Monday, June 25, 2018

The value of knowledge needed to conserve our forests and preserve it for posterity is something few have and is not added to.

In protecting our biodiversity, the forests under the jurisdiction of the Forest Department play a prominent role. However the resource that goes into the research to protect and promote this heritage, and understand the ecosystem is minimal and not appreciated. There are few graduating with this knowledge.

I was privileged to have the guidance of a professional in this field to explain some of the plant interdependencies in my visit over the weekend to the  Kanneliya Forest Reserve. If one does not understand the interdependencies it is easy to make grave mistakes that sometimes can never be reversed. I understand that there is little research that goes on now and few opportunities for people in this field to earn a living and so go into other fields, where their knowledge is lost forever, for future generations and for the future of learning.

I have earlier in my blogs, recommended a University of sorts, or a place of learning, for officers of the Wildlife Department and Forest Department, as the knowledge they need to carry out their jobs is unbelievably extensive, and not the step motherly treatment they presently get in looking at the suitability for those careers. Those who graduate will have a career awaiting them and this need will grow instead of diminish, when we determine the absolute necessity of this knowledge in the conservation of our environment as need increases.

It was a shock to me to learn politicization of recruitment to sensitive positions in the Forest Department, where ministers have put their supporters into professional jobs, for which they are unsuitable and incapable, and in this instance, once qualified and knowledgeable staff of the Forest Department retire, those who take over will have NO knowledge in the actual Botany of plant growth, regeneration and forest conservation and replenishment.

They are more interested in flash projects that involve construction and capital expenditure, with NO sensitivity to the environment and special requirements of the area. This is true across the board in the Public Service that has been politicized, where increasingly, professional people are sidelined, leading them to leave, the result is idiots running highly sensitive ecosystems, about which they know nothing about nor care about. Professionalism has been cast aside.

I plead with authorities, throw seniority aside, where fisherman, who don’t care for forests are appointed to positions of responsibility, in the Forest Department only for their paycheck, while disappearing to the oceans to take care of their personal business!

Let’s have a test of knowledge to weed the charlatans at once, and return the management of the BIODIVERSITY back to professionals. At least the top 10 positions should go to people who at least love their job, know how important the forests are for the future of the Country and engage in projects that regenerate and educate the young on its preservation and really take an interest in ensuring that what remains is sustainably managed for the future generations of our citizens.   


Anonymous said...

If the following have a professional base then there is a dignity and certification attached to these jobs like in other countries, without which they are unable to work in those fields.

This should apply to

Safari Jeep Drivers, Trackers, Tour Guides, Forest Officers at every level. DWC personnel in every level. The laborer position must be abolished, as it infers inferiority when in fact they are some of the most knowledgeable people, more than their superiors who have been appointed due to years of service and political influence who know nothing of the subject they are in charge of.

Office staff who don't have this should be paid much less, so the value of professional knowledge is stamped. Presently the knowledgeable are treated poorly, while the ignorant are compensated unfairly leading to a breakdown in authority and performance in every area.

Anonymous said...

you must be referring to the 2,500 people who were put into the Forest Department when there were no vacancies, by Mahinda Wijesekera, when he was minister of the environment. It was the worst thing that happened to this very noble Department, which never recovered.

They are all Matara fishermen who have no interest in forests, except for the pay check. Since that date, the Forest Department has gone down hill with these stupid people now coming up to the senior positions purely due to years of service.

The whole system of government service recruitment and seniority is bad for performance as no one with ability is promoted soon to shake up the system and get it to where it should, unlike in many companies of the private sector

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

On my visit to Kanneliya Forest- there are 30+ guides, male & female, who live around the forest reserve who take the visitors around the nature trails. They have a fair knowledge of the place and explain certain aspects of the growth of the forests and endemic trees etc. It is obvious they have been given instructions in this area, but they could improve their knowledge further if they had the chance.

However the Forest Department senior staff who should know better are in fact not at all interested in the subject matter they are in charge of, they just act like typical government servants, doing as little as possible to get along.

They are more on the administrative, rather than in matters of education on the preservation of and enhancement of the knowledge of the visitor.

Funds are supposed to be set aside for carpeting of the road to the summer hut inside. That is completely unnecessary as it may destroy the delicate ecosystem there. I suppose they don't have any knowledgeable people to intervene and make a case against that, and instead spend this on enhancing the visitor experience. ( I suppose they want the visitor to go and pollute the road in comfort by vehicle rather than walk. What would that do to the people who enjoy the walk and come there to get away from the fumes and polluted environment?

I don't know what is going on. People seem to put personal rather than common amenities at the forefront.

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

A govt. in a civilized society is supposed to safeguard the Country from external threats, and to ensure its citizens have the basics in education, healthcare and transport while at the same time ensuring good air quality, potable drinking water for all citizens, and safe food to eat.

By mocking this environment, and not providing the needed resources into the environment, to protect it from the ravages of pollution, the SL government has reneged on its basic responsibilities.

It is the sole responsibility of the State to take care of its environment, and give it the necessary resources to do so. In short they are not giving it the professionalism that is needed.

Does anyone who runs this country not realize they are not providing the basics for survival in Sri Lanka? Do they want all the people to die in a year or two because of this lacadasical attitude?

Anonymous said...

Rajaratarala, the country needs you and your guidance. Why are the country's leaders so shortsighted and distant when the country is falling apart at every corner?? This could really be a great country, but for those that are managing it into the ground