Herath Vidyaratne

B.Sc., M.Sc., M.A.

PhD student NUI Galway


Herath Vidyaratne holds a B.Sc. in bio-sciences from the University of Peradeniya, an M.Sc. in forestry from University of Sri University of Sri Jayewardenepura, and an M.A degree in economics from University of Colombo, all in Sri Lanka. He worked in the Central Environmental Authority and in the Ministry of Environment in Sri Lanka until 2005 and then as a visiting lecturer for undergraduate and postgraduate courses there. He has received a number of international scholarships for postgraduate coursework in environmental economics i.e., from the Economy and Environmental Program for South East Asia (EEPSEA) and the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE). He undertook PhD coursework in environmental policy and resources economics in 2008 via Swedish government scholarships and environmental valuation coursework in 2009 offered by University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Herath’s PhD research at NUI Galway is funded under the Teasgasc Walsh PhD fellowship scheme.

Valuation of afforested lands in Ireland

This thesis focuses on valuation of afforested lands in Ireland. First, it examines Irish farmers’ decisions on whether or not to plant trees on their private agriculture lands and the percentage of land planted. Results indicate that socioeconomic characteristics of landowners, including their off-farm income, educational attainment, knowledge of subsidised benefits of plantation, age, and the importance of land irreversibility (i.e., the ability to reclaim land subsequent to their plantation decision) all contribute significantly towards the decision to plant and the amount of land planted.

Secondly, I examine landowners’ risk perceptions of expected subsidies from forest benefits. Expectations are critical to farmers in their decision to plant trees. Observed risk perceptions important to the plantation decision include individual-level risks, the probability of forest fire, storm and wind damages, public liability resulting from these, and employer liability and replanting costs. Shifting timber prices, firewood prices, and annual forest premium were estimated and included in the analyses.

Thirdly, the current total welfare of three Irish forest parks (in county Galway) Renville, Moyode wood and Kilannin are estimated using unit value transfers. Finally, meta-analyses of studies investigating forest recreation demand in Scandinavia, Northern Ireland, and in the Republic of Ireland were also carried out.

Keywords Forest economics, environmental valuation


PhD research funding

  • Teagasc Walsh PhD fellowship

Head of Economics

Prof Alan Ahearne

Contact Economics

t:+353 91 492501/492177

e: economics@nuigalway.ie