs are being subjected to rapid conversion processes induced by socio economic conditions prevailing in the hill country. Therefore, measures have to be identified to sustain and promote KFGs by introducing potential agro - forestry models that reconcile farmers needs with policy objectives.


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Department of Forestry and Environmental Science,
University of Sri Jayewardenepura,Sri Lanka. 1999. All rights reserved.