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The use of Mee tree (Madhuca longifolia) in paddy cultivation by ancient Sri Lankans
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  • Sajith Edirisinghe,
  • Movini Devmini,
  • Dulmini de silva,
  • Shanaka Pathmaperuma,
  • Gamini Ranasinghe
Sajith Edirisinghe
University of Sri Jayewardenepura Faculty of Medical Sciences
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Movini Devmini
University of Sri Jayewardenepura Faculty of Medical Sciences
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Dulmini de silva
University of Sri Jayewardenepura Faculty of Medical Sciences
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Shanaka Pathmaperuma
University of Sri Jayewardenepura Faculty of Medical Sciences
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Gamini Ranasinghe
University of Sri Jayewardenepura
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Abstract

Agriculture has long been regarded as the backbone of Sri Lanka, contributing to its’ economy for over thousands of years. However, with recent technological advancements many of the indigenous practices with regard to cultivation have been neglected or forgotten. The use of toxic chemicals in agricultural practices has led to a host of deleterious effects on humans as well as the environment. This paper looks into how ancient Sri Lankans utilized a native tree, Madhuca longifolia (Mee), in paddy cultivation for various purposes including the prevention of soil erosion, water conservation, soil enrichment and pest control measures. Although our ancestors lacked the scientific knowledge to justify their practice, the basis for these are now understood in the scientific community. Therefore, a return to these practices may be worthwhile in terms of their beneficial influence on agriculture, environment and human health and wellbeing. Keywords: Agriculture; Pest control; Soil erosion; Conservation of natural resources