A survey in just one area showed that nearly 200 tree species were used by the adjacent communities. In this paper, an attempt has been made to categorize the various NWFPs available in Sri Lanka. The most important ones are medicinal plants, Rattan/ bamboo, the products of hunting, bee honey, grazing etc., and are dealt with in detail in the paper.
Around 40% of the rural population in the Dry Zone is forest dependent and they derive some benefits from NWFPS. The annual income from NWFPs per forest dependent household in some parts of the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka, is around Rs.15,000. A most important single activity in the Dry Zone is shifting cultivation which provides an annual income of around Rs.10,000 per family. Kitul tapping is the most significant NWFP in the wet zone and it contributes over 70% of the total income of the households engaged in this activity.
Lack of policy guidelines, a shrinking resource base and inadequate knowledge on cultivation, management, harvesting, processing and storage are identified as the major issues which hinder the development of the NWFP sector. Major reforms in policy, legislation and management strategies together with a coordinated effort in research on cultivation, utilization and product development should be undertaken for sustainable development of the NWFP sector in Sri Lanka. This sector could be developed to form a major force in the poverty alleviation programme in Sri Lanka, specially in the rural sector.
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Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium, Sri Lanka. Published by Department of Forestry and Environmental Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura