COMMUNITY BASED INNOVATIONS IN REFORESTING SRI LANKAS LANDSCAPE THE CONTEXT OF SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE
The recent emphasis on community-based innovations is strong and often points to the factthat such systems have been feasible over generations and have resulted in hundreds ofsp.uially varying agroforesrry systems, The conversion of land deforested land into aproduction systems which is rich in diversity both in terms of species composition andstructure is difficult, costly and not promising if it is to he done by external agencies. I'hispaper hrings out thc socio-cultural context within which indigenous systems have evolved.replicated and sustained over generations and across space. with reference to the examplesdrawn from the central highlands in particular. This paper focuses on the unique system ofthc 'Kandyan homcgarden' that has not only heen central to discussion in many forums hutha~ been recognised and merited as a community based system. which has created an 'oasisof hiodivcrsity' in thc landscape.
The example drawn from Sri Lanka show two important features of policy implications. Thefirst is related to the process. which intimately evolves from individual households. withtheir input. and then spread across creating community-based mosaics of forest m thelandscape. The community context. as explained in this paper emerges in the gcograptuc alspace in association with human habitation. social process. indigenous knowledge andpractices Ill' resources or management. The second feature is associated with the mechanism:the mechanism or learning and replication which symbolically present the essence ofcommunity innovations in reforesting the landscape and managing the resources forsustainable survival.
The strategic implications or the results arc many: they urge us to have a new paradigm \)1'forestry in Sri Lanka. where future requirements arc (0 be satisfied through a facrlitauonprocess. which will not deteriorate (he essence of 'community-based innovations'. A furtherneed here is to eliminate the using of local communities as instruments or vehicles toexecute the externally defined programmes. and promote community-based practices.