Valuing Forest Gardens in Sri Lanka

Valuing Forest Gardens in Sri Lanka

Wed, 06/03/2013 - 14:00 to 15:00

About the Presenter

Kamal Melvani

Kamal Melvani (Kamy) is from Sri Lanka. She has worked in the field of restoration for several years where most of the work has involved the conversion of home gardens to forest gardens.

Kamy will now take a step back from active restoration to investigate the value of forest gardens in social, economic and biophysical terms.


Charles Darwin University
Ellengowan Drive
Blue 5.1.01
Casuarina NT 0810

Presentation of PhD research proposal

Sri Lanka’s closed canopy forest cover has declined from about 84% in 1881, to 44 % in 1956 and to less than 29% in 2010. There are a range of methods being used to plant trees in Sri Lanka: including planting of monocultures of exotic species; enrichment planting in buffer zones of protected areas; and conversion of home gardens to forest gardens. Some of these conversions have been based on the traditional Kandyan forest gardens. Forest gardens are a form of tree-dominated agriculture. They have been defined as intensive land-use systems that involve the deliberate management of multipurpose trees and shrubs grown in intimate association with herbaceous species (annual, perennial, and seasonal agricultural crops), and livestock that are all managed within the compounds of individual homes.

Typically, a small farmer has a home garden which may include a section of forest garden and a section of cash cropping. Livelihoods of small farmers may also include income from cash cropping at some other location (e.g. rice paddy), employment off farm, and wild harvest from natural forests. The proposed research will investigate the value attributed to forest gardens by small farmers, aiming to discover the incentives and disincentives for establishing and maintaining forest gardens. The research will (i) characterize forest gardens, (ii) assess the contributions of forest gardens to farmer livelihoods using household interviews and economic surveys, and (iii) value two environmental services that forest gardens may provide (above ground carbon and soil health).

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