Analog forestry was developed by a group of scientists and researchers led by Dr. Ranil Senanayake in 1980  at the Belipola Arboretum, Bandarawela located in the central foot hills of Sri Lanka.

During the 1980's approaches to reforestation both in Sri Lanka and around the world were primarily influenced by methodologies sourced from industrial forestry of the time. Emphasis on growth and production were the main drivers of this industrial model, this meant that finer aspects of forestry that are important in the context of rural communities, reliant upon Non-Timber Forest Products(NTFP's) and biodiversity habitat enhancement were not considered. Exotic Eucalyptus, Pinus and Alstonia species were used by the Forest authorities to meet local demand for bio- mass. However these species proved to be detrimental to the native watersheds with many small catchments drying up and erosion and degradation impacting local systems.

Analog forestry was conceptualized at this time to meet the challenges brought about by conventional thinking to forestry. The main principle of Analog forestry is to work on bringing the natural vs. anthropogenic needs back to harmony.

This objective was reached through design approaches to reforestation which have been influenced by natural systems. As indicated in the schematic below Analog Forestry is guided and influenced by the structure and function of the natural forest.

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Forests for the future a study of rainforest conservation in Sri Lanka