Amarawewa Forest clearing for biofuel, Sri Lanka

Landmark victory by Sri Lanka's environmentalists! After the mobilization by local environmental organizations the Supreme Court stated to stop a Gliricidia plantation for bio-fuel production set in a National Park which was hurting the local environment.


<div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Description</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld"></td><td class="columns"> United Dendro Energy (UDE), a subsidiary of Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC), planned a project in an area contiguous with Ruhunu National Park, clearing scrub forest to grow Gliricidia as fuel wood for Dendro power generation. The project had commenced without approval processes set forth in the National Environmental Act, and a large extent of forest land was cleared.  The plantation was set in Amarawewa which is an important Buffer Zone to the protected areas of the Ruhuna National Park, reducing the impact of humans on the area as well as the interference of wildlife on the developed areas sat along the border of the Park. Specifically, the area is inhabited by elephants, bears, leopards and numerous smaller creatures. Moreover, it is also the center of  biophysical activities that are of importance to both humans and wild creatures alike. It is an area where a large number of farmers practice their traditional chena (shifting) cultivations, and keep their free-ranging livestock. Furthermore, it acts as a catchment area for a number of seasonal tanks.  The project caused extensive damages as the site was being cleared by heavy machinery and earth moving equipment for planting Gliricidia for Dendro Power. Dendro Power refers to the generation of electricity from biomass. Following Environmental Foundation Limited (EFL), a local EJO, Dendro power production should be supplied without any interference and destruction to natural processes and habitats, using wood that is produced as multi-crop in home gardens, as undergrowth in coconut plantations or as shade trees on tea estates. Glyricidia is considered an ideal wood for such a scheme because it can be easily grown and does not interfere with food production or destruction of natural forests. Therefore, destroying forest habitat for a mono-crop plantation is entirely against sustainable Dendro power production principles. Investigations carried out by EFL revealed that the setting of the plantation was based on an agreement now found by the courts to be unlawful. The Forest Department, which is the institution in charge of protecting the area, made a tripartite agreement with UDE and a farmer association called the Magampura Cattle Owned Farmers Association according to which 1500ha were to be developed as pasture land. However, this is illegal because the annual permit granted to the Magampura Cattle Owned Farmers Association only allowed for 500ha. Along with the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) and Wilderness and Protected Areas Foundation (WPAF) the EFL filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court, claiming that the project violated the National Environment Act (NEA), the Forest Ordinance (FO) and the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance (FFPO). The Court declared that the tripartite agreement was unlawful therefore null and void. The parties to the case reached an agreement for a conditional settlement with UDE dissolving as a company and LOLC ceasing all activities of the project and Forest Department undertaking to not alienate any part of the Amerawewa grazing land unlawfully. In August 2015, UDE agreed to settle the case by abandoning the project and also removing the Gliricidia that had been cultivated. The settlement was filed by consent motion in Supreme Court. The agreement further states that the area should not be released for a similar project in the future. [1][2][3] </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Basic Data</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Name</td><td>Amarawewa Forest clearing for biofuel, Sri Lanka</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Country</td><td><a href="/country/sri-lanka">Sri Lanka</a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Province</td><td>Southern Province</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Site</td><td>Amarawewa</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Accuracy of Location</td><td>HIGH local level</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Source of Conflict</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (1st level)</td><td>Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Conflict (2nd level)</td><td>Deforestation<br /> Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Specific Commodities</td><td><a href='/commodity/timber'>Timber</a><br />Gliricidia</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Project Details and Actors</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Details</td><td class="columns"> 1MW Plant requires approximately 1,000 hectares of plantation to be sustained [2]</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Project Area (in hectares)</td><td>1,500 [3]</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Type of Population</td><td>Rural</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Start Date</td><td>31/07/2012</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">End Date</td><td>30/08/2015</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Company Names or State Enterprises</td><td><a href='/company/united-dendro-energy-pvt-ltd'>United Dendro Energy (Pvt) Ltd <small>(UDE)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/sri-lanka'><small>Sri Lanka</small></a><br /><a href='/company/lanka-orix-leasing-company-ltd'> Lanka Orix Leasing Company Ltd <small>(LOLC)</small></a> from <a href='/country-of-company/sri-lanka'><small>Sri Lanka</small></a></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Relevant government actors</td><td>Forest department</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Environmental justice organisations and other supporters</td><td>Environmental Foundation Limited http://efl.lk/<br/><br/>Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) http://www.wnpssl.org/<br/><br/>Protected Areas Foundation (WPAF)</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">The Conflict and the Mobilization</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)</td><td>LOW (some local organising)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">When did the mobilization begin</td><td>In REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Groups Mobilizing</td><td>Local ejos</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Forms of Mobilization</td><td>Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Impacts</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Environmental Impacts</td><td><strong>Visible: </strong>Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover<br /><strong>Potential: </strong>Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Socio-economic Impacts</td><td><strong>Potential: </strong>Loss of landscape/sense of place</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other</td><td>Possible increase in human-elephant conflict </td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Outcome</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Project Status</td><td>Stopped</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Pathways for conflict outcome / response</td><td>Court decision (victory for environmental justice)<br /> Project cancelled</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Development of Alternatives</td><td>EFL point to bio-fuel obtained without any interference and destruction to natural processes and habitats. Dendro Power should be supplied using wood that is produced as multi-crop in home gardens, as undergrowth in coconut plantations or as shade trees on tea estates instead by wood produced in mono-culture plantations</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Do you consider this as a success?</td><td>Yes</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Why? Explain briefly.</td><td>The Court declared the tripartite agreement null and void and the project was halted. Furthermore it was a landmark case that led to many other companies obtaining approval before clearing forest land.</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Sources and Materials</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Legislations</td><td><table><tr><td><p> Forest Ordinance (FO)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://faolex.fao.org/docs/pdf/srl102123.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance (FFPO)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.commonlii.org/lk/legis/consol_act/fafp567290.pdf" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> National Environmental Act (NEA) and its Amendments<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.cea.lk/web/index.php/en/acts-regulations" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Links</td><td><table><tr><td><p> [1] Online report, 'Amarawewa Forest Clearing' by Environmental Foundation Limited. 2015 (Accessed 30/10/2016)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://efl.lk/portfolio-posts/6847/" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [2] Online news paper article, The Island, 'AMARAWEWA: Leasing away our Natural Heritage' by Rohan Wijesinha. 3rd November 2012 (Accessed 30/10/2016)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=65251" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p> [3] Online news paper article, The Sunday Times, 'Green groups celebrate rare win against commerce' by Malaka Rodrigo. 15th November 2015 (Accessed 30/10/2016)<br/><a class="refanch small" href="http://www.sundaytimes.lk/151115/news/green-groups-celebrate-rare-win-against-commerce-171701.html" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Other Documents</td><td><table><tr><td><p><strong>Amarawewa Forest Clearing. Source: Environmental Foundation Limited website </strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Amarawewa-Forest-Clearing_EFL-1.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr><tr><td><p><strong>The land being cleared in Amarawewa. Source: The Sunday Times, 'Green groups celebrate rare win against commerce' by Malaka Rodrigo</strong> <br/><a class="refanch small" href="https://file.ejatlas.org/docs/Clearing-of-Forest-in-Amerawewa-2-300x149.jpg" target="_blank">[click to view]</a></p></td></tr></table></td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><div class="horipane"><div class="title active">Meta Information</div><div class="content"><table class="table"><tbody><tr><td class="fld">Contributor</td><td>Environmental Foundation Limited and EJAtlas collaborator Paola Camisani</td></tr><tr><td class="fld">Last update</td><td>05/12/2016</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div>
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