Two different approaches, the resource value and production value, were used to value soil erosion and to undertake investment appraisal of soil conservation technologies in a village, Perawella, in the Hill Country of Sri Lanka. The production value of soil erosion is the market price of the loss in crop yields that results from erosion; it represents the cost of erosion to the farmer. The resource value costs the impact of erosion on the physical attributes of the soil, irrespective of their role in current productivity. It is calculated in terms of the cumulative depletion of soil nutrient content, valued at the market prices of artificial fertilisers. For Perawella, the value of erosion calculated using both approaches represents a major cost to farmers relative to the returns to crop production. Investment appraisal using the production and resource value is carried out for the main soil conservation technologies employed by smallholder farmers in Perawella. The results indicate that in most cases soil conservation measures are not economically viable. The farmers of Perawella have a positive attitude towards soil conservation but are unable to translate this into action. This is because the conservation technologies traditionally employed in the area are too labour intensive for them to adopt.
Clark, R.; Manthrithilake, H.; White, R.; Stocking, M. Economic valuation of soil erosion and conservation - A case study of Perawella, Sri Lanka. Presented at Ninth Conference of the International Soil Conservation Organisation, Bonn, Germany, 26-30 August 1996. (1996) 9 pp.