The objective for the development of Livelihood Center is to advance much necessary activity preparing and vocation improvement for the formation of basic family income in the region. (Ilo.org, 2019) The goal of this livelihood center in Sinharaja is to facilitate the forest based livelihoods and this will be an interactive place of villagers and visitors.
Location of Sinharaja rain forest
Sinharaja Forest is situated in the southwest of Sri Lanka at 60 21-26' N and 800 21- 34' E in the southern piece of the wet zone. It lies between the tributaries of the Kalu Ganga (in the North) and the Gin Ganga (in the South) and reaches out inside the regions of Galle, Matara and Ratnapura, in the Southern and Sabaragamuwa Provinces. This territory was pronounced as a forest reserve in 1875 and Biosphere Reserve in 1978. In this way it was proclaimed as a National Heritage Wilderness Region in 1988 and in the next year it was proclaimed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. (Worldheritageoutlook.iucn.org, 2019)
Forest Based Livelihood
There are 30 peripheral villages around sinharaja rain forest. 28 villages are located outside the reserved area. 10000 people live in those 30 villages. Kudawa forest village is the most developed village. Government provide several training programs to improve the living standards of villagers and avoid forest destruction by introducing alternative vocations. (ESCAMP, 2019)
Relationship with forest
The majority of people in these territories are not instructed and their fundamental economic activities reflect that. They mostly participate in tea estate work, toddy (kithul) tapping and getting non timber materials from the forest. One of the most essential items they get from the forest is medicinal plants. They additionally develop certain medicinal herbs in their home greenery enclosures. They have been utilizing medicinal plants over ages, for infections and injuries. The village doctor (GodaVeda Mahaththaya) is the person who does these treatments and by preparing different medicine from the parts of medicinal plants such as root, leaf, bark, fruit, flowers etc. A level of specialization can be noted among the village doctors. For example, the “Sarpa Veda Mahaththaya” is the pro specialist who treats snakebites with conventional drugs of plant. From all these we can reason that a cozy relationship has existed between medicinal plants and the community of this area.(Ft.lk, 2019)
Type of training programs
• Bee keeping training programs
• Tanning of mushroom cultivation
• Anthurium cultivation
• Forest species planting
• Resin tapping
• Homestead development
Problems regarding training programs
• Not successful as expected
• Those programs are not based on the villager’s needs hence are not accepted by them.
• Affect the traditional value of the villagers lives
Issues of lifestyle of villagers
• Through the intervention of government authorities the villagers are restricted in carrying out certain activities. (Entering the forest with any type of weapon or entering the forest unlawfully are considered as two different offenses)
• Danger in extinction of traditional life styles and ability of identifying medicinal plants from the society.
• The indigenous knowledge of the culture of those villages is only with the older generations.
The regulations introduced by the forest department has contributed to limit and reduce the connection between the villagers and the forest. Because of this reason the indigenous knowledge about forest based medicinal plants is threatened to be vanished forever.
Medicinal plants and the community
Indigenous knowledge about medicinal plants and the village community
One of the most valuable thing the villagers get from the forest is medicinal plants. And also they develop certain medicinal herbs in their home gardens. They have been utilizing medicinal plants over ages, for infections and injuries. The village doctor (GodaVeda Mahaththaya) is the person who does these treatments and by preparing different medicine from the parts of medicinal plants such as root, leaf, bark, fruit, flowers etc. A level of specialization can be noted among the village doctors. For example, the “Sarpa Veda Mahaththaya” is the specialist who treats to snakebites with the use of medicinal plants. From all these we can reason that a cozy relationship has existed between medicinal plants and the community of this area. . According to the reaches, it is proved that all the illnesses of the villagers had been cured by these medicinal plants. Even now the aged people of 60-90 years do not take any medicine from outside. They only use the medicinal plants grown in the forest or in their own home garden. (Anon, 2019)
Importance of conserve the indigenous knowledge about medicinal plants
Traditional plant usage custom may be a results of thousands of years of expertise. This experience has been passed right down to several generations primarily through verbal means. This mode of transfer this ingenious knowledge may end up in distortion or loss of native knowledge and usage custom of the plants. Traditional methods of the past are flirting with the present society. Some endemic medicinal plants are at a risk. Because the new generation does not know its value of those medicinal plants and the lack of knowledge about to identify those species, they damage those valuable medicinal species in the forests, buffer zone and home gardens. And the indigenous knowledge about medicinal plants has not been formally recognized in most countries. Consequently, education, training, and analysis during this space haven't been accorded due attention and support.
The most serious threat to existing information and follow on ancient medicinal plants embrace cultural modification, significantly the influence of modernization and lack of enthusiasm by the younger generations. Those who use ancient remedies might not perceive the scientific explanation behind their medicines. The regulations introduced by the forest department has contributed to limit and reduce the connection between the villagers and the forest. Because of this reason the indigenous knowledge about forest based medicinal plants is threatened to be vanished forever.
Theme of the center
Preserving and bestowing the indigenous knowledge of the older generations on native endemic medicinal plants of Sinharaja forest and the surrounding villages and their medicinal qualities, to their younger generation.
Significance to have this kind of center
Our ancestors worshiped environment as a god because they had strong connection with the nature. They knew the value of nature. We can see the strong bond between nature and the people in forest villages. They used natural resources to get good quality medicine, improve their spiritual knowledge etc. So they knew the value of nature and they protected it. According to the ancient records there were no illegal activities like cutting trees, gem mining, recorded within the forest monastery areas. People who maintain spiritual qualities and people who live with the nature always protect the nature. There were strong interrelationship between people and the nature. When considering the present situation of forest villages around sinharaja forest, it’s totally different. According to the villagers there were some people who had strong connection with the forest. There are some people who has good knowledge about the medicinal plants and they have traditional knowledge about to treat different deceases. From recently that relationship has been reduced because of their busy way of life and as a result of the development projects by the forest department, for example, Tea estate, creating on road system etc. So younger generation of those villages do some illegal activities like gem mining, cutting down trees etc. Because they don’t know the value of nature. The forest department try to protect the nature by introducing alternative job opportunities and alternative life style for them. Introducing alternative job opportunities and alternative life style is not the only solution to this problem. Because there are some old people who know the value of the nature and who always try to protect the forest. So the main focus of this center is to preserve the indigenous knowledge of the villagers about the medicinal plants and the traditional ways of living. Those who visits sinharaja, arrives there with the intention of exploring something. This center allows them to get educated about the food patter, medicine, and the connection between the food habits and the physical wellbeing maintained through that, by the local community. They are also allowed to experience these, at this center. As a result visitors perspective towards the nature will be changed and learn its importance and proper use of it. Therefore, through these strategies, people get educated and the nature is also protected at the same time.
Center and the community
• Educating the younger generations about the value of the medicinal plants.
• Educating people about the medicinal plants they can maintain at their home gardens.
• Making income through the trade of herbal products targeting the visitors.
• Reliving the knowledge of the villagers by wisdom sharing at the center and through that, uplifting there image, social status and mutual understanding between them and visitors.
Center and the visitors
• Briefing the visitors about the value of the medicinal plants in Sinharaja and traditional ways of treatments.
• Offering an experience of the local community life.
• Opportunity to taste the herbal products at local herbal cafe.
Center and the Forest department
• Making people understand about the value of the forest and the nature and they will protect the forest.
• As the local community maintain their own medicinal gardens they do not have to enter the forest looking for medicinal plants.
• Extraction of medicinal plants species from the forest will reduce.
Balance through Mutuality
There must be a balance between nature and the human. There must be balance with what the people gain from the nature and what they return to the nature. So this center provide them a palce to bestwing the knowled about medicinal plants and place to maintain their own medicinal garden. So they have to take care of this center. So the users will feel the interelationship between the human and the nature. So the success of this center depends on the balance and the relationship between the nature and the pepople.
Mutualism between Fungi and Algae - LICHEN
The fungi provides a habitat for the algae, maintaining a more stable of moisture and shielding from rain and solar radiation. Together, the fungal hyphae and the algae form a stable vegetation body. Lichen reproduce by releasing tiny fragments that can easily dispread by wind or water. The center does the same thing. It’s basically a wisdom sharing center where two generations get-together and share their knowledge. The visitor who came to the center will be educated about the medicinal value of the nature and the qualities of the nature and create mutual connection with the environment.
According to the site conditions the site is a flood prone site and there is no any kind of special plant species in the site. There are few shrubs. People dump their waste to the site. And the other thing is there are some building trashes, glass parts at the site because of the flood. So, site must be treated before the construction. According to the concept of the design, the main element of the design is roof garden. So the load will be high and the structure has to carries that load and transfer into the ground. . Fiber, concrete can be used for create roof gardens. Considering the cost, availability, maintenance and the lifespan of the building, concrete was selected as the structural material. But using concrete for construction may due to environmental impacts. It increase the carbon foot print of the building. The life span of the building is around 25-35 years. So the building was created by considering long term sustainability concept. Several years after the construction the building will became a constructed eco system. The roof garden plant absorb CO2 and release O2 to the environment. Several zones were created with several maintenance patterns in the roof garden. So it create habitat for different kinds of small birds, insects and other small species. The building is elevated above the flood level. So footprint of the building is low. The ground level also create habitat for different kind of species. The landscape create such a way to create habitat for different kinds of animals and birds.
The design concept is Balance through mutuality. So this environmental strategy also tally with the design concept. So the build environment has to imitate the natural process. So there are some aspect to consider and those aspects were consider in this design and use that strategy to create ecological design
Landscaped horizontally and vertically to increase the connectivity, Mobility, interaction and sharing resources with different kinds of species.
• Use recyclable material as much as possible
• The waste has to dispose in a proper manner or generate energy from the waste.
• Get maximum use of natural light and ventilation