|Protected Areas in Sri Lanka
The Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) was established in 1949 and entrusted with the overall conservation of fauna and flora of the country and the maintenance of its diversity. The functions of DWLC are largely governed by the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance (F&FPO) of Sri Lanka and Wildlife Conservation Policy, which was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in the year 2000. DWLC is maintaining a network of protected areas in the country for the purpose of conserving the natural resources contained therein.
Areas classified as National Protected Areas are basically eight types depending on their objective:
- Strict Nature Reserves
- National Parks
- Nature Reserves
- Jungle Corridors
- Marine Reserves
- Buffer Zones
The first four categories of the protected areas cover all the ecological and climatic regions of the country. The Category 5, 6 and 7 were introduced in 1993 (act no. 49) by amending the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance (No. 2 of 1937) of Sri Lanka, but no areas have been declared under these categories up to now.
Sanctuaries are special areas conserved for wildlife which may include both state and private lands. The human activities in private lands are regulated.
National Parks are the areas allowed for the public to see and study wildlife. However, rules and regulations have been introduced to ensure the maximum protection to wildlife and habitats.
There are 14 NPs declared covering the entire range of ecosystems of Sri Lanka. Among these, the "Horton Planins" NP - which is a mountain forest - represents the wet zone ecosystems of Sri Lanka.
Wildlife viewing and studying are not allowed in Nature Reserves. However, scientific studies are encouraged under the supervision of DWLC. The major difference from PAs and SNRs is that in Nature Reserves traditional human activities are allowed to continue. But this right in not transferable.
The Protected Area system of Sri Lanka comprises 4 NRs.
Strict Nature Reserves
No human activity is allowed in SNRs and they are protected as a pure natural system. Research work could be carried out, under the strict supervision by DWLC staff, with the approval from the Director and strict guidelines are introduced to minimize the impact.
The Protected Area network of Sri Lanka consists of three strict nature reserves.
Source: Ministry of Environment - Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sri Lanka