Sinharaja World Heritage Forest

Sinharaja World Heritage Forest

Sinharaja is a forest in south-west wet zone of Sri Lanka which contians a high Bio diversity. A large proportion of flora and fauna in this forest is endemic to the country and some endemic to the Singharaja Forest itself. This is a very good place to see many endemic birds such as Ceylon Lorikeet, Layard’s parakeet, Jungle and Spur Fowl, Ceylon Wood Pigeon, Grey Hombill, Spotted wing Thrush, Rufous and Brown- capped Babbler, Ashy-headed Laughing Thrush, Ceylon Blue Magpie, White Headed Starling, Ceylon Hill Mynha, Legge’s Flowerpecker. The clear cut roads in to the jungle provide easy access to the forest. This important forest is a Man and Biosphere Forest reserve and it is considered as a World Heritage Site.


Blue MagpieFauna Endemism is high, particularly for birds with 19 (95%) of 20 species endemic to Sri Lanka present. Endemism among mammals and butterflies is also greater than 50%.
Threatened mammals are leopard Panthera pardus and Indian elephant Elephas maximus (E). The endemic purple-faced langur Presbytis senex is present. Birds considered to be endangered or rare (Hoffmann, 1984) are Sri Lanka wood pigeon Columba torringtoni, green-billed coucal Centropus chlororhynchus, Sri Lanka white-headed starling Sturnus senex, Sri Lanka blue magpie Cissa ornata, and ashy-headed babbler Garrulax cinereifrons, all of which are endemic, and red-faced malkoha Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus. Of interest is the presence of Sri Lanka broad-billed roller Eurystomus orientalis irisi (I), sightings of which have decreased markedly in the last five years (Zoysa and Raheem, 1987). Of the reptiles and amphibia, python Python molurus is vulnerable and a number of endemic species are likely to be threatened. Noteworthy species include Calotes liolepis, the rarest of all Agamids on the island, the rare rough-nose horned lizard Ceratophora aspera, restricted to part of Sri Lanka’s wet zone, and Ramella palmata, a rare endemic microhylid (Zoysa and Raheem, 1987). Threatened freshwater fish are combtail Belontia signata (R), smooth-breasted snakehead Channa orientalis (R), black ruby barb Barbus nigrofasciatus (V), cherry barb Barbus titeya (V) and red-tail goby Sicydium halei (V), the conservation status of which is considered in Evans (1981). Of the 21 species of endemic butterfly, Sri Lanka rose Atrophaneura jophon is vulnerable (Collins and Morris, 1985). Sri Lankan five-bar sword Graphium antiphates ceylonicus, which is considered to be very rare, is not uncommon in Sinharaja at certain times of the year (J.N. Banks, pers. comm., 1986). Zoysa and Raheem (1987) comprehensively summarise what is known about the fauna.

An early account of the fauna is given by Baker (1937). Preliminary lists of the fauna (viz. mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and butterflies) have been compiled (March for Conservation, 1985) and are included in the draft conservation plan (ForestDepartment, 1985).


Sinharaja World Heritage ForestTwo main types of forest can be recognised. Remnants of Dipterocarpus forest occur in valleys and on their lower slopes, with hora D. zeylanicus and bu hora D. hispidus present in almost pure stands. Secondary forest and scrub occur where the original forest cover has been removed by shifting cultivation and in other places the forest has been replaced by rubber and tea plantations (Rosayro, 1954). Mesua-Doona (Shorea) forest, the climax vegetation over most of the reserve, covers the middle and upper slopes above 500m (Rosayro, 1942) or above 335m as suggested by Gunatilleke and Gunatilleke (1985). Garcinia hermonii followed by Xylopia championii invariably dominate the understorey tree stratum, a range of species dominate the subcanopy and na Mesua nagassarium usually predominates in the canopy layer (Gunatilleke and Gunatilleke, 1985). Details about the structure and composition of the vegetation are summarised by Zoysa and Raheem (1987).

Read More

Ecotourism in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the 25 Biodiversity hot spots of the world. The country
has the highest Biodiversity per 10,000 square km in Asia. Fifteen (15)
distinct bio regions in an area of 62,500 square km each offering different
landscapes and wildlife opportunities – with an ancient civilization contemporary
to that of the Greeks and Romans and numerous cultural sites of antiquity,
including six world heritage sites – Sri Lanka has an exotic and vibrant
resource base of Ecotourism.

Sinharaja world heritage forest

Sinharaja World Heritage Forest Sinharaja world heritage Forest is a
unique rain forest on the island which apart from very limited use by local people has been left largely undisturbed.

Biodiversity of the forest is very high, a staggering 830 of Sri Lanka’s endemic species of flora and fauna are found here, including myriad birds, reptiles and insects, while no less than sixty percent of the reserve’s trees are also
endemic to the country and some endemic to the Sinharaja Forest itself.

There are two entrances to the forest. Most popular one is
on the north side of the forest at Kudawa (see Sinharaja
trail map
), and the other one is at Mederipitiya about 11km east of Deniyaya.

Wild Life Sanctuaries and National Parks

ElephantsSri Lanka’s contains about 24 wildlife reserves, these are home to a
wide range of native species such as elephants, leopard, sloth bear, the unique small loris, a verity of deer, the purple faced leaf monkey, the endangered wild boar, porcupines and ant-eaters. Reptiles include vipers and marsh and estuarine crocodiles. Among many amphibians endemic to the country are the Nanophyrys frogs in the hills. Most of the fish are river or marsh dwelling- the trout, introduced by the British are found in the cool streams of the Horton plains.

All wildlife reserves are for the protection of wildlife and plants though
the categories differ. There are few “Strict Nature Reserves” (Ritigala,
), which are set aside for research work only. “National
Parks” managed by Department of wildlife conservation are open to visitation.
The largest National Parks are Ruhuna-Yala, Gal-oya, Uda Walawe,
Wilpattu, Minneriya-Girithale, Horton Plains and Wasgomuwa.
Reserves” provide suitable habitats for wildlife by allow limited human
activity, while “Sanctuaries” allow human activities (eg. Khalle
Pallekele Sanctuary).

Forests managed by Forest department also attract ecotourists. These forests
include Sinharaja world heritage site (which is also man
and biosphere site), Kithulgala Forest Reserve, Knuckles forest
and the highland peak wilderness and Adams

Bird Sanctuaries

Bundala birdsSri Lanka also an ornithologist’s paradise with over 250 resident species,
mostly found in the wet zone. The Kumana sanctuary in the
southeast, and Bundala (famous for flamingoes), Kalametiya
and Weerawila sanctuaries between Tissamaharama and Hambantota
in the south, all with lagoons are the principal bird sanctuaries

Bellanwila-Attidiya sanctuary close to Colombo and Kurulu-kele
Vegetation in Kegalle are also some other bird watching areas.

Other sites of interest

Yagirala Forest
and Field Research station
– Rain forest situated in Kalutara
district and part of the forest is managed by Department of Forestry and Environment
Science, University of Sri Jayewardenepura. This is used for field activities
of forestry students and for research, and can be reserved for visitors and
visiting foreign students and researchers (more details….).

– The island is blessed with 103 rivers and streams radiating from the
central hills, rushing down rocky precipices forming a number of roaring
waterfalls of various shapes and heights, all ending up loosing the momentum
at the Indian Ocean. Some of the most picturesque waterfalls include Diyaluma,
St. Claires, Devon falls and Bopath Ella.

Wetlands – These are unique ecosystems with numerous bird life some
with mangrove vegetation. eg. Muthurajawela mangroves, Negombo mangrove
ecosystem, madu ganga
and Bolgoda

– There are three botanical gardens in Sri Lanka: Peradeniya,

Hakgala and Gampaha- Henerathgoda.

– Dehiwala zoo is one of the most attractive in Asia. The 15 ha
of undulating ground is beautifully laid out with shrubs, flowering trees
and plants, orchids, lakes and fountains. There are over 2000 animals include
large collection of birds, elephants, sloth bear, leopard, civets, and other
small cats, many kinds of lizard, crocodiles and snakes. Lions, tigers, jaguars,
black panthers, and many exotic species such as hippopotami, rhinos, giraffes
and kangaroos. The aquarium has over 500 species of fish.

Museums – The National Museum in Colombo 7, set in
an elegant white Neoclassical building and opened in 1877. It has a large
collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, porcelain and Kandyan regalia.

The Natural History Museum is just behind the National Museum. Exhibits here
include stuffed leopards, pickled snakes and presentations of the islands
ecology and biodiversity.

The regular meetings of Young Biologists’ Association are
held in the third floor of the Natural History Museum building.

Elephant orphanages – Pinnewala Elephant orphanage is
one of the island’s most popular tourist attractions. Pinnewala is home to
the world’s most largest troupe of captive elephants, from dignified elderly
to the cutest of babies.


Sumudu Galpaya

Poverty is increasing worldwide due to the population increase, higher consumption of resources and inequality of resource distribution. Also poverty is higher among the rural population which is comprised of 70% of the world population mainly due to environmental degradation.

Being forestry is a multilateral subject it can be used for rural development through an integrated manner. These rural development programs should consist of improving social forestry and agro forestry systems, improving small scale industries of non wood forest products in rural areas, family oriented improving schemes and hence development of forest villages as revenue villages. Regenerate and management of forests and trees for food security, energy plantations for fuel wood supply and rural electrification, Green belt establishment to improve coastal livelihoods, improving mangrove ecosystems will also be added to those forestry programs. It will be more effective if they can be included forest extension, forestry education, and forestry research and personnel management in rural areas with infrastructure development. Legal and financial support of governmental and non-governmental organizations is very important factors for those implementations.

It has been now recognized that maximum participation of community for decision-making in forestry programs is very essential for successful consequences. There are several such effective initiatives in Sri Lanka such as participatory forestry programs, upper watershed management projects; wilderness area management programs based on community participation with governmental support. And also successful stories from India and Nepal of community forestry programs are valuable examples for us.

Sri Lanka being a developing country integrated forestry related programs will be an effective answer for achieving the development of rural communities giving them drinking water, food, energy, education, health and infrastructure facilities with proper livelihoods in a sustainable manner. It will also increase gross national production in the rural sector while conserving the well-being of the rural population.



This project is within the Western Province, which comprises of three districts namely Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara. This is the most densely populated due to the presence of the capital of Sri Lanka; the province is more advanced with respect to other provinces with respect to socio-economics, infrastructure, education health facilities and development. So it is a must to develop the road network to quick, efficient and time saving transport system.

Due to an absence of any highway to by-pass Colombo city, with exception of the Baseline road environmental and extension project the traffic causes unnecessary traffic congestion within the city. The trunk roads radiating from the city viz. Colmbo to Galle, Colombo to Puttalm, Colombo through Awissawella to Rathnapura, which from the major traffic corridors is already approaching capacity.

The proposed outer circular highway would provide inter connectivity from the major corridors.This will be a 22 kilometers expressway which will construct around the Colombo city. All proposed expressways will link to this road.

The EIA report of this project was prepared by Engineering consultants limited of SriLanka.The impacts of the project was considered under physical aspects, biological aspects and socio-economic aspects.

The proposed route of this highway will be passing through Kelani River. Bolgoda Lake is also located nearer to the proposed route of the highway. So these water bodies can be badly affected in the pre-construction stage, construction stage as well as implementation stage. So the water quality of surface water bodies as well as ground water can be contaminated with these pollutants. Although this route won’t significantly harm unique sites of breeding and feeding grounds, as a whole their habitats will be in danger. Especially those who inhibit in marshlands. If the project is implemented it will displace around 1684 families due to land acquisition for the project. Also 132 persons will lose their source of employment due to the acquisition of agricultural lands.

Although the mediatory measures for the impacts are given, the sites of relocation of residential houses, industries and agricultural lands are not identified at this stage which is a major aspect to be considered. So when compared to the identified impacts, the identification of mitigatory measures are not adequate. Also the alternatives of the project are also not considered as a detailed manner.

So if appropriate mitigation measures are taken to minimize above weaknesses before implementing the project, it will be beneficial to both the economy as well as to the community of Sri-Lanka.




University of Sri Jayewardenepura (

Environmental effects of Desiccated coconut industry in Sri Lanka.

Gayesha Jayasinghe

The desiccated coconut (DC) industry is one of the major export oriented food processing industries in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is the birthplace of the DC industry. The DC industry in Sri Lanka consists around 66 factories, which are mostly located in the coconut triangle.

Heat & electricity are the to main energy forms used in Dc mills. There are many wastes produce during the manufacturing process, such as coconut water, coconut shell, etc. They badly affected to the surrounding environment &the people who are living in those places. We can recover the affects to some amount by applied some technological options.

University of Sri Jayewardenepura (

Environmetal impacts of Rubber Industry in Sri Lanka

Chamila Parthiana

Rubber Industry is a major industry in Sri Lanka, which has a significant contribution to national economy. Also, Rubber Industry generates many employment opportunities to rural population having lower level of education. The technology used by most of raw rubber manufacturers is very old and this results in low productivity and high environmental damage which people to do not tolerate any longer.

A closer look reveals that rubber industry consumes large volumes of water, uses tons of chemicals and other utilities and discharges massive amounts of wastes and effluents. The few cleaner production assessments and implementation programs carried out in Sri Lanka has shown tremendous benefits. Some of them are lesser usage of chemicals, energy and utilities including water, improvement in productivity and profitability, lesser loads and volumes of effluent discharged to the neighborhood, better image and relationship with employees internally and with the neighborhoods externally.

These benefits should encourage many rubber industrialists to follow a cleaner production program in their own places. Many have realized cleaner production is the only way to survive in today’s competitive market where cost of production is on the increase and prices are decreasing.

University of Sri Jayewardenepura (

Upper Kothamale Hydropower Project, Sri Lanka

Sulari Anthony

The upper hydropower project is a run of river hydropower project with an installed capacity of 150MW; consisting of two 75MW units and it will produce 528 per year. It has the following components; a dam, a headrace tunnel, an upstream surge tank, underground powerhouse, an outdoor switchyard and 200kV double circuit transmission line.

The upper Hydropower project (UKHP) was conceived with the preparation of a master plan for hydroelectric development in the Basin 1968. The environment impact Assessment (EIA) Report was issued in September, 1994. the Environment impact Assessment identified key issues associated with the UKHP as, impacts on water fall aesthetics due to stream flow reductions, social impacts due to resettlement of affected people, possible effects on ground water due to tunneling, impacts on bio-diversity.

Further detailed studies on alternatives were completed in 1996 and secretary of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment granted approval for the project under the National Environment Act in July 1998 subject to strict adoption of proposed mitigation measures to minimize possible environmental impacts, which included the development of a watershed management plan, maintenance of daytime flows over the waterfalls, monitoring of ground water levels, an resettlement program. This decision was challenged in the court of appeal, in October 1998. The secretary of the Ministry of Forestry and Environment gave final order in March, 2000, subsequent to the settlement of appeal.

The project is funded by Japan. The government of Sri Lanka secured financial support in March 2002 from the Government of Japan to implement the project, signing of loan Agreement SL – P 74 in March 28, 2002.

After, having being rejected three times, the Upper Hydropower project is now under construction, in order to generate 150 MW of electricity for the country in which, the demand for electricity has been growing at an annual rate of 7-8%.

Environmental impacts on Sri Lanka by the Sethusamudram ship canal project

Gayathri Abhayarathne

The Sethusamudram ship canal project was proposed to implement in the year 2005 by Indian government. The National Environmental Engineering Institute (NEERI) of India did the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project. Before the Indian cabinet approved the project, it didn’t consult its all the stakeholders that have to be consulted while preparing the EIA report. When considering about the location of the canal to be dredge, its impacts will be directly on Sri Lanka. So Sri Lanka acts as a primary stakeholder of the project. But Sri Lankan government was got to know about the project after the Indian cabinet got the approval for that. Sri Lanka was objecting for the project due to dredging of the canal. When considering about the environmental impacts of the projects, its impacts will be on the richest marine biosphere, the Gulf of Mannar, which located between southern India and northern Sri Lanka. The environmental impact of the project on Sri Lanka and its legality must be assessed as Sri Lanka citizens.

Environmental effects of sand mining in Kelani River, Sri Lanka

Uthpala Wijemanna

Rivers are complex natural systems, which responsible for the natural balance or equilibrium by water discharging, and sediments depositing. So that river sand mining is directly affected to the natural equilibrium. It has estimated that the annual sand requirement of the country is nearly eight million cubic meters and it is growing at an annual rate of 10 per cent.

Kelani River can be considered as a one of the major rivers in Sri Lanka, which is badly affected by sand mining activities. Sand from the Kelani River has been used for many building purposes, and also extensively to cover telecommunication and other infrastructure networks in recent years.

Over-mining of Kelani river causes many problems like salination of Colombo’s drinking water due to the intrusion of sea water into the river, collapse of river bank, loss of river land. It is difficult to totally ban sand mining practices in Kelani River, because many people living near the river is totally depending on this job and also there should be an alternative for the construction sector. So that the best way is minimizing the over mining the river or introduce the alternative to the river sand.