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Sri Lanka

K.P. Sri Bharathie
Conservator of Forests
Forest Department of Sri Lanka

Introduction
Classification of products
Export quantities and values
Collection and processing
Employment generation and social benefits
Future directions to promote non-wood forest products
Literature cited

Introduction

According to the Forest Ordinance of Sri Lanka the following materials are declared "Non-wood Forest Produce:"

(a) Leaves, flowers and fruit, seeds, juice, caoutchouc, catechu, wood oil, resin, natural varnish, bark, lac, gum and myrabolans;

(b) plants that are not trees, including grass, creepers, reed moss and all parts or produce of such plants;

(c) tusk horns, shed horns and edible birds' nests;

(d) peat, surface soil, rocks and minerals, including limestone, laterite, bitumen, bituminous shale, asphalt, mineral oils and all products of mines or quarries.

The forests of Sri Lanka contain a large number of trees, shrubs and herbs which provide various products other than wood. These products are commonly known as "minor forest products" or "non-wood forest products." A number of such non-wood forest products are used locally, while a few enter the export market. These products have numerous direct and indirect uses, and are of immense benefit to the people who live close to forests and also to those who live in cities.

Little reliable, detailed information pertaining to these valuable products is available. Few studies have been carried out in Sri Lanka on the economics and management of non-wood forest products. Efforts in this' direction could bridge the wide gap between people and forests. The Ministry of Indigenous Medicine, however, has started research into the medicinal aspects of non-wood forest products.

This paper will assess the following aspects of non-wood forest products in Sri Lanka.

· Classification of products, their availability and value;
· Export in quantities and value;
· Collection and processing;
· Employment generation and social benefits from non-wood forest pro ducts; and
· Future directions to promote non-wood forest products;

Classification of products

Gum, resins, and oleoresins

There are several tree species in Sri Lankan forests from which gums and resins are collected, e.g. dawn (Angeissus latifolia), hik (Linnea coromandelica) and gammalu (Pterocarpus marsupium). The resin obtained from the latter is widely used in Sri Lanka to treat diabetes. Gum obtained from kaju (Anacardium occidentale) is used locally as an adhesive. This species is widely planted as an export crop for its nuts, but few trees occur naturally in the forests. Another gum locally used as an adhesive is kohomba gum (Azadiracta indica).

Resin from pine (Pinus caribaea) raised in forest plantations is now entering the export market.

Except for pine resin, none of the other gums and resins is collected on a large scale. Damar resins are produced by various species of dipterocarps. The best known product, dorana oil, is obtained from the dorana tree (Dipterocarpus glandulosus). This oil mixed with other organic substances was used to paint murals in ancient temples in Sri Lanka.

Kekuna (Canarium zeylaicum) produces an oleoresin which is collected in small quantities and used as incense. When distilled, kekuna oleoresin yields phyllandrin which is exported. The residue after distilling the phylladrin is suitable as incense.

Dipterocarpus and Canarium species have been heavily exploited for timber in the wet evergreen forests of Sri Lanka. Of the dipterocarps, only about one tree per hectare greater than 120 centimeters in diameter can be found in natural forests from which to extract damar resin.

Bark, fruits and seeds, flowers, leaves

Bark is the source of tannin and Ayurvedic medicines. The main tannin-producing barks are kadol (Rhizophora spp.), ranawara (Cassia auriculata), and wattle (Acacia decurrens). These species are locally used in limited quantities for leather tanning and tanning of fishnets.

In indigenous medicine, bark of the following species is used:

- Etdemata (Gmelina arborea)
- Kumbuk (Terminalia arjuna)
- Madan (Syzygium cumini)
- Kohomba (Azadirachta indica)
- Ankenda (Acronychia pedunculata)
- Mi (Madhuca longifolia)
- Bakmi (Nauclea orientials)
- Beli (Aegle marmelos)
- Kokum (Kokoona zeylanica)
- Kahata (Careya arborea)

Bark of godakaduru (Strychnos nux-vomica) is exported from Sri Lanka for the extraction of strychnine.

