Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Natural resources and Development in the Northern Province

0 63

Natural resources and Development in the Northern Province

The Northern Province is rich in natural resources in its extensive coastal area, in its dense forests and its mineral deposits. Forests resources are largely intact despite many decades of conflict and form a considerable percentage of the total forest cover in the country. From extensive sand dunes in Jaffna peninsula, to quarry metal and clay for bricks the Province is especially rich in mineral resources needed for construction. The land is generally flat and undulating with no significant elevation, however the highly diverse coastal belt more than compensates. Lagoons, bays, salt flats, wetlands, coral reefs, islands and islets, and estuaries are some of the prominent coastal features that
are important both ecologically and economically.
Water Resources
The Northern Province does not have a single perennial river, and very limited seasonal streams and rivers. Traditional water storage was through built irrigation tanks. The area belongs to the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka with low annual rainfall. The ground water surveys done prior to the conflict indicate that intensive agriculture, especially paddy, cannot be supported without adequate replenishment of surface water storage. Water scarcity is a main constraint in many parts of the province, even for drinking and domestic use.

The major tank cascade systems and existing major irrigation schemes (Iranamadu, Giant’s Tank, Pavakkulam, Kalmadu) should be closely examined to determine the productive capacity of agriculture and irrigation, plus quality of drinking water available in the northern districts.

Marine and Coastal

With 40% of the country’s coastline, the province has immense potential for fisheries, aquaculture and tourism. While the existing marine and lagoon-based fishery industry need to be modernized and reequipped to enable the population to benefit from the rich and under tapped fishing grounds, new aquaculture-based industries could be established to elevate productivity and offer more livelihood options for young people. The main fishery areas are in Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Mannar Districts.
For this purpose the fishery potential, looming threats and important conservation areas (such as sea grass beds and coral reefs) should be surveyed and mapped so that exploitation of the resource is done within the limits of sustainability with adequate emphasis on conservation and protection for future use.

Mineral Resources

One of the greatest issues of current importance is construction materials. Out of the construction materials required sand and quarry metal are considerably available in the Province. In addition the province has limestone deposits, clay for bricks and tiles and beach mineral sand. Some scientific option of possible oil deposit off the Gulf of Mannar has not been fully explored yet. A survey of the quantity and quality of building materials available in the north and their extraction capacity is necessary because of the huge demand brought on by reconstruction and development projects that involve large-scale construction.

Forests and Wildlife

The North has by far the most extent of dry monsoon forests in any province. The forest cover has remained intact largely despite the conflict and due to lack of development of the province. Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Mannar districts are extensively forested, while Vavuniya is partially in forest. Jaffna has no significant forest areas.
The important wildlife areas (already gazetted) are Wilpattu north, Madhu road, Giant’s Tank, Chundikulam and Kokilai. But this does not take in to consideration newn biodiversity hotspots and other ecologically important areas (river catchments, salt marshes, lagoons and estuaries, islands, arid zones of Mannaretc).The forest and wildlife reproduce is important as an economic resource for forest products (non –timber) and tourism.

History and Culture

There are many areas in Jaffna and Mannar of exceptional archaeological value. These include ancient temples and sites mentioned in chronicles, sites of pre-historic significance and old churches and temples of high cultural value to the northern people. Many of these sites have been recorded in documentation of the Archaeological Department, but there could be many that are unrecorded and undiscovered. The value addition prospects to local tourism is immense, especially sites such as
Thiruketheeswaram (Mannar), Nallur (Jaffna) Nagatheepam (Jaffna) and MadhuChurch (Mannar).

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.