Ecotourism for sustainable development: A study on “Bambarakanda”

The main objective of this study is to explain relationship and consequences between Bambarakanda eco tourist attraction and human activities in the vicinity. It was aimed to explore the main factors for environmental degradation in Bambarakanda and its surrounding, environmental issues arise from the unplanned implementation of eco tourism and resource requirements for conservation of Bambarakanda as a focal eco tourism destination.

Fieldwork methodology was adopted for the study. It was hoped to produce descriptions and explanations appropriate to the people actually behave at the Bambarakanda and its surrounding. The structured interviews were conducted as which were based on onsite documentation and guided by objective of the study. 75 villagers in Weerakoon Gama and 25 visitors to the attraction were interviewed. In addition, direct observations at the site were made to gather data while taking photographs as physical evidences to prove artifacts in the study. Interviews were interpreted by way of method of qualitative analysis (sociological paraphrasing) focusing on passages in the interview concerning Environmental conservation, Eco tourism and Local capacity development. 80% of the villagers mentioned that there were no economic benefits for them with presently existing disorganized nature of eco tourism. 67% of them clearly indicated that present situation would enhance environmental degradation at an alarming rate. More than 50% of the visitors to the vicinity ready to obtain service of local guides and ancillary service providers. Based on these results of the study on Bambarakanda in Kalupahana it is suggested that unless active participation of local community in ecotourism service provision and planning, with focus on income generation and employment creation for all stakeholders in the vicinity, environmental condition may be severely damaged.Therefore to implement vibrant and successful ecotourism it must promote sustainable development by enhancing people participation with improvement in standard of living of local community and eco tourist service providers.

D J Punchihewa
Department of IT and Decision Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura,
Sri Lanka

Household willingness-to-pay (WTP) for a better waste management system: An empirical investigation in the Mawanella Pradeshiya Sabha region

The Mawanella Pradeshiya Sabha in the Kegalle district that serves to a population of 100,280 has introduced a novel approach to manage its waste under its “Increased Public Awareness & Local Government Capacity Building Program” in 2004. The key feature of this program was, educating and encouraging households to collect and sort waste at its source, which was facilitated by distribution of plastic bags and waste bins with different colour codes designed for the purpose, and subsequently, treat the waste at specific dumping sites using the principles of recycling to produce marketable products. This study assesses the progress of this program, and in particular how much the households are WTP for continuation and advancement of the program, because the regulatory authorities insist that it cannot run the program with taxpayers money for any longer time. A survey was conducted with a help of a structured questionnaire with 120 households selected randomly to represent 31% households joined to the pilot program in 2004. The WTP of each household was modeled with a number of variables, including age, income and education level, amount of waste production, distance to waste collection centre etc. The Contingent Valuation techniques were employed to estimate the coefficients of model. The results suggest that all variables, except the level of education, have a positive and significant impact on households’ WTP for a better system. It was estimated that a household, in general, would like to pay Rs. 39.05 per month to continue the program. The officials from the Pradheshiya Sabha indicated that this is a rational estimate as it can cover the net operating cost of about Rs. 25-30 per month per household, and the rest can be used to improve the system.

 P D Pathirana1 and U K Jayasinghe-Mudalige2
1 Environment and Energy Programme, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Country Office,
Colombo, Sri Lanka
2 Department of Agribusiness Management, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka

An empirical investigation on the demographic characteristics of specialized visitors and their preferences to use up-country tea plantations as nature tourism sites

Up country tea plantations have been emerging as sites for nature tourism for both local and foreign tourists who were earlier used to visit traditional tourism sites (e.g. Anuradhapura, Pollonnaruwa and Seegiriya) predominantly. In light of this, evaluation of what characteristics associated with these visitors, and to which extent, have an impact on a selection of nature tourism sites available in these plantations as their “first choice” has become important, since that information can be used to formulate a market-friendly environmental policies to promote it.

Those “specialized visitors” (i.e. those who visit an Up Country tea plantation for the first time based on the information they received from an external source and those who repeated) were selected as the cases for data collection (n = 120). A semi-structured questionnaire was used in this respect at seven purposely-selected entry points to the plantations located in the Nuwara-Eliya district.

Both qualitative and quantitative data analysis techniques were used. The results indicate that, in general, young people (i.e. 56% of sample within 20 – 29 years); those who married (59%); and with average house hold size of three to four members (84%); with high income level (i.e. 43% of sample above the Rs. 50,000 per month), and possess a degree or equivalent (60%) decided to enjoy these sites. Majority of them were employed at private sector enterprises as middle to top-level managers. In terms of reasons for their visit, about 63 percent of visitors indicated aesthetics/scenic beauty followed by bird watching (52%), forest trekking (46%), mountain climbing (44%), hiking (42%) and safari (30%). Regarding the existing facilities at these sites, about 60 and 91 percent of local and foreign visitors, respectively, were satisfied. Several visitors (45%) proposed that the existing infrastructure facilities to be improved. With respect to entry fee, 65 percent of the visitors preferred to make the payment as a whole and rest as a small entrance fee with an additional fee for each activity. The results highlight that government agencies should cooperate with plantation companies to promote nature tourism as a viable non-crop diversification mechanism.

W M C S Weerakoon1, K G M C P B Gajanayaka1 and U K Jayasinghe-Mudalige2
1Department of Plantation Management, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka
2Department of Agribusiness Management, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka

Shoreline protection value and social dimensions of mangrove ecosystems in coastal villages affected by the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island bordered by 1,562 km of coastline. The country encompasses a high diversity of coastal vegetation, specifically mangroves. These ecosystems have provided a wide array of goods and services, ranging from fishery, forest products and tourism to shoreline protection. The protective function of mangroves at the event of natural disasters, however, is hardly recognized. The need to assess the economic value of this function became more eminent to assist decision-makers and funding agencies in integrating environmental rehabilitation in the tsunami reconstruction process.

The districts of Hambantota and Tangalle are two of the largest coastal districts in southern Sri Lanka that experienced severe damage caused by the Indian Ocean tsunami. The disaster demonstrated the natural protection afforded by coastal ecosystems. This study estimates the value of mangrove ecosystems as shoreline buffer at the event of extreme disasters. The availability of household damage cost information allowed the use of a comparative damage cost assessment approach to estimate the value of ecosystem conservation and wise management in mitigating natural disasters such as tsunamis. The methodology assessed the socioeconomic impacts of the tsunami disaster on 151 coastal households at two sites—Kapuhenwala and Waduruppa. The first site is characterized with well managed and functioning coastal ecosystems; and the latter exhibits a disturbed and degraded ecosystem. The assessment estimated a higher incidence of damage costs in areas with degraded mangrove vegetation. Results indicate that costs of damages to livelihood and property in Waduruppa (US$ 1,377,975) are approximately ten times the costs of damages in Kapuhenwala (US$ 173,555). The damage costs avoided appraisal suggests that threatened mangroves reduce the protection afforded to inland properties, community infrastructures and livelihood by US$ 2,109/household. The estimate shows that areas with intact mangrove ecosystem generate greater economic benefits. The findings also indicate the economic rationale of including mangrove rehabilitation efforts in the post-tsunami reconstruction and rebuilding programs.

R J E Mamiit and K Wijayaweera
Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, University of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, USA

Economics of urban amenities: A contingent valuation approach for Bolgoda lake

Bolgoda Lake is known as the largest fresh water body in Colombo Urban Area (CUA) and situated in the Southern boundary of CUA. It covers 1,245 hectares. There are 14 Divisional secretariat (DS) divisions and 105 Grama Niladary (GN) divisions. Bolgoda Lake lies along the highly popularized townships and it provides a variety of environmental services such as natural environment for fisheries production and estuary function; ground water recharge, potable water supply; recreation/ tourism; and natural biotic habitat. In CUA, there are very few lakes like Bolgoda, which provides aesthetic values for the urban environment. Environment of the Bolgoda Lake is threatened by the disposal of liquid and solid waste, agricultural run-off, sedimentation and congestion due to recreational uses. However, there will be an increasing demand for the environmental services produced by the Bolgoda Lake in the future.

Objectives of the present study are to identify the environmental benefits of the Lake and estimate economic value of selected environmental benefits. A pilot survey was carried out and five major user groups were identified; fishermen, hotel owners, boat owners, recreational users (for swimming and hotel visiting) and indirect users. Selected study area for the present study belongs to five GN divisions from Moratuwa and Panadura DS divisions. Contingent valuation method was applied to estimate the economic value of the Bolgoda Lake. Users’ willingness to pay (WTP) was elicited on a pre-tested hypothetical market.