Several varieties of wild fruit are collected by villagers. Some of these fetch high prices in the local market. The popular varieties of wild fruit are:

- Mora (Nephelium)
- Palu (Manilkara hexandra)
- Wira (Drypetes sepiaria)
- Madan (Syzygium cumini)
- Katuboda (Culleia ceylanica)
- Beraliya (Shorea dyeri)
- Jack (Artocarpus heterophyllus)
- Wood apple (Ferronia limonia)
- Beli (Aegle marmelos)

The fruit and seeds of jack are popular food items in Sri Lanka.

Several varieties of seeds are used in Ayurvedic medicine. The more popular varieties are:

- Ingini (Strychnos potatorum) to purify water in wells
- Madan (Syzygium cumini) for treatment of diabetes
- Pus Wel (Entada phaseoloides) in ayurvedic treatment
- Attaa (Datra metel) for treatment of nerve diseases
- Kapukinissa (Hibiscus abelmschus)
- Domba (Calphyllum inophyllum)
- Kina (Calophyllum walkeri)
- Mi (Madhca longifolia) to extract cholesterol free oil and cattle feed
- Kohomba (Axadurachta indica) to extract medicinal oil
- Jayapala (Croton tiglium) as a laxative
- Godakaduru (Strychos nux vomicca) to extract strychnin
- Myrabolams including Aralu (Terminalia belerica), Bulu (Terminalia chebula) and Nelli (Phyllanthus emblica)

Many wild flowers produce medicinal beverages. The more important ones are:

- Ranawara (Cassia auriculiformis)
- Beli (Aegle marmelos)
- Mi (Madhuca longifolia) for strong beverage
- Kohomba (Azadirachta indica) for savoury food
- Malitha (Woodfordia fruiticosa)
- Malia (Bauhima racemosa)

Kitul (Careota urens) is abundant in the wet evergreen forests. Flowers, or more correctly inflorescences of kitul, are tapped to obtain phloem sap which produces a range of products such as jaggery, alcoholic beverages (toddy) and vinegar. Kitul flour obtained from the juvenile core of the tree is a well-known medicine for giddiness.

Forest tree leaves are widely used in Oriental medical treatment. A few are also used as wrappers and as leaf vegetables.

The more important species and their uses are:

- Bidi leaf (Diospyros melanoxylon) to wrap bidi, a cheap smoke
- Kenda (Macaranga peltata) to wrap jaggery and other sweetmeats
- Beru (Agrostistachys hookeri) for thatching huts
- Bata leaves (Ochlandra stridula) to thatch village houses
- Madurutala (Hortonia floribunda) a mosquito repellent

The leaves of blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) are used to distill oil which contains cineole. The quantity involved is comparatively small.

The non-wood forest products discussed above have been over-exploited because there has been no planned management. As a result, many herbal medicines that could be grown in Sri Lanka are now imported. One example is kohomba (Munronia pumila), which was available in the dry zone and the mid-country but is now almost extinct. This valuable medicinal herb is now imported from India at a cost of about Rs1000 per kilogram.

Grass, Bamboo, and Cane

Various sedges are used for handicraft industries such as basket making, hat making, and mat making.

Bamboo is used in building, scaffolding, ladders, bridges and fences. Numerous articles of daily use such as brushes, tool handles, toys, musical instruments etc. are made of different bamboo species. The traditional industry of basketware and bamboo flutes is based almost exclusively on a single native species, bata (Ochlandra stridula). Davidsea attenuata and Pseudoxytenantherea monadelpha are two other local species used to produce crude basketware. Four bamboo species, Ochlandra stridula, Davidsea attenuata, Bamboosa vulgaris, and Dendrocalamus giganteus are widely used in cottage industries.

The rattan industry of Sri Lanka depends on 10 native species. The following species are widely used commercially.

- Thambotu wel (Calamus zeylanicus)
- Sudu wewel (Calamus ovoideus)
- Heen wewel (Calamus pseudotenuis)
- Ma wewel (Calamus thwaitesii)
- Kaha wewel (Calamus rivalis)
- Narawel (Calamus delicatulus)
- Wewel (Calamus rotang)
- Kukuluwel (Calamus pachystemonus)

An important species is weniwel (Cosciniun feenestratum), which is a woody climber growing in the rain forests. The stem is used as a diuretic and as an anti-tetanus drug. This, too, is over-exploited and the Forest Department has enforced controls on its collection. A breeding program is now underway.

Export quantities and values

Few non-wood forest products enter the foreign market, with the exception of handicrafts made from bamboo and rattan. Bamboo and rattan goods earned Rs2.5 million in 1986. There has been a 50 percent reduction in sales over the last few years.

All products of mines or quarries are defined as forest produce in the Forest Ordinance. In this context gem stones, graphite and the like obtained from within the forest areas could be defined as non-wood forest products. This paper does not consider the exports of gem stones and similar products, as they do not relate to these materials.

Collection and processing

After receiving royalties, permits are issued by the Forest Department to collect products from forest preserves, while the District Office issues permits to collect products from state forests not managed by the Forest Department.

Non-wood forest products are almost exclusively gathered by local entrepreneurs. Little processing is done prior to their sale.

Employment generation and social benefits

Most industries based on non-wood forest products generate only part-time employment, with the exception of bamboo and rattan industries, which employ 3,000 people full time. Additional part-time workers are often seasonally employed.

The most common production unit is home-based. The employment pattern for non-wood forest products industries have not been carefully studied, except for bamboo and rattan. Actually there is an estimated surplus of 900 trained workers in the craft industry based on bamboo and rattan. This is mainly caused by the difficulty in obtaining raw materials, the lack of capital to pay for them, and a shortage of tools.

Future directions to promote non-wood forest products

Almost all non-wood forest products are obtained from natural forests, and some effort has been made to assess the present stock. Although the legal protection of these species is well defined, illegal exploitation is common mainly because of the high demand for these products. As a result, some species are almost extinct. The following aspects have to be studied to ensure proper management of remaining resources:

Survey of Existing Stocks

A comprehensive survey is needed to assess the present stock of non-wood forest products and to study the employment generation pattern of this industry. Both quantitative and qualitative data are needed.

The status of individual species has to be ascertained so that vulnerable species and areas can be protected from over-exploitation.

Awareness Programs

Industries based on non-wood forest products are confined to households; the traditional methods used for collection and processing have not changed over the years. The waste of raw material during harvesting and processing could be reduced through awareness programs of propagation and harvesting techniques. Cultivation of rare species and the use of alternative species have to be promoted to reduce the pressure on species in natural forests.

Most non-wood forest products do not fetch their proper prices in the market because of poor quality. People engaged in this industry have to be educated to new methods to improve the quality of the produce.

Some species are underutilized because of ignorance of processing methods. Katu una (Bamboosa bamboos), found in the dry zone for example, is underutilized. In India and other countries in the region, the same species is used for weaving mats. The existing techniques in the region could be used to overcome this problem.

Research

Research programs have to be strengthened to propagate the rare and very important non-wood forest products. More assistance is required for continuing research carried out by the universities and the Forest Department.

The ADB-funded Participatory Forestry Project of the Forest Department, to commence at the beginning of 1992, will provide opportunities for the development of non-wood forest products at the village level. Special attention will be given to the medicinal herbs which are in high demand. Propagation of the herbs at the village garden level will contribute towards ex-situ conservation of these rare herbs and generate income for the rural poor.

Literature cited

de Zoysa, Neela and K. Vivekanandan. 1991. The bamboo and rattan cottage industry in Sri Lanka. IDRC Bamboo Rattan Project.

Ministry of Ayurveda. n.d. Ayurveda Sameeksha. Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Weerasinghe, Tissa A.E.K. 1971. Forest products other than timber. Paper presented at the Symposium on Subsidiary Industrial Products of Agriculture & Forestry, 31 August 1971, Colombo.

Links between producers and markets are crucial for successful NWFP development.

Annex I. Forest Herbal Materials Utilized by the Ayurvedic Corporation of Sri Lanka and their annual requirements

No.

Local Name

Botanic Name

Annual Requirement (kg)

1.

Aralu

Terminalia chebula

10,000

2.

Adhathoda

Adhotoda visica

300

3.

Etdemata (root)

Gemlina arborea

1,500

4.

Aswenna

Alysicarpus vaginalis

1,500

5.

Iriveriya (dry)

Plectranthus

500

6.

Inguru piyali

Knoxiaa zeylanica

400

7.

Ela batu (root)

Solanum xanthocarpum

1,500

8.

Endaru (root)

Recinus communis

500

9.

Endaru (seed)

Recinus communis

200

10.

Palol

Sterospermum suaveolens

1,500

11,

Polpala

Eerva lanata

1,500

12.

Beli (raw fruit)

Aegle marmalos

1,500

13.

Bulu

Terminalia belerica

10,000

14.

Beli (root)

Aegle marmalos

1,500

15.

Binkohomba

Munronia pumila

800

16.

Bebila (root)

Sida racemsca

5,000

17.

Midi (root)

Prema ceratifolia

1.500

18.

Thotila (root)

Orolylum indicum

1,500

19.

Nas Narang (root)

Citrus japonica

100

20.

Na (flowers)

Messua ferrea

600

21.

Na (stamens)

Messua ferrea

500

22.

Nalum (petioles)

Nelumbo nucifera

100

23.

Gas Karalheba

Achyrathes aspera

120

24.

Heen aratta (yam)

Ophiorrhiza mungos

3,500

25.

Matu karandu (root)

Barlerica prionitis

150

26.

Kiratha

Swertia zeylanica

1,000

27.

Kohoba (bark)

Azadirachta indica

2,000

28.

Kollan (leaves)

Pogostemon heyneanus

500

29.

Kumbuk (bark)

Terminalia arjuna

500

30.

Kohomba (seed)

Azadirachta indica

100

31.

Kotala Himbatu (root)

Saracia reticulata

200

32

Dummella

Trichosanthescucumerina

300

33.

Diyamitta

Cissampelos pareira

500

34.

Nika (root)

Itex negundo

100

35.

Ranawara (root)

Cassia auriculata

100

36.

Ratnitul (root)

Plumbago indica

1,000

37.

Rasakinda (dry)

Tinosora cordifolia

5,000

38.

Rukattana (bark)

Alstonia scholaris

100

39.

Ruk mal (flower)

Horsfieldia iryaghedi

300

40.

Wenivelgeta

Coscinium fenestratun

7,000

41.

Welkahambiliya

Fleurga interrupta

750

42.

Weltibbotu (root)

Solanum trilobatum

350

43.

Detta (yam)

Baliospermum montanum

400

44.

Delum (peel)

Punica grantum

350

45.

Gon Kekiri (yam)

Cucumis melovar

150

46.

Gokatu

Garcinia mrella

500

47.

Hal Dummala (Damar)

Vateria copallifera

350

48.

Hatavariya (yam)

Asparagus racemosus

260

49.

Lunuwila

Bacopa monniera

100

50.

Lunuwarana (bark)

Crateva religiosa

100

51.

Jatamansa

Nardostachys jatamansi

500

52.

Kiribadu (yam)

Ipomoea mauritiana

500

53.

Sudu Handun (wod)

Santalum album

800

54.

Sevendara (root)

Vetiveria zizanioides

400

55.

Siviya (root)

Piper chaba

300

Annex II. Imported Medicinal Herbs Obtained from Natural Forests

Herb

1987

1988

1989

Quantity (kg)

Value (Million Rs)

Quantity (kg)

Value (million Rs)

Quantity (kg)

Value (million Rs)

Tippili (Piper longum)

15,125

1.61

13,708

2.89

13,976

1.59

Spikes Roots

5,300

0.11

4,750

0.10

6,500

0.09

Pathpadagum (Mollugo carviana)

53,500

0.52

77,293

1.00

56,820

0.89

Katuwalbatu (Solanum xanthocarpum)

92,500

0.70

170,288

1.46

66,488

0.71

Devadara (Erythroxylum monogymum)

14,203

0.17

21,246

0.32

28,287

0.45

Walangasal (Embelia ribes)

8,550

0.24

17,450

0.59

10,500

0.36

Tirastavalu (Operculina turpethua)

11,328

0.26

25,350

0.54

9,000

0.21

Welmadata (Rubia cordifolia)

6,198

0.15

15,627

0.37

4,600

0.16

Kumburueta (Caesalpinia bonduc)

5,100

0.06

6,985

0.16

9,250

0.13

Malithamal (Woodfordia fruticose)

16,050

0.16

13,000

0.14

9,550

0.13

Walgammiris (Piper argyrophyllum)

600

0.15

1,245

0.12

2,000

0.11

Nelli (Phyllanthus emblica)

57,068

0.76

56,973

0,75

3,825

0.05

Geewanthi (Terminali chebula)

-

-



1,689

5.00

Marketing rattan in the Philippines.


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