In 2021, Rainforest Protectors Trust was able to expand the protected buffer zone of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest in Sri Lanka by purchasing and permanently protecting an additional privately held 7.5 acres primary forest land. This beautiful and highly bio-diverse forest tract directly bordering Sinharaja rainforest was in danger of being clearcut, as similar forest lands nearby are facing deforestation due to expanding tea plantations. Through timely action by Rainforest Protectors Trust, together with financial support provided by MAS Intimates (Pvt) Ltd and MAS Active (Pvt) Ltd, the forest is now saved and designated as a conservation land. More importantly it prevents encroachment of the core protected area due to its strategic location in the buffer zone. With this conservation success, Rainforest Protectors Trust has now protected a total of 3 forest lands totalling 14 acres in the area.
Looking forward to 2022, we are extremely close towards protecting an additional 10 acres right next to the above protected land, this time funded by individual donors like you through the crowdfunding initiative. Purchasing and protecting this contiguous 10 acres helps us create a linear extension of the buffer zone and increasing the total protected area to 24 acres. All our protected lands contain at least one stream, if not more, as well as some facing river frontage. We cannot emphasize enough how this helps protect the endangered and endemic freshwater species of Sri Lanka.
We wish to thank all our donors for your contribution towards creating a buffer zone for Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest a success. As we progress on protecting threatened rainforests, we are also taking steps to ensure the conservation lands stay protected through frequent monitoring while being open for non-destructive recreation activities such as hiking and bird-watching. We hope you will continue to support us in 2022 and help recruit your friends and family join and be part of this conservation story.
Protected 2 Acres
Protected Riverine forest 4.5 Acres
10 Acres to be Protected
10 Acres to be Protected
10 Acres to be Protected
Map of Conservation Lands and Sinharaja Rainforest
Rainforest Protectors Trust is close to securing the 3rd tract of land for conservation, a 7 acre beautiful rainforest adjoining Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest. A survey of the land was completed last month. Once the COVID lockdown is lifted we hope to complete the transaction. There is a golden opportunity to further extend the buffer zone adjoining the protected area and the Trust is exploring these possibilities.
Now through end-of-day September 17th (Eastern Time Zone), our crowdfunding project is part of the GlobalGiving little-by-little campaign where donations up to $50 USD per unique donor will be matched at 50%. We wish to thank all our supporters and hope more donors will join us to help protect Sri Lanka’s last remaining Wet Zone Forests, for our collective future!
The COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading extremely fast in Sri Lanka during the last couple of months, resulting in the country placed in lockdown and travel severely restricted. Despite these hardships, Rainforest Protectors Trust has been working towards expanding the protected area as well as securing existing protected area. During the months of February and March 2021 before current lockdowns were placed, Rainforest Protectors Trust carried out trail maintenance of forest land protected in January 2020. Several workers from the adjoining village were employed for the task thus giving back to the local community. Once the lockdown restrictions are lifted, we plan on planting native areca nut trees along the boundary to secure and create a live fence additionally benefiting wildlife.
Trustees of Rainforest Protectors Trust also visited a tract of private forest land adjoining Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest and currently working towards acquiring it towards long-term conservation of the buffer zone. While the lockdowns have slowed the progress we are working diligently to prevent deforestation through acquisition and conservation of privately held forest land in the region.
Rainforest Protectors Trust which is currently 100% volunteer driven is also evaluating the possibility to expand our operations by obtaining services of a full-time staff member. Hundreds of acres of privately held forest land are currently under threat as well as the need to do regular patrols to secure already acquired and protected forest land. We would like to hear from protential donors towards this operations fund. Please email RainforestProtectorsTrust@gmail.com
We wish to thank all our supporters and hope more donors will join us to help protect Sri Lanka’s last remaining Wet Zone Forests, for our collective future!
The past year 2020 has been extremely difficult for all of us. The COVID-19 Pandemic took toll on many people but worse so was the destruction incurred on the Environment. During the various Curfews there was a significant increase in illegal activity within Protected Areas (PAs), including deforestation, encroachment and poaching as Wildlife Officers, Forest Officers and Environmental Officers were not able to conduct field operations. To make matters worse, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) took many harmful decisions leading to the destruction of countless Protected Areas (PAs). In addition the authority over an estimated 500,000 - 700,000 Hectares of Other State Forests (OSFs) and State Forested Lands (SFLs) was transferred from the Department of Forest Conservation (DFC), to District Secretariats (DSs) and Divisional Secretariats (DSDs), to be distributed on a priority basis for agricultural, industrial and other such "development" projects. The Sinharaja National Forest Reserve (UNESCