17 Jan Threatened trees conservation in Sri Lanka
Conservation of threatened tree species of Udakiruwa tropical rainforest, Sri Lanka, through community empowerment and stewardship.
Partner: Uva Wellassa University
The main goal of this project is to conserve the threatened tree species in Udakiruwa Forest and its ecosystem services through restoration of degraded lands and enrichment of adjacent agroforests with threatened tree species, as well as awareness raising of local communities and the development of sustainable alternative livelihoods to reduce the threats to the species.
Udakiruwa rainforest fragments of Uva province in Sri Lanka exhibit a significantly high biodiversity that has evolved over thousands of years, allowing the natural selection of species and genotypes best suited to this unique location. These forest fragments are home to populations of endemic plant species, many of which are threatened due to over exploitation of forest products and agricultural expansion. The aims of this project are
(i) to conserve the threatened tree species in Udakiruwa Forest and its ecosystem services through restoration of degraded lands and enrichment of adjacent agroforests with threatened tree species,
(ii) to develop conservation ethics in the Udakiruwa local villages and among the young generations in peripheral areas, and
(iii) to reduce the threats to the forests and inhabiting species through enriched home gardens and by facilitating initiatives aimed at generating sustainable alternative livelihoods (bee keeping, selling of seedlings, ecotourism, etc.).
The restoration of 35ha of forests by protecting, supporting the existing natural regeneration and planting threatened species with the participation of local community and NGOs is also a key feature of the project. Conservation plans will also be formulated enabling to replicate the approach in other similar landscapes in Sri Lanka.