Analyzing Negotiation Approaches in Natural Resource Management: a Case Study of Crop-Livestock Conflicts in Sri Lanka


This case study on conflicts between crop farmers and livestock keepers was conducted in Hambantota in the South of Sri Lanka where land use is characterized by three co-existing systems: 1. intensive irrigated paddy cultivation, 2. slash and burn agriculture on non-irritaged land, and the keeping of large herds of cattle or buffalo in an extensive pastoral system. It is important to note that the majority of the households in this case study use use land for slash and burn agriculture, while livestock keeping is concentrated in comoparatively few wealthy families.


The region has been changing and the driving forces for these changes include increasing population density, and a reduction in fallow periods and overstocking which has led to soil degradation. These changes have created opporunities to adopt more sustanable cultivation practices, however free-range cattle grazing is a major barrier to adopting these practices. This study focuses on the negotiation process based on empirical data collected in Hambantota District 1994, 1995, and 1998 including a survey of livestock keeping households, participant observation, interviews with crop farmers, interviews with village headmen, and interviews with representatives of local farmer and livestok keepers.

Related Methods

Interviews are a method of eliciting answers to predetermined questions from one individual at a time. This method is used for gathering specific pieces of data for information analysis.
Observation is an information-gathering technique based on personal or recorded observation through systematic documentation of visible social activity and behavior.