Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sri Lanka Forest Resources Management Sector Project

At the time of project formulation, Sri Lanka faced the dual challenges of forest loss and degradation plus the consequent impoverishment of communities whose livelihoods depended on forests. Poverty and food insecurity were increasing, especially among people living near traditional forest areas or plantations, and this was leading to mounting encroachment on the forest, forest conversion, and degradation. In the long run, impoverishment and land degradation lead to food deficits that necessitate further extension of agriculture to the adjacent forestlands, thus intensifying land-use conflicts and tension between the Forest Department and local communities. Addressing the food security and livelihood needs of these communities while involving them in developing alternative forest use strategies and practices were considered prerequisites to institutionalizing sustainable forest management.

The project was to increase the value and sustainability of Sri Lanka's forests. The goal was to be achieved by creating a policy and governance framework enabling local communities and the private sector to participate in forest resource development and management. As per the report and recommendation of the President (RRP), the project’s design and monitoring framework identified the following performance targets: (i) natural forest areas stabilized in forest divisions covered by the project; (ii) forest stock inventories, wood availability, and state forest sector revenues increased; and (iii) tree cover increased in project areas. No baseline information and targets were provided in the project framework.

The project intended to (i) establish and implement participatory sustainable forest management of demarcated permanent forests to increase their protection and production; and (ii) enhance access of local communities, and particularly of economically disadvantaged people, in order to acquire gainful employment and human resource development opportunities, consequently leading to poverty reduction. To achieve these objectives, the RRP set targets that (i) policy and legal reforms and institutional restructuring would be implemented by 2003; (ii) national forest areas would be delineated and demarcated by 2002; (iii) beneficiary and private sector leaseholds would double from the pre-project levels; and (iv) about 50,000 household incomes would show substantial (about 40% to 100%) improvement as compared to nonbeneficiaries.

The project has three components: (i) participatory forest planning, management, and awareness; (ii) sustainable forest resource development and management; and (iii) institutional strengthening through improving the technical knowledge base of the Forest Department’s professional and extension staff, participating beneficiaries, as well as nongovernment and community-based organizations. The following table summarizes outputs and achievements as reported by the project completion report (PCR, Appendix 10).

Most targets were met or exceeded, though some activities underachieved due to lack of available land. One significant activity could not be implemented due to the government’s failure to pass the required ordinance for the leasing of state forests and plantations to the private sector.

ADB.Reference Number: PCV: SRI 2011-48.Project Number: 30215.Loan Number: 1744-SRI(SF).December 2011

Forest Resources Management Sector Project

For more information about Projects in Sri Lanka see Southern Asia Projects