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Valuing the Cultural Landscapes Past and Present: Tea Plantations in Sri Lanka

Author

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  • Chandana Shrinath Wijetunga
  • Jong Sang Sung

Abstract

The study focuses on tea plantation cultural landscapes in Sri Lanka and its historical formation, present issues and future considerations. [Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon before 1972. At present, the country uses Sri Lanka for all related documents.] According to the research, the tea estate is identified as the main building unit of tea heritage. This paper reveals the historical formation of tea heritage and its contribution to the existing landscape. This study focuses on the Nuwara Eliya region, as it is the main area for tea cultivation. The present condition of tea plantations in Sri Lanka is derived through a survey conducted in Labookellie estate, Blue Field estate and Pedro estate. Past and the present circumstances are examined through analysis of literature, topographical maps and site observations, while interviews with outsiders (foreign visitors) were used to strengthen the thoughts on tea plantation landscapes. This paper reveals basic concepts such as agriculture as a heritage, active agriculture and value added through future conservation and development procedure. The paper first discusses the formation of tea estates and governing factors. Second, the paper explains estate settlement as the main building block of tea heritage with researched case studies and explains existing landscape values. Third, the paper explains future thoughts on the tea plantation landscapes in Sri Lanka. Opinions of foreign visitors to the plantation are considered as a valuable contribution to the conclusions. The paper stresses the importance of understanding tea estate cultural landscapes and their heritage value for future planning and the conservation priorities in Sri Lanka .

Suggested Citation

  • Chandana Shrinath Wijetunga & Jong Sang Sung, 2015. "Valuing the Cultural Landscapes Past and Present: Tea Plantations in Sri Lanka," Landscape Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(6), pages 668-683, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:clarxx:v:40:y:2015:i:6:p:668-683
    DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2015.1057803
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