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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1996

STATUS OF FORESTRY DEVELOPMENT IN EIGHT IRRIGATION SCHEMES IN THE MONARAGALA DISTRICT

J Handawela

A baseline survey conducted on a sample of 500 settlement units shows one common feature; that though the settlers often have three types of land holdings the settlement plot, lowland paddy plot and upland rainfed field crop plot, tree planting is confined to the settlement plot.

There are many differences however. Traditional village settlements have more conventional home garden trees, than planted commercial timber species. In exclusively irrigation projects with ample forest land available for chena farming, the settlers can afford to use their settlement plots for growing of marketable timber trees of commercial value like Teak and Halmilla in addition to conventional home garden species. With decreasing rainfall, the home garden tree species change from Kitul, Bread- fruit, Jak, Mango, to Margosa and Drumstick.

Residual forest species found are Satin, Kon, Damunu and Ketakella because they propagate from roots/stumps. Handapanagala scheme is of special significance as it is one where promotion of coconut on a commercial scale was not successful due to soil and moisture problems. Self sufficiency in fuelwood from own settlement plots ranges from 22% to 73% and there is no special effort to improve self sufficiency by growing fuelwood or improving use efficiency. Use of Illuk which is a forest product for roofing is from 3% to 57%.

The level of forestry technology is poor and available extension is scanty, making forestry development possible and necessary. Inter-scheme differences are such that each scheme warrants independent treatment in planning such development.


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