CONSUMERISM OF ENVIRONMENTAL GOODS IN SRI LANKA FLORA-BASED ECO-SYSTEM VERSUS FAUNA-BASED ECO-SYSTEMS
Mass consumerism. which is inter-linked with development. modernization. and rapidpopulation growth has induced recreation which has already taken a heavy loll on theecological environment in Sri Lanka. In particular. increasing demand for nature-basedrecreation has generated a competition between fauna-based reserves and flora-basedreserves. Growing admiration of bio-diversity throughout the world has created a higherdemand for flora-based recreation. which is a shift from the traditional recreation demand.dominated by fauna. Environmentalists strongly canvass that the existing forest and wildlifereserves he strictly preserved for bio-diversity conservation. Conservation yields use andnon-use benefits. However direct benefits from conservation of forest reserves arcconsidered non significant. Economic justification of conservation of forest reserves needoptimization of direct-use benefits. Hence, raison d'etre to promote recreational use ofexisting forest reserves as a strategy to increase direct- use benefits of conservation.
References did not show a study that aucrnptcd to reveal, wholly or partly the consumerpreferences for recreational benefits of the natural eco-systems in Sri Lanka .. The primaryobjective of this study was to identify the actual recreational demand generated hy differenttypes of eco-systems in Sri Lanka. Initially, estimates of the visitation (recreational) demandfor two markedly different hie-ecological regions were obtained. The two systemsinvestigated are the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Yala Wildlife Sanctuary. This strategyenables estimating and comparing the consumer surpluses of the visitors of the two sites.Further, the study also analyses the relationship between socio-economic characteristics ofthe visitors and the visitation rate for each eco-system,
The analysis utilizes the Trip Generating Function (TGF) using zonal travel cost model, firstemployed by Wood et (II (195S) and later developed by others. Linear form and the semi-logform of the multiple regression model were used to estimate the demand parameters of theTGF. Results revealed that the linear form is more appropriate than the semi-long form inusing the zonal method.
Signi Iicant differences between visitors to the two eco-systems are observed. The rate ofvisitation is considerably influenced by the socio-economic characteristics of the people.The adoption of the same method to derive ceo-tourism values of the two sites (Sinharajaand Yalaj enhances the potential for comparability between the two sites. The usefulness oftravel cost method in estimating recreation benefits and the possibility of including thosercalixcd values in extended cost-benefit analysis is crnphasiscd.