Bio­di­ver­sity Sri Lanka heads project to re­for­est Kan­neliya Con­ser­va­tion For­est

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - CSR -

Bio­di­ver­sity Sri Lanka in part­ner­ship with For­est Depart­ment, IUCN Sri Lanka and Pri­vate sec­tor part­ners have de­cided to ini­ti­ate a pilot project to re­for­est a 10 hectare block in the Kan­neliya Con­ser­va­tion For­est that has been com­pletely de­graded due to hu­man ac­tiv­ity by ap­ply­ing an eco­log­i­cal restora­tion mod­el­ling ap­proach.

The project which will go as an CSR ini­tia­tive was launched re­cently at an event took place in MJF Cen­tre for dig­ni­fied and sus­tain­able em­pow­er­ment in Mo­ratuwa.

Ac­cord­ing to them this marks the first in a coali­tion state pri­vate and en­vi­ron­men­tal agen­cies com­ing to­gether in a project that has such sig­nif­i­cance on re­for­esta­tion, bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion, evo­lu­tion of a bio­di­ver­sity credit ac­crual sys­tem for Sri Lanka and re­lated car­bon se­ques­tra­tion.

Diesel and Mo­tor En­gi­neer­ing PLC, Dilmah Cey­lon Tea Com­pany PLC, Hat­ton Na­tional Bank PLC, Jetwing Ho­tels Ltd, Na­tions Trust Bank PLC, Peo­ple’s Leas­ing and Fi­nance PLC, Siam City Ce­ment (Lanka) Ltd, and Vir­tusa (Pvt.) Ltd, will be com­mit­ting their part­ner­ship for the project.

For­est restora­tion will be car­ried out in a man­ner that the species com­po­si­tion stand struc­ture bio­di­ver­sity func­tions and process of the re­sorted for­est will match as closely as pos­si­ble that of a site spe­cific orig­i­nal for­est.

The en­tire restora­tion pro­gramme will take place over a pe­riod of five years. This will be car­ried out in two phases.

Phase one (the first two years) will fo­cus on site prepa­ra­tion. Es­tab­lish­ment of nurs­eries up­dat­ing species in­ven­to­ries in the restora­tion and ref­er­ence sites and set­ting up long term mon­i­tor­ing pro­gramme and planting of more ro­bust na­tive species.

Phase two (next three years) will fo­cus on in­creas­ing the di­ver­sity of the site by planting more na­tive spices once the ground con­di­tions of the site are made more con­ducive for re­ceive sen­si­tive species.

The re­for­esta­tion pro­gramme will be ac­com­pa­nied by a strin­gent mon­i­tor­ing pro­gramme to doc­u­ment the en­tire process. The in­for­ma­tion gen­er­ated will be used to model the progress of for­est re­gen­er­a­tion, de­velop meth­ods for cal­cu­lat­ing en­hanced ecosys­tem ser­vices as­so­ci­ated with re­for­esta­tion.

Fur­ther, the project aims to de­velop an ecosys­tem and species credit ac­crual sys­tem for Sri Lanka us­ing the out­comes of the project with the ob­jec­tive of catalysing pri­vate sec­tor en­gage­ment and fi­nanc­ing for bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion by as­sign­ing a value for the bio­di­ver­sity and ecosys­tem ser­vices en­hanced.

Uni­ver­sity of Colombo Pro­fes­sor in Zo­ol­ogy De­vaka K. Weer­akoon told Mir­ror Busi­ness that the cost of re­strain has been es­ti­mated to be ap­prox­i­mately Rs.250,000 per acre per year.

It was noted that dur­ing the last cen­tury alone, Sri Lanka’s nat­u­ral for­est cover has de­clined by about 50 per­cent and con­tin­ues to de­cline even at present at a rate of ap­prox­i­mately 7,000 hectare a year.

The event was brought to a close with a demon­stra­tion of sus­tain­able cui­sine by celebrity chef Peter Ku­ru­vita, who shared his cre­ation with all present.

IUCN Asia Re­gional Of­fice De­vel­op­ment of Mon­i­tor­ing Projects Di­rec­tor Christo­pher Howe

Celebrity chef Peter Ku­ru­vita Pix by Waruna Wanniarachchi

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