Sri Lanka’s Forests need urgent restoration -They are too much fragmented and degraded
March 21, 2020
2020, Colombo, Sri Lanka,“Sri Lanka’s Forests are too much
fragmented and degraded- It requires urgent restoration for sustaining species”
said Hemantha Withanage, Executive Director of the Sri Lanka based Centre for
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day
of Forests in 2012. It’s an important day to remind everyone that humans cannot survive
without forests. Forests are home to millions of
species. Sri Lankan Forests sustain over 2500 animal species, 3314 vascular
plants and many more species. Humans too depend on forest for food, water,
clean air and livelihood. Forest are the territories for millions of indigenous
communities around the globe.
According to the FAO, 28.8% or about 1,860,000 ha of Sri Lanka was forested in 2010. Of this 9.0% ( 167,000 ) is classified as primary forest. Sri Lanka had 185,000 ha of planted forest. Between 1990 and 2010, Sri Lanka lost an average of 24,500 ha or 1.04% per year. Last several years we have lost at least 8000 Ha of Forest annually.
losing forest in an alarming rate for agrocomodities, infrastructure
development and human settlements. In the recent years damage to the forest
cover and tree cover in Sri Lanka has increased mostly due to the infrastructure projects and
politically motivated land grabbing. It was noticed many of the housing project
during the last regime was built within the elephant corridors. Land grabbing
continue to happen under new regime too. Illegal logging, encroachments and
grazing happening around the country and specially in the dry zone has degraded
the forests. We are also losing forest due to the forest fires.
Sri Lankan forests are rapidly losing its
capacity to sustain its species
diversity. Therefore, we often see animal human conflicts around the country. In
2019 Sri Lanka lost 409 elephants and 101 humans. We also see increasing
conflicts with Monkeys, Peacocks etc. Poaching wildlife has also increased
around the country.
that Sri Lankas forest cover is too much fragmented and degraded and they
cannot provide adequate safe habitats for its animal population. It needs
urgent restoration and regeneration to provide ecosystem services for the
growing population. Growing land demand for increasing population should be
managed wisely to save our remaining forests.
need to understand that Sustainable
management of forest is key to combating climate change, and well-being of
current and future generations.