What can you do for Environment Friendly Living

What Can You Do…

  • to Help Sustain Soils?
  • to Promote More Sustainable Agriculture?
  • to Help Reduce Pesticide Use and Exposure?
  • to Control Common Insect Pests and Weeds?
  • to Reduce Outdoor and Indoor Air Pollution?
  • to Reduce Water Waste?
  • to Reduce Water Pollution?
  • to Reduce Solid Waste?
  • to Reduce Hazardous Waste?
  • to Help Preserve Biodiversity?
  • to Be a Responsible Ecotourist?
  • to Help Protect Endangered and Threatened Species?
  • to Waste Less Energy?
  • to Help Protect Your Health?
  • to Reduce the Threat of Climate Change By Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions?

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Economic implications of declaration of Knuckles conservation zone

The objective of this study is to assess the economic impacts of Knuckles Conservation Zone (KCZ) on the livelihoods of peripheral households and vise versa the impact of the utilization of forest resources by households on the sustainability of the forest after the conservation zone declaration. A detailed population survey, observations, participatory methods and discussions were conducted to gather information as part of an EU funded IUCN project on forestry governance. Around 57% of the households are poor. Following the declaration, there has been a significant reduction in the number of households harvesting non-timber forest products (NTFP) even for subsistence purposes. The share of income derived through NTFP out of total household income is very minimal. Almost all households had been harvesting NTFPs earlier and now it has been reduced to 60% of households. Banning of chena cultivation in the forest area, following the conservation zone has posed negative impacts on livelihoods, as chena was one of the main income sources earlier. This natural resource has a higher potential for ecotourism, as viewed by communities. It is necessary to compensate for the loss of income from chena and reduced access to subsistence products from the forest. The future policies should be formulated in a way that provides economic incentives to the peripheral communities, which will encourage them to use the forest in sustainable manner. This could include sharing the tourist few with the affected households. Each household would need to receive about Rs. 15, 000 per year to cover the lost access rights to the forests.

K Wickramasinghe and P Steele
Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka

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).

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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.