Urban India currently produces about 36.5 million tones of waste and this figure  is expected to touch an astounding 300 million tones given the current spate in the consumption patterns and materialistic lifestyles of the ‘haves’ which has accelerated the per capita consumption and consequently waste generation. From a current per capita rate of 490 grams this is expected to touch 945 grams by 2047. However the waste collection and disposal mechanisms of the Urban Local Bodies continue to be equally alarming. Given the current state of affairs it is estimated that only between 30-60% (Rouse, 2006) of the municipal solid waste  generated in Indian cities is actually collected and disposed off by the urban local bodies. Another study (Medina,, 2002) mentions a collection rate of just 50% in urban India. Out of this collected waste only a fraction i.e, 7% is recycled through composting or WTE (waste to energy) measures and the rest 93% inclusive of the recyclable dry waste find their way into the dumping sites where they are then rummaged by the ragpickers. Thus though the informal sector operations comprising the ragpickers and other informal actors are crucial to the waste management scene in Urban India yet the services provided by this sector is poorly understood or acknowledged and it ends up being projected as illegal and illicit and being looked down upon. Given the context the research paper aims to highlight the other dimension of waste collection and management in urban India which is the informal waste collection.
Study Methodology
The research study follows the following methodological steps;
a)    Review of literature on solid waste management with focus on urban India’s Current waste management scenario and the role of the informal sector in solid waste management in Indian Cities.
b)    The case Study of Amritsar city is carried out to examine the current practices by the formal sector and identify issues and discrepancies in its operations.
c)    The role of informal sector in solid waste management in Amritsar city is examined with the view to identify the issues as well as the possibilities of involving the informal sector formally into the waste management operations in the city.
d)    A model for solid waste management for the city is suggested that seeks to integrate both the formal and informal operations in the city towards achieving the objective of zero waste conditions in the city.
Summary of Findings
Based on the study it can be summarized that informal refuse collectors indeed render clear economic and environmental benefits to society, and their activities should be improved and supported. Based upon the model suggested for effective solid waste management in Amritsar city it is opined   that this model be tested for its application by practically applying it in the city. The adoption of a waste management model of the nature as above mentioned has the potential to create jobs, reduce poverty, extend the collection and improve final disposal of wastes, minimize public investment on personnel, equipment and facilities, reduce pollution and risks to human health and the environment.
Key words
Solidwaste      Informal     Ragpickers     Amritsar     Integrate

Kiran Sandhu
Senior Lecturer, Guru Ramdas School of Planning
Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, India

Growth, morphological, anatomical, and physiological responses of canopy species to varied light environments.

Growth, morphological, anatomical, and physiological characteristics of seedlings of three canopy species; Artocarpus nobilis Thw., Litsea gardneri Thw. and Myristica dactyloides Gaertn. were compared with variation to the light regimes in lowland tropical rain forest, southwest Sri Lanka. Seedlings were grown under four stimulated light environments; deep shade (50µmolm-2s-1), medium shade (350µmolm-2s-1), partial shade (800µmolm-2s-1), and full sun (1200µmolm-2s-1) found in Sinharaja rain forest. Seedling height and mortality were recorded at three months intervals. After one and half years of seedling growth, leaf photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were measured and leaf cross sections taken for anatomical measurements. Digital photomicrographs of leaf sections were taken for leaf morphology measurements. After two years of growth, seedlings were uprooted and dried at 800C and dry mass recorded for root, stem, and leaves. Mass ratios were calculated for leaves, roots, and stem.
Results showed significant difference between shade treatments for seedling growth morphology, leaf physiology, and anatomy. Seedling mortality of study species were not affected by irradiance level except Litsea gardneri. Total dry mass of Artocarpus nobilis and Litsea gardneri grown in medium and partial shade were significantly higher than those in deep shade and full sun treatments. Species showed different growth and growth allocation pattern in different shade treatments. There were significant differences between dry mass allocation to leaves, stem and root for all study species. Lower root mass ratios were recorded in deep with more allocation to leaf and stem in treatments that had lower amount of shade. Leaf anatomy between canopy species differ in several important ways that help explain their shade tolerance. All species produced higher or thicker leaf attributes in full sun treatment compared to the deep shade treatment. Typical sun- shade morphological responses to decreasing shade levels included increased stomatal density, decreased leaf number and specific leaf area. Lowest values of net photosynthesis were recorded for seedlings grown in deep shade. Highest values were recorded for seedlings grown in intermediate shade treatment. Results indicate that light conditions between medium shade (350µmolm-2s-1) and partial shade (800µmolm-2s-1) are optimal for plant growth and should be considered in management and reintroduction effort for these species.

Bandumala S.H1, Singhakumara B.M.P2 & Ashton P.M.S3.
1Forest Department 2 Department of Forestry & Environmental science, University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
3 School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, U.S.A.


Kandyan homegardens are identified as an economically viable, highly adapted and environmentally sound agroforestry system in Sri Lanka which is having diverse mixture of plants in a close association with each other. Nearly 15% of lands in the country are under this system, which has enormous potential to provide its services to the society. The objective of this study was to identify an agroforestry model to improve the potential of homegarden system. Randomly selected 25 homegardens in Manikhinna GN Division belongs to mid country intermediate zone, were investigated for the study. Household and vegetation surveys were conducted to obtain information about owners’ interest towards the improvement of homegarden and assessment of plant species and existing tree volume of each homegarden, respectively. Four improvement strategies, namely (i) increasing the number of trees in a given species; (ii) replacement of species; (iii) substitute species; (iv) managing species to achieve optimum productivity were used to develop the agroforestry model.

About 80% of homegardens in Manikhinna area were under 0.1-0.4 ha category indicating the high degree of fragmentation. Species-area curve indicated that covering of 90% of plant species require to assess at least 2 ha of cumulative land area. Vegetation survey revealed that the occurrence of 151 species from 125 genera and 58 families with 5 endemic species. Diversity of homegardens was higher in 0.1- 0.2 ha category compared to < 0.1 ha and 0.2-0.4 ha categories. Cocos nucifera, Mangifera indica, Artocarpus heterophyllus, Swietenia macrophylla, Michelia champaca and Filicium decipiens were selected as model timber species. Agroforestry model was developed by specifying number of trees need to introduce, pattern of tree introducing and arrange of different components in the garden for two different size classes separately. For 0.1-0.2 ha class it gives nearly 100% predicted volume increment compared to the existing volume at 20 years time by applying the model whereas 0.2-0.4 ha size class shows 50% volume increment. Further, productive food/fruit trees will account for better yield throughout the year, thereby safeguarding the food and nutritional security of family members. However, the contribution from animal food products gain from the system is at a low value in this area due to various reasons.

Land fragmentation, labour scarcity and soil management, were identified as major limitations for improve the condition of homegardens. Introduction of new improved fruit varieties with quality planting materials and replacement of less productive trees by high productive varieties were identified as major improvement potentials. Proper mechanism of transmitting information relevant to homegarden management towards farmers is identified as a major service that people need to ensure the improvement of the homegarden system in the studied area.

H.J.C. Jayasooriya 1, D.K.N.G. Pushpakumara 1 and H.M.S. Heenkenda 2
1 Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, email:
2 HORDI Unit II, Department of Agriculture, Gannoruwa, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Effects of Cardamom Cultivation on Forest Structure and Soil Properties in the Montane Forest of Knuckles Conservation Area of Sri Lanka

The ecological effects of cardamom cultivation in the understorey of tropical forests have been debated but remain poorly understood. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of cardamom cultivation and management on forest structure and surface soil properties in the montane forests of Knuckles Conservation Area in Sri Lanka. Vegetation and soil were sampled in forest under-planted with cardamom (mean density of cardamom 6098 stems ha-1) and adjacent forest with a low density of naturally regenerated cardamom (121 stems ha -1). The density of trees (≥ 5 cm dbh), saplings (≤ 5 cm dbh and ≥ 1.5 m height), and seedlings (≤1.5 m height) were higher in forests with a low density of cardamom than forests with a high density of cardamom, while stand basal area was marginally higher in the forests with a high density of cardamom. Canopy openness was higher in the cardamom plantation forests (35 ± 8 %) than in the low density cardamom forest (19 ± 3 %). Soil pH and concentrations of total N and ammonium were higher in forests with a low density of cardamom, while concentrations of total P and exchangeable K were higher in the cardamom plantation forests and soil organic matter and concentrations of exchangeable Ca and Mg did not differ. We conclude that cardamom cultivation results in a net loss of stems through weeding and opening of the canopy to promote cardamom production. Effects of Cardamom cultivation on soil nutrient concentrations may occur directly, as a consequence ofertilizer addition, or indirectly as a result of changes in nutrient cycling that accompany changes in tree density and canopy opening.

Dhakal, B.,1, Pinard, M.A.,1 Burslem1, D.F.R.P.1 and Gunatilleke, I.A.U.N.2
1School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom
2Department of Botany, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Develop a Model using GIS to identify Soil Erosion potential areas of Kukule Ganga watershed – Sri Lanka

The process of soil erosion in Sri Lanka commenced in the 19th century with the expansion of human settlements and cultivation of upland rain fed crops. It was aggravated by the changes in land use patterns during the British administration when upper catchments of major rivers located in the central highlands were stripped of natural vegetation to make way for plantation agriculture such as coffee and tea. Most of the reservoirs of Sri Lanka are in below the catchments areas. Those are threatened by the continuous sedimentation. Due to this problem, water carrying capacity of the reservoirs has been reduced.
The study area is Kukule ganga watershed that is one of the main tributaries of the Kalu river (ganga) in Sri Lanka. The watershed has situated in the Kalawana D.S. Division of the Rathnapura district. The total area of the Kukule watershed is 309.44 km2 and it consists three sub catchments. This research paper describes two main objectives. One is the develop a model to identify soil erosion potential areas of a catchment in a Grid environment and the another is prioritize catchment area according to the erosion potential areas for conservation practices. This study was carried out by using four main causative factors. Soil characteristics, Land use and Land cover, Rainfall intensity and Slope characteristics. By using these factors developed a precise model in the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) environment. The probable areas for each causative factor were identified according to the weighting average scheme and the critical areas were found out by applying Overlaying methodologies in GIS. Finally, the watershed was classified in to the five risk regions, such as Very High, High, Moderate, Low and Least risk areas. Then, the results were clarified / proved by the field survey carried out using Global Positioning Systems (GPS). The accuracy of the findings were 85% or above.

Ananda Karunarathna1, Ranjana. Udaya.Kumara Piyadasa2
1- Main Library, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
2- Department of Geography, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Evaluation of the effectiveness of the social forestry component of the Forest Resources Management Project (FRMP) in Kurunegala District

The paper reports findings of an evaluation of the social forestry component of the Forest Resources Management Project of the Ministry of Environment commenced in 2002 with the overall objective of improving forest management for environmental protection and sustainable utilization of wood.
Three Forest Ranges in Kurunegala District were selected for the study ie Mahawa, Malsiripura and Galgamuwa. The methodology included secondary data gathering from published reports, primary data gathering by way of questionnaires, focal groups discussions and key informant surveys. Questionnaire survey was carried out in 72 randomly selected households 32 each from Mahawa and Galgamuwa and 8 from Malsiripura to represent 95% of the total households participating in the Project. 30 households who are not participating in the Project were taken as the control. The project staff, officers in the Forest Dept, Divisional Secretary, village leaders and elders were also interviewed. Woodlots were measured for yield and species composition recorded.

In general, there was a marked decrease in forest related offences such as encroachments, illicit felling of timber in all the ranges in Kurunegala Division from 2005 onwards. The decrease was from 4.25 ha to 1.3 ha. 66% of long term lease agreements were enacted after the FRMP Project and of them 52% were with women farmers. The supplemental income from agroforestry plots was more in the range Rs. 100,000 – 150,000 per year in general. A significant increase was shown in the total family income per year especially in the range of 200,000 – 400,000. While the persons having passed G.C.E. O/L was 23% before FRMP it increased to 43% after the project. The school drop outs or those who did not attend at all decreased from 16 to 10%. More employment was created in farming in the villages. Majority of the farmers were satisfied with the services provided by the Forest Dept staff. With regard to land degradation, all the respondents agreed that land degradation was curtailed after FRMP significantly. The FD staff had been trained well and the policies have also changed towards better sustainability. However, as the farmers were not well versed in forest management practices to obtain optimal yield the growth of the plots were rather inferior to the Forest Department plantations.

M.C.S. Kumarawardene* and D.M.S.H.K. Ranasinghe**
* Forest Department, ** Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura

Feasibility assessments of four plantation timber species

The rapid expansion of the human population has resulted in a tremendous increase in the demand for timber in turn posing a serious threat to natural forest ecosystems. Forest plantations were established primarily to provide an alternative source of timber hence mitigating impacts on natural forests. This study aimed to assess the feasibility of four plantation timber species namely teak, mahogany and two species of eucalyptus that are grown in Sri Lanka. These species are in high demand both in local and export markets. Due to an increasing focus on the depletion of biodiversity the role of forest plantations in facilitating the protection of biota are also investigated.
Three plantation plots of 0.5 ha each of the four timber species, at a harvestable age, were selected in the Kurunegala and Nuwara-Eliya districts. The wood volume produced in each plot was calculated using the dbh and heights of the individual trees. The income generated was calculated using past timber prices and wood volumes produced in each plot. The expenditure incurred in establishment and maintenance was also calculated per plantation for each of the four species taking into consideration the increase in costs of labour and raw materials at times at which different activities occurred in the future.

The mean dbh values (cm) of the four timber species at harvestable ages were teak 35.9, mahogany 44.3, E. microcorys 47.2 and E. grandis 44.3, whilst the mean height values (m) were teak 18.6, mahogany 32.2, E. microcorys 32.9 and E. grandis 32.7. Analyses revealed that the future values of a 1m3 of timber at their respective harvestable ages would be Rs.260000 for teak in 30 yrs, Rs. 160000 for mahogany in 40 yrs, Rs. 112000 for E. microcorys and Rs.75000 for E. grandis in 25 yrs. Based on these values, sawn wood and wood from thinning operations during the growing phase would fetch an income with a Net Present Value of Rs. 1216586 for teak, Rs. 689501 for mahogany, and Rs. 492388 and Rs. 232491 for E. microcorys and E. grandis respectively. The Net Present Value of establishment and maintenance costs were Rs. 201524 for teak Rs. 204373 for mahogany, and Rs. 137709 and Rs. 133676 for E. microcorys and E. grandis. These findings reveal that teak plantations are highly profitable whilst E. grandis appeared to be the least profitable.

With regard to their favourability for biota, teak and mahogany plantations were seen to support a rich assemblage of both flora and fauna. For instance, teak plantations harboured 44 % of plant and 70 % of bird species occurring in natural forests of the same area. Eucalyptus plantations on the other hand were not conducive to faunal species.

The analyses of income, expenditure and profits provided in this study will be useful for entrepreneurs to make assessments regarding the feasibility of forest plantations. The findings reveal that investing in teak plantations and mahogany plantations may generate high profits. Eucalyptus plantations may not be a profitable venture and hence it would be prudent to put the land to some other use. In addition to monetary gains, this study also highlights the role of forest plantations as refuges to both flora and fauna. With increasing threats to the country’s biological diversity, the value of such habitats should not be overlooked.
Vindya Janani de Silva and Mayuri R. Wijesinghe
Department of Zoology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

An empirical model for predicting dbh growth with age for Eucalyptus grandis

Eucalyptus grandis Hill ex Maiden (rose gum) is commonly grown as even-aged monocultures in colder climates in the hilly region of Sri Lanka. Trees harvested from those plantations are used for sawn timber, railway sleepers and fuel. In order to manage those plantations, estimation of diameter growth is essential with age and therefore that was the objective of this study.

Data were collected from 26 plantations for the model construction covering the entire region, which is favourable for rose gum growth. According to the above objective, age was selected as the primary explanatory variable. A Site index was selected as a second explanatory variable where there were growth differences apparent due to different site qualities. After developing the theoretical model structures, the modelling process was divided into three stages. Variables were also transformed to different forms to obtain the best models. R2 values and standard residual distributions were used as preliminary evaluations.

At stage one, it was tried to build a simple (linear or exponential) model to predict the dbh growth using age as the only explanatory variable. However, this was not successful due to low R2 values and non-constant variances.

Data were partitioned due to site differences at stage two using a site index, i.e., top height/age. It was possible to identify three site types with mean index values of 2.4, 1.6 and 1.1. After that similar model structures were separately fitted to each site class to estimate different parameters. The selected linear models over-estimated the dbh values for the lower ages. The parameter associated with age for the exponential models always indicated an indefinite increase of dbh with age. In addition to the above two, logistic functions were also fitted at this stage. However, for the poor sites, it had large outliers. Therefore stage two was also not successful.

Finally it was decided to use stage three with pooled data. Exponential and logistic functions were modified at this stage with a site index as a second explanatory variable in addition to the age. However, other than top height/age index, a partially qualitative site classification (site class) was also used. Initial parameters required for the iterations in SPSS were decided by simply fitting exponential and logistic functions without the second explanatory variable. For the second variable it was assumed as 1. Models with partially qualitative site classes had to be removed due to having parallel distributions between three site types. Finally it was possible to select 7 best models based on R2 and residual distribution. All those models indicated a high modelling efficiency and minimum bias when tested. Then the estimated dbh values were fitted against an age series of 5 to 50 to identify the distribution and compatibility with biological reality. After all those evaluations, the model shown below was identified as the best model to predict the dbh growth for rose gum in Sri Lanka for all site types. When tested with the data reserved at the beginning of the study, this model proved its suitability for field use.

Subasinghe, S.M.C.U.P.
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science
University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Nugegoda, Sri Lanka

Preliminary study on sustainable honey harvesting from natural dwarf honeybee (Apis florea) colonies in semi arid regions of Sri Lanka

Honeybees of the world can be categorized as open nesting and cavity nesting based on their habitat. The cavity nesting bees – Apis mellifera (temperate honeybee) and A. cerana (Asian honeybee) and open nesting bees – A. dorsata (Giant honeybee) and A. florea (Dwarf honeybee) – are the main honeybee species used in honey harvesting in the world. A. florea dominates pollination and honey production in the southern semi-arid regions of Sri Lanka (especially Hambantota). Prosopis juliflora (Mimosoidae) dominates the vegetation in the area and florea has found to be the major pollinator of the species. Due to the open nesting behaviour and habit of absconding when disturbed, conventional colony management practices and honey harvesting as done with cavity nesting bees can not be practiced with species like A. florea. Honey stores of A. florea nests are located in the uppermost portion of the comb, which also serves as the attachment to the substrate; Honey harvesting is always destructive to the colony as the brood area which lies below the honey stores is discarded making the bees homeless. Compared to aggressive A. dorsata, the relatively calm A. florea colonies are more prone to be hunted for honey leading to destruction of colonies. Hence there is an urgent need to conserve the natural A. florea populations and establish a sustainable honey harvesting strategy in the semi arid regions.

A procedure has tested proven and practiced in some countries to keep A. florea brood area attached to the substrate after honey is harvested. Similarly, honey hunters in Hambantota have adopted a method for the same purpose. After carefully removing the honey stores the portion of the nest with brood is carefully attached to the original location using two metal wires without disturbance.

This procedure, adopted by the honey hunters, was experimentally tested for effectiveness. The experiment was conducted in the outer zone of the Bundala National Park, Hambantota where The A. florea colony density was determined to be 25 – 35 colonies per ha and found to cluster around moisture sources. During the honey season (February – May) in 2008 three colonies were selected with large honey stores. After slightly smoking on to the honey stores at the top of the comb, bees were pushed downward and brood comb was cut and detached. Out of three colonies one was tied with wires to a tree-branch next to the original substrate, the second colony was just suspended near the original site. The third was moved to a different location and suspended on a tree branch. First two colonies managed to settle under new conditions and found surviving even after one month. The third colony was attacked by the macaques after two days, a threat to A. florea colonies commonly found in the area.

These results prove that sustainable honey harvesting with A. florea is possible with the technique adopted by some of the honey hunters and hence awareness programs have to be launched to popularize and promote the use of technique in order to conserve the important bee species.

Key words: Apis florea, semi – arid regions, Prosopis juliflora pollination, Sustainable honey harvesting

Key words: Apis florea, semi – arid regions, Prosopis juliflora pollination, Sustainable honey harvesting

WMCJ Wijekoon*, RWK Punchihewa**
Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka
**Department of Agricultural Biology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka