REDD+ Readiness Implications for Sri Lanka in Terms of Reducing Deforestation

REDD+ Readiness Implications for Sri Lanka in Terms of Reducing Deforestation


This study constructs a historical reference level of emissions from deforestation in Sri Lanka using available forest inventory data and in situ carbon density data. It also attempts to identify drivers of deforestation in Sri Lanka and to estimate the opportunity cost and possible climate benefits of forest conservation.

Research Goals & Methods

In 2008-2009, above-ground biomass was estimated for each tree in 193 single sample plots located in lowland rainforests (96), sub-montane forests (10), montane forests (24), moist monsoon forests (10), dry monsoon forests (16), and open and sparse forests (36). In each 0.09 ha plot ( 30x30m), diameter at breast height (>3 cm), tree height, and species information were recorded for each tree. Since no allometric relationships could be found for the Sri Lankan context, the authors used two allometric models (Winrock and Luckman) developed for tropical forests and a modified tree volume formula to account for tree shape and wood density.

Conclusions & Takeaways

The authors estimated that baseline deforestation emissions in Sri Lanka amounted to 17 MtCO2 yr-between 1992and 1996 and that the majority of forest clearing (87%) is due to small-scale, rainfed farming, followed by rice and tea cultivation. In terms of opportunity costs, the authors concluded that Sri Lankan revenues from REDD+ participation could be substantial, but they are sensitive to policy transaction costs, highly uncertain timber revenues, and the carbon price which needs to be higher than $5e10/tCO2 to incentivize participation.




Mattsson E, U. Persson M, Ostwald M, Nissanka SP. REDD$\mathplus$ readiness implications for Sri Lanka in terms of reducing deforestation. Journal of Environmental Management. 2012;100:29–40. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.01.018.


  • Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, Göteborg, Sweden
  • Gothenburg Centre of Globalization & Development, Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden
  • Division of Physical Resource Theory, Department of Energy and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden
  • Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden
  • Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka