Sri Lanka activists decry downgrade of non-protected “other” state forests

With a single notification, Sri Lankan authorities have recently transferred the guardianship of forests lying outside protected areas to local administrators, with a view to increasing the island’s food productivity.

The move effectively makes these “other forests” available for agricultural purposes. Falling outside the regular network of protected areas, they are known as “other state forests” (OSF) in Sri Lanka, and span a combined area the size of Long Island in New York.

Historically, these forests were administered by divisional secretariats, a regional-level administrative unit in Sri Lanka. But in light of the importance of these residual forests, their administration was in 2001 transferred to the protection of the Department of Forest Conservation directly.

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