Depending on the WTP values, the 5 user groups were regrouped into two categories, namely User I (heavy dependency) and User II (less dependency). WTP values per household per year for the User I and User II are Rs.18, 600 and 514.3 respectively. Estimated economic value of the Bolgoda Lake for the study area is Rs. 84,192.7 (US$ 809.55) per hectare per year. Regression analysis was carried out to identify the socio economic characteristics of the users that affect the WTP value of the users. The results were consistent with the theory. However, the values of the study area have not been extrapolated to the whole lake, due to the high variability of the sample mean from place to place.

It was clear that the Bolgoda Lake is a valuable aesthetic asset in the CUA and it should be judiciously managed for sustain the provision of environmental services. However, the ultimate decision over the usefulness of the lake has to be based on weighing the estimated value of the environmental services of the Lake against the value of the use of lake as a sink for domestic and industrial waste.

S A G C Jayasekara1 and U A D P Gunawardena2
1 Ministry of Plantation Industries, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka
2Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka.

An empirical investigation on factors affecting coconut growers in the Kurunegala district to adopt integrated pest management techniques

The Coconut Development Office Divisions in the Kurunegala district were in the process of introducing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques to the coconut growers in order to control the major pest and disease outbreaks of coconut plantations in the district. This study assesses the factors affecting these coconut growers to be innovative in adopting these IPM techniques in the cultivation.

The Choice Model used in consumer economics (McFadden 1974) was used as the theoretical base to explain this behaviour. There were 127 coconut growers belong to four regions, namely Dambadeniya, Kudagalgamuwa, Weerambugedara, and Wellawa who had received a formal education on the use of IPM techniques in this respect from an Extension Officer/s attached to the Coconut Cultivation Board were selected to collect data during the April to June in 2005. The Ordered Logistic Regression techniques were used to estimate the coefficients of empirical model, in which fivedependent variables were developed to reflect the time taken by each grower to adopt at least two IPM techniques in the cultivation effectively, where the “least” and “most” time takers were named as “innovators” and “laggards”, respectively. The results based on Logits and Marginal Probabilities suggest that factors such as age, education, income, and time commitment to the land had a significant and relatively higher impact on grower to be an “innovator”. It also revealed that land size, availability of credit and skilled labor have no significant impact on this behaviour.

M E Illipangamuwa and U K Jayasinghe-Mudalige
Department of Agribusiness Management, Faculty of Agriculture and Plantation Management, Wayamba
University of Sri Lanka, Makandura, Gonawila (NWP), Sri Lanka

Economic implications of declaration of Knuckles conservation zone

The objective of this study is to assess the economic impacts of Knuckles Conservation Zone (KCZ) on the livelihoods of peripheral households and vise versa the impact of the utilization of forest resources by households on the sustainability of the forest after the conservation zone declaration. A detailed population survey, observations, participatory methods and discussions were conducted to gather information as part of an EU funded IUCN project on forestry governance. Around 57% of the households are poor. Following the declaration, there has been a significant reduction in the number of households harvesting non-timber forest products (NTFP) even for subsistence purposes. The share of income derived through NTFP out of total household income is very minimal. Almost all households had been harvesting NTFPs earlier and now it has been reduced to 60% of households. Banning of chena cultivation in the forest area, following the conservation zone has posed negative impacts on livelihoods, as chena was one of the main income sources earlier. This natural resource has a higher potential for ecotourism, as viewed by communities. It is necessary to compensate for the loss of income from chena and reduced access to subsistence products from the forest. The future policies should be formulated in a way that provides economic incentives to the peripheral communities, which will encourage them to use the forest in sustainable manner. This could include sharing the tourist few with the affected households. Each household would need to receive about Rs. 15, 000 per year to cover the lost access rights to the forests.

K Wickramasinghe and P Steele
Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka

Novel analytical techniques for improved decision making: Implications for consumers and institutions

Information availability plays a key role in determining the choices of consumers, firms and governments. However, externalities associated with most commodities represent information failure leading to incorrect decisions. The emerging scientific advances nevertheless have produced several new analytical techniques that could guide towards better decisions. The objective of the paper is to review the existing literature on such analytical techniques and assess the applicability of such tools within the Sri Lankan context.

Literature in environmental management and economics related disciplines revealed that availability of techniques such as Life cycle assessment (LCA) and food mile analysis for consumer products while institution or firm level decision making could be guided by tools such as management cost accounting and sustainable chain management.

LCA has often been used in evaluating environmental performances of different food production and food packaging options, waste management and transport options. The information of such analyses has been made available through product standards such as ISO 14040. Food mile is an indicator of transport costs of food items which could provide important guidelines for transport policy, international trade and product related environmental information for consumers.

The review elaborates on range of examples of application of such techniques over a wide range of consumer goods and services, institutions. The review reveals that although there seem to be sufficient analytical techniques available worldwide, the applicability of such tools within Sri Lanka has been very sparse. LCA studies are only limited to two products and the ISO standards have not been attempted yet. The study also highlights the need to improve the relevant data bases which would enable the rapid application of these tools and guide the decision maker towards sustainable directions.

C T Jayaratne 1 and U A D P Gunawardane 2
1 Peoples Leasing Cooperation, Colombo, Sri Lanka
2 Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka

Cost benefit analysis of village tank rehabilitation programme in Hambantota district, Sri Lanka

Village tanks provide multiple benefits to the local people living in their periphery and also to communities outside the area. Non recognition of the true values of this resource has led to their degradation. For example, tank rehabilitation is usually not economically justifiable when the paddy benefits alone are considered. The main objective of this research was therefore to compare costs of village tank rehabilitation programme with the multiple benefits of village tanks.

Villagers use tank water for agriculture, fish, domestic purposes, livestock rearing, and also for industry such as brick production. There are in addition, recreational benefits enjoyed by the households. Such multiple benefits have been evaluated by a survey conducted in 10 village tanks (7 isolated and 3 cascade tanks) in Hambantota district of Sri Lanka. 175 households who live adjacent to the selected tanks were interviewed using a pre-tested questionnaire with embedded contingent valuation survey during the maha season of 2005/2006. Information on the use of tank system for purposes other than paddy cultivation was collected and contingent valuation method, market price approach and opportunity cost method were used in order to derive the economic value.

The benefits and costs were analyzed in a cost benefit framework using a 20 year time period and 10% discount rate. Results indicate that the rehabilitation project is only justifiable when multiple benefits are included. When paddy benefits alone are compared with tank rehabilitation costs, it results in negative net present value.

The implications of the results in reversing the attitudes of the government towards small tanks and their role in enhancing rural economies are also discussed.

E B I Dayananda 1 and U A D P Gunawardane 2
1 Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka
2 Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka

Valuing non-market benefits of human dominated small mangrove forests in Sri Lanka

The inability of economists and policy makers to recognize the values of non-market benefits including critical ecological, socio-economic and non-use functions of mangroves has been one of the major reasons for large scale conversion of mangroves into destructive uses. Recent attempts by environmental economists to put values to non-market benefits of ecosystems are far from complete. Non-market benefits of Sri Lankan mangroves have not been studied adequately. Using contingent valuation method, this study estimated the economic values of non-use benefits of mangroves in Sri Lanka, local existence value at US$1.7/hh/yr (US$883 ha-1yr-1); global existence value at US$24/hh/ yr (US$1398 ha-1yr-1); local option value at US$2.9/hh/yr (US$1491 ha-1yr-1); global option value at US$18/hh/yr (US$1039 ha-1/yr-1); local bequest values at US$3.3/hh/yr (US$1714 ha-1yr-1); foreign bequest value at US$1.1/hh/yr (US$562 ha-1yr-1). The socio-economic factors affecting the WTP were established using tobit model. Using benefit transfer method, economic values of ecological functions of mangroves were estimated as fish breeding at US$0.55/hh/yr (US$218/ha-1yr-1); erosion control at US0.01/hh/yr (US$3.6/ha-1yr-1); biodiversity maintenance at US$0.05/hh/yr (US$18/ha-1yr- 1); carbon sequestration at US$0.19/hh/yr (US$75.5ha-1yr-1) and the storm protection at US$0.19/hh/ yr (US$76.8/ha-1yr-1). Destruction of small mangroves can be reversed by recognizing the non-market values in mangroves forest use decision making.

B M S Batagoda
Conservation Finance Program, The World Bank.