Coastal green belt in Batticaloa district, Sri Lanka: Is Casuarina a success?  

T. Mathiventhan , T. Jayasingam
Department of Botany, Faculty of science, Eastern University, Chenkalady, Sri Lanka
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Marine Science, 2014, Vol. 4, No. 55   doi: 10.5376/ijms.2014.04.0055
Received: 26 May, 2014    Accepted: 13 Jul., 2014    Published: 11 Oct., 2014
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Preferred citation for this article:

Mathiventhan and Jayasingam, 2014, Coastal green belt in Batticaloa district, Sri Lanka: Is Casuarina a success?, International Journal of Marine Science, Vol.4, No.55 1-5 (doi: 10.5376/ijms.2014.04.0055)

Abstract

Coastal barriers are established for protection. Casuarina, a fire prone species, has been popular in Batticaloa district, Sri Lanka, planted as coastal barrier (belt), especially after the tsunami in 2004. The overall extent of Casuarina plantation is about 400 ha, as monoculture. About 52% of belt was established after the tsunami. About 40-50 km of Casuarina belt has been established in the 65 km of the coast line from Periyakallar to Kalkudah/Pasikudah which accounts for 35-40% of the coastline of Batticaloa district. Casuarina plantation starts at 50-75m from mean high tide. The distance between patches varies from 50-400 m. A density of 1600 to 3000 plants/ha has been maintained. Field evaluation showed only 50-60% of Casuarina has been succeeded; 40-50% shown poor growth or damaged/disturbed owing to many reasons such as illegal activities, less awareness, financial and management problems. Casuarina does not permit ground growth, resulted in low bio-diversity. However, the belt protects vegetable crops from salt spray and “burning” of leaves. This plantation has other social aspects to consider beyond the protection such as sand mining, garbage dumping, etc. When assessing both positive and negative aspects of Casuarina plantation in Batticaloa, failures are more in socio-ecological point of view, even though Casuarina physically developed in a reasonable manner.

Keywords
Casuarina; Coastal green belt; Scientific planning
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