Down to Earth - - SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY -

Plant­ing pine in de­graded ar­eas and al­low­ing eco­log­i­cal pro­cesses to take over is not just an ef­fec­tive way of restor­ing na­tive tree species, it can be mon­e­tar­ily ben­e­fi­cial as well. Econo - mi­cally im­por­tant na­tive species of Sri Lanka ( such as Diospy­ros quae­sita, a type of ebony, and Peri­cop­sis moo­ni­ana) can be planted for tim­ber re­quire­ments. Cary­ota urens or the su­gar palm, a non- tim­ber for­est pro- duce with high eco­nomic value can be an­other op­tion. Vines like pep­per and lianas that have medic­i­nal value can also in­crease eco­nomic re­turns from pine plan­ta­tions.

Us­ing data on the growth rates of species and mar­ket sur­veys, the au­thors com­pared mon­e­tary re­turns of­fered by pine restora­tion with that of tea cul­ti­va­tion. Re­sults showed that over a 60 year pe­riod, planned cul­ti­va­tion un­der pine can be 1.5 times more ben­e­fi­cial than tea plan­ta­tions.

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