Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Impacts of community forestry on forest condition: evidence from Sri Lanka's intermediate zone.

Abstract

Sri Lanka's community forestry (CF) program emerged in the early 1980s following a global trend to conserve forest resources and provide benefits to the local community. However, very little is known about the effect of CF on forest resources. We assess the impacts of CF on forest conditions of semi-mixed evergreen forest in the intermediate zone of Sri Lanka using the before-after control-impact method. The study examines tree density, regeneration, woody species diversity, and evidence of disturbance as parameters to analyze the impact of the CF program. Data are analyzed using the difference in differences approach. The results show that the CF program has increased seedling and sapling density to a significant degree and reduced human disturbances. A major contribution of the CF program is that it was found to reduce invasive species and forest fires. The program reduced the amount of invasive species up to six times less than previous. The findings revealed that the impact of CF on forests may vary depending on pre-existing forest conditions, length of period to implement, perception, and decisions by local people. Community understanding and decision-making, in tandem with government policy, will weigh heavily on its future effectiveness.