First Advisor

Veronica Dujon

Date of Publication

Summer 9-24-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Sociology






Natural resources -- Sri Lanka -- Management, Women in natural resources management -- Sri Lanka, Women in conservation of natural resources -- Sri Lanka, Ecofeminism -- Sri Lanka, Elephants -- Sri Lanka, Human-animal relationships -- Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka -- Social conditions



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 175 pages)


This study is a gendered analysis of natural resource management at the local scale of a poor rural Sri Lankan village in a conservation buffer zone. This village experiences destruction of forests and human elephant conflict. The objective of this study is to gain an in-depth knowledge of residents' use and understandings of environmental resources, and to investigate if gender helps shape these factors. This study relies on a social sustainability conceptual framework. It tracks participation of local women and men in natural resource management, and in conservation within and outside of the Bibile community. Local nongovernmental organizations focus on mitigating human elephant conflict and government policies influence particular farming practices. Unless socially and environmentally sustainable practices are developed, areas within and outside of the protected areas are not sustainable in their current state (Jayewardene 1998). Current interventions are failing to solve this problem in both rural communities and natural ecosystems, demonstrated most clearly by shrinking forest habitats and the frequency of human and elephant deaths (Bandara 2009). By broadening the analysis of natural resource management to examine possible social, economic, and political influences, my research examines how different resource management approaches might be filtered and reflected by variation in local residents' use and understanding of environmental resources. I suggest that gender, household decision-making, and equality are overlooked but potentially important aspects in the perception and implementation of natural resource management.


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