Sri Lanka’s forest cover was estimated by the FAO to be 26.6% of the land area or 1.7 million hectares in 2010. Bulk of the forest estate is dense natural forests and is mainly situated in the dry zone of the island. Based on the last forest cover assessments of the 1990s, FAO extrapolated declining forest cover of 0.6 to 0.3% over the past decade (FAO, 2010). However, a district-wise analysis suggests a possible overall rise in forest cover already in the late 1990s, with some districts showing significant deforestation and others increases in forest cover (Ratnayake et al., 2002). A 2010 national forest cover assessment has been finalized but not yet published. This assessment may help shed more light on forest trends and drivers. TROF (Trees outside forest areas) systems in Sri Lanka such as smallholder home gardens, coconut and rubber plantations cover another 27% of the land area or 1.8 million hectares (Chokkalingam et al., 2011). They supply most of Sri Lanka’s forest products and are also increasingly important for their environmental services.
Sri Lanka was awarded observer status to the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board in October 2009 (UN REDD Programme, 2009). The Forest Department (FD) with support from UN-REDD is currently drafting a National Joint Programme (NJP) for building REDD readiness over the period 2011-14. Sri Lanka’s REDD Readiness Proposal is to be finalized and submitted to the UN-REDD 7th Policy Board meeting by October, 2011.
Sri Lanka has been actively engaged in the international REDD negotiation process since October 2008. As of June 2011, there were no national or sub-national policies or laws related to REDD. Awareness of global forest carbon opportunities and what they could mean for Sri Lanka, its forests and local communities is just evolving. In the last decades forestry sector priorities have shifted from timber production to environmental conservation. Sri Lanka has worked to expand its protected area system and strengthen its governance. To conserve the remaining natural forests, a total logging ban was imposed on the same in 1990 (Bandaratillake, 2011). The Sri Lankan Government is implementing a set of initiatives to resolve environmental issues in its development policies and for reducing deforestation and forest degradation, although no specific REDD+ initiatives have been developed yet.
The Forest Department also explored joining the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) but the FCPF is currently closed to new REDD country participants. Sri Lanka has had little forest carbon activity at the sub-national level so far. Seven CDM AR projects were initiated but did not proceed to validation and implementation stages. One voluntary market project, the Hiniduma Biodiversity Corridor project is currently being developed by Conservation Carbon Company of Sri Lanka for certification to the Plan Vivo standard. The REDD+ NJP draft proposes to conduct pilot REDD+ projects to assess the emissions reduction impacts of forest-based livelihood development activities with the involvement of local stakeholders. Five pilot projects are to be set up in five different districts.
Gestão e coordenação
REDD activities in Sri Lanka are currently coordinated by the Forest Department (FD), which is under the Ministry of Environment (MoE). The MoE is the UNFCCC national focal point. It has established a Climate Change Secretariat (CCS) within to serve as a node for the implementation of UNFCCC decisions and also serves as the Designated National Authority (DNA) for the CDM under the Kyoto Protocol.
The REDD+ National Joint Programme (NJP) draft proposes to establish a multi-stakeholder National REDD+ Programme Management Committee (NPMC) under the leadership of MoE to oversee the REDD readiness process. Members are to include relevant UN agencies; Ministries and Government Institutions; NGOs; relevant Provincial, District and Divisional Secretaries; district and local level Forest Department staff, private sector and local civil society organizations. The Forest Department is to function as the secretariat. A senior FD staff member will be appointed as National Programme Director (NPD) to oversee the programme, monitor progress and report to the NPMC and to the UN agencies and implementing partners. A special REDD Programme Management Unit (PMU) is to be set up in the Forest Department under the supervision of NPD to implement and coordinate the day-to-day activities of the REDD+ NJP in the country. PMU’s activities will be monitored by the CCS of MoE.
Participação de stakeholders
The REDD+ National Joint Programme (NJP) draft was circulated to selected stakeholders. A first meeting of invited stakeholders was held in March 2011 and their comments noted. A second set of stakeholder meetings involving indigenous communities, community based organizations (CBOs), private sector, NGOs and government sector was conducted in July 2011. Three representatives from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) presented the UN-REDD programme. Comments were invited and noted from all of these groups. Sri Lanka’s REDD Readiness Proposal is to be finalized and submitted to the UN-REDD 7th Policy Board meeting by October, 2011.
The NJP aims for broad stakeholder engagement in Sri Lanka’s REDD readiness process through capacity building of relevant stakeholders at national and local levels, and establishment of a multi-stakeholder National REDD+ Programme Management Committee (NPMC) to oversee the readiness process and reach consensus on key issues related to REDD+. All relevant stakeholders are to be involved in REDD+ strategy development, and in revising the National Forest Policy and Forestry Sector Master Plan to incorporate REDD+ and ensure expected results and equitable benefit distribution. The NJP also proposes to generate REDD+ experience at the local level with the participation of communities in REDD+ pilot projects.
Direitos e Questões Fundiárias
The State administers about 93% of the forest lands in Sri Lanka − 1.51 million hectares by the Forest Department (FD) and 1.04 million hectares by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) under the Ministry of Agrarian Services and Wildlife (FAO, 2010). About 1.6 million hectares of the closed-canopy natural forests are gazetted for conservation and non-extractive uses while o.5 million hectares under the FD are gazetted for multiple use, in particular for the rural poor. Local communities are allowed to extract non-timber forest products (NTFP), fuelwood and small timber from FD areas managed with community participation. In addition, indigenous people can use forests within their village limits for settlement, cultivation and hunting.
Community ownership and participation in forest management has been limited to some donor-funded community forestry projects on multiple use areas since the 1980s. Under the community forestry project funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB), farmers could lease degraded forest land for 25 years for wood production and local livelihood benefits (ADB, 2001). The “village forest” category administered by the Divisional Secretariats were used for different purposes and ceased to exist on the ground by year 2009.
Recent government policies aim to actively promote and support: a) community-based forest management outside the protected area system for a variety of goods and services, b) private sector and community management of forest plantations on degraded state lands to meet increased wood demand, and c) TROF systems as the main source of wood production by providing appropriate conditions and incentives including tenurial arrangements. A mechanism to involve local communities in state forest management is yet to be developed. The private sector can obtain long-term land leases to establish commercial forest plantations. However, their activity has been limited due to lack of suitable land, unclear land titles and complicated tax regulations.
The BimSaviya: National Land Title Registration Programme was launched in 2007 by the Ministry of Land and Land Development to survey and demarcate lands, issue titles and strengthen land ownership. The REDD+ National Joint Programme (NJP) will focus on participatory REDD+ management for poverty reduction and livelihood improvement. It proposes to set up institutional and legal arrangements to generate increased opportunities for the stakeholders, but tenure arrangements are not specifically mentioned. The NJP will support further demarcation of the Permanent Forest Estate under the Forest Department following an Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded project that concluded demarcation on approximately 40% of the area.
Cumprimento (incentivos e aplicação da lei)
Given existing forest tenure systems, the supply of environmental services is largely in State hands and numerous government regulations attempt to protect the environment and control forest use. Commercial logging has been banned in natural forests since 1990 and mainly non-extractive uses such as tourism are permitted. Compliance is primarily addressed through law enforcement at present. Institutions responsible for enforcement include the Forest Department (FD), the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), the State Timber Corporation, the Sri Lanka Police Department and Administrative Heads of districts, divisions and villages. The National Environmental Regulations under the National Environmental Act seek to ensure environmental protection in various development activities. It requires an approval subjected to environmental impact assessment (EIA) for timber harvests from forests and forest plantations exceeding five hectares and prevents the conversion of forests exceeding one hectare to non-forest use.
Since the 1990s policies seek to promote participatory management approaches and secure land tenure rights for non-state actors including use rights on state land. However, mechanisms have not been put in place yet to grant tenure rights to local communities. The National Environment Policy of 2003 mentions using a wider range of policy tools, including economic or market-based instruments, that provide incentives while minimizing compliance costs to achieve beneficial environmental outcomes. Market-based instruments such as Payments for Environmental Services (PES) for forests are not specifically mentioned in current forest and environmental laws but most laws were last amended in the 1990s when PES and forest carbon activities were not yet common considerations.
Níveis de referência
No reference levels have been established as yet. The REDD+ National Joint Programme (NJP) proposes to develop Reference Emission Scenarios for national and regional levels by December 2013 by establishing a technical working group, reviewing available methodologies, developing methodological options, compiling data, testing a provisional REL in a pilot province and consulting with stakeholders.
There is no publicly available information about reference levels for the Hiniduma Biodiversity Corridor project since validation is underway although the Project Idea Note (PIN) has been approved by the Plan Vivo Foundation.
No environmental, social, governance and other safeguards have been developed yet for REDD+ implementation in Sri Lanka. The one voluntary market forest carbon project will have to meet Plan Vivo social and other safeguards to receive Plan Vivo certification. The REDD+ National Joint Programme (NJP) draft states that “adequate consideration has been provided on the aspects of community participation, improved accountability, protection of human rights, gender, environmental issues, etc.” It also mentions that the participatory REDD+ programme will contribute to improving the capacity of local level stakeholders to create good governance.
Some plantations in Sri Lanka are undertaking Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. By July 2011, 22,582 hectares of plantations (mainly rubber and eucalyptus) were FSC certified (Forest Stewardship Council, July 2011). The National Environmental Act (Amended act No 53 of 2000) requires an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for timber harvests from forests and forest plantations exceeding five hectares and prevents the conversion of forests exceeding one hectare to non-forest use.
There is no established national MRV methodology or system for REDD at present – for monitoring biophysical parameters such as forest cover and degradation or for environmental, social and governance safeguards. The REDD+ National Joint Programme (NJP) will help establish a Forest Resource Inventory System combining satellite imagery and field sampling to generate precise, complete, comparable, reliable information for monitoring forest cover, biomass and carbon stocks. It will cover natural forests, forest plantations and other tree based land use types such as home gardens. A new methodology will be developed for forest and carbon inventory following IPCC and/or FAO guidelines. The rate of deforestation and forest degradation and resultant change in carbon stocks could be assessed periodically by using the proposed inventory system.
The NJP proposes a special REDD Programme Management Unit (PMU) in the Forest Department with one task being to coordinate efforts to design a monitoring system of the possible impacts of REDD+ activities. It also proposes to design standards and a monitoring system for REDD+ pilot projects and their impacts and to generate REDD+ experience at the local level with the participation of communities.
Sri Lanka is a small, densely populated tropical island located in the Indian Ocean. In 2010, forest
cover was estimated to be 26.6%
of total land cover equivalent to 1.7 million hectares which extrapolates to a
declining forest cover of 0.6 to 0.3% over the past decade (FAO, 2010). The last
analysis in 1999 estimated forest cover of 2.0 million hectares or 30.8% of the
land area, with dense forests covering 22.4% of the land area, sparse forests
7% and plantations 1.4% (Bandaratillake & Fernando 2003). A district-wise analysis, however, using Landsat 7 ETM+ data suggests a possible rise in dense forest cover to 25.7% by 2001, with some districts showing significant
deforestation while others showed increases in forest cover (Ratnayake et al.,
2002). The draft NJP
lists the following drivers of deforestation at the present time: large-scale
agricultural and settlement projects, poverty associated with landlessness, conversion of forests to
permanent and swidden agriculture, encroachment from estate crop cultivation (such
as tea and cardamom), and demand for timber and land due to population growth
and changing lifestyles (Bandaratillake, 2011). A 2010
national forest cover assessment has been finalized but the results are not yet
There are four indigenous communities within Sri Lanka: the Kinnara, Ahikuntaka, Roddhi and Veddah peoples. They are scattered around Sri Lanka and their populations have declined over time. The Kinnara use various non-timber forest products to produce handicrafts. The Veddah, possible descendants of the island’s first inhabitants, have had close connections to the forest for over 2, 500 years (Samarasekara, 2001). Their traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle and culture has been impacted by loss of forestland to large-scale irrigation and other development schemes, and the establishment of conservation areas with prohibitive regulations such as a hunting ban. They have been compelled to shift their livelihood base from hunting and gathering to agriculture. Their traditional lifestyle has also changed due to increased access and mainstream education, which has resulted in their integration into other societies.
Sri Lanka like other tropical islands has high biological diversity and endemism, particularly in its montane and lowland wet forests. Dry monsoon forests are the most widespread and cover about 1.02 million hectares. Lowland rain forests cover only 124, 340 ha while sub-montane and montane forests cover 68, 892 ha. Much of the remaining forest area has been threatened by habitat loss and degradation and Sri Lanka is listed as one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hot spots (Conservation International, Western Ghats and Sri Lanka). Trees outside forest areas (TROF) systems in Sri Lanka such as smallholder home gardens, coconut and rubber plantations cover another 27% of the land area or 1.8 million hectares (Chokkalingam & Vanniarachchy, 2011). They supply most of Sri Lanka’s forest products and are also increasingly important for their environmental services.
The agriculture sector contributed about 11.9% of the GDP in 2010 while employing 32% of the population. Forestry activities contributed 9% and estate crops (tea, rubber, coconut and minor export crops) 28% of the agriculture sector’s contributions to the GDP (Central Bank of Sri Lanka, 2010). The economic contribution of forestry is likely underestimated due to incomplete data on collection and use of timber, fuelwood and non-wood forest products (Perera, Vlosky, Amarasekera, & De Silva, 2006). Only marketed products are included and household use of fuelwood and other resources are not documented
The Forest Department
under the Ministry
of Environment (MoE) is currently the focal point for all REDD
activities. The draft NJP proposes
the establishment of a multi-stakeholder National REDD+ Programme Management Committee (NPMC)
under the leadership of MoE to oversee the REDD readiness
process. A special REDD Programme Management Unit (PMU) is to be set up in the Forest Department under the supervision of a Conservator of Forests to implement the NJP, and coordinate and supervise other REDD+ activities in the country (Bandaratillake,
agencies, NGOs and NGO groups that have been involved in
forest conservation and/or forest carbon activities in Sri Lanka are IUCN Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Nature Group (a network of 118 organizations) and the Green Movement of Sri Lanka Inc. (Composed of 20 civil
Forest and forest related issues in Sri Lanka are under the purview of the FD and the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) (Ministry of Agrarian Services and Wildlife) of the Central Government. Although land management has been decentralized to provincial and local authorities, the authority of forestland management is still vested in the central government and several agencies within the central government (De Zoysa & Inoue, 2008). Thus future REDD+ activities come within the purview of both the Central Government and Provincial Councils.
most relevant laws for REDD are the Forest
Ordinance (amended 2009), the National Heritage and Wilderness Areas
Act No. 3 (1988) and the Fauna and Flora
Protection Ordinance (amended 2009) which regulate protection and use of
the zones and resources under the jurisdiction of the Forest Department and the
Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) as well as forests outside these
zones. The REDD+ National Joint Programme (NJP)
proposes to revise the Forest Ordinance in line with REDD requirements (Bandaratillake,
2011). The National Environmental Act (amended
2000) reflects changing forest management priorities and highlights rational exploitation of
forest resources and a
rational scheme for the use and conservation of land resources among other issues.
There are a number of land related laws that provide guidance on land ownership, land acquisition and the types of activities on different lands which could affect REDD implementation. The Land Acquisition Act (amended in 1986) allows for state acquisition of land from private holders for various public purposes. The State Lands Ordinance No. 8 (1947) deals with the power of the state to sell, lease, grant or otherwise dispose of state lands for management and control. The Registration of Title Act (No. 21 of 1998) aims to redress the issue of unclear land titles and records (Chokkalingam & Vanniarachchy, 2011).
While normally, the national level laws and regulations are implemented at provincial and district levels, the North Western Province has a separate Environmental Statute, which has made the National Environmental Act
At the international level, Sri Lanka has ratified over 36 multilateral environmental agreements including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change , Kyoto Protocol, Ramsar Convention, World Heritage Convention, Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.
Planos e políticas
The Forest Department with
support from UN REDD is currently drafting the National Joint
Program (NJP) for building REDD readiness over a three-year period from 2011-14. The REDD Readiness Proposal is to be finalized
and submitted to the UN-REDD 7th Policy Board meeting by October,
2011. The NJP will work towards developing a national REDD+
stakeholder participation and consensus. It will also start a participatory process
to revise the National Forest Policy (NFP) and Forestry Sector Master Plan (FSMP) to incorporate REDD requirements (Bandaratillake,
The National Forest Policy of 1995 governs all forestry activities in the country except for the protected areas managed by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC). It aims to use participatory management approaches to protect the remaining natural forests for conservation purposes, increase tree cover and productivity in other areas for forest products and services, and contribute to rural welfare. It also seeks to promote tree-growing outside forest areas for production, protection and livelihood needs. The National Policy on Wildlife Conservation (2000) declares the government’s commitment to conserve wildlife resources and manage protected areas effectively with the participation of local communities. Other policies and programs of potential relevance to REDD include the National Environmental Policy (2003), National Watershed Management Policy (2004), National Policy on Wetlands (2005), National Action Plan for Haritha (Green) Lanka Programme (2008), and the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for Sri Lanka 2011 to 2016 (2010). In Sri Lanka, provincial and district level activities and responsibilities are referred to in the national plans and policies and there are no specific provincial or district level plans and policies related to natural resource management and use.
The UN-REDD Programme
is supporting Sri Lanka in its initial REDD
Readiness activities through a three-year programme starting in July 2011 through
to June 2014. The managing agency for this Programme is the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP). The Forest Department (FD) has drafted a Programme
Proposal and conducted stakeholder consultations. The REDD Readiness Proposal is to be finalized
and submitted to the UN-REDD 7th Policy Board meeting by October,
2011. The Forest Inventory & Management division of the FD has just finalized a nationwide forest cover
assessment from 2010 that will provide an updated overview of the nation’s
forest resources. The results are not yet published.
The draft NJP proposes to help survey and demarcate a part of the Permanent Forest Estate (PFE) as a step towards better protecting and managing its carbon and other resources. With Asian Development Bank (ADB) funding, 40% of the PFE has already been demarcated (Bandaratillake, 2011). Given the lack of clarity in land titles and records, the BimSaviya: National Land Title Registration Programme was launched in 2007 by the Ministry of Land and Land Development to survey and demarcate lands, issue titles and strengthen land ownership.
Sri Lanka has so far had very few sub-national REDD activities. Seven CDM AR projects have been started but none have proceeded through to validation and implementation. One voluntary market project - the Hiniduma Biodiversity Corridor project - is currently being developed by Conservation Carbon Company of Sri Lanka for certification to the Plan Vivo standard (Chokkalingam & Vanniarachchy, 2011). The NJP draft proposes to conduct pilot REDD+ projects to assess the emissions reduction impacts of forest based livelihood development activities with the involvement of local stakeholders. Five pilot projects are to be set up in five different districts (Bandaratillake, 2011).
The estimated budget for the UN-REDD Sri Lanka Programme is USD 4,070,000 through the UN-REDD Multi Donor Trust Fund (Bandaratillake, 2011). Government contribution to the Programme budget is yet to be decided. Apart from this there is no other bilateral or multilateral funding for REDD activities at present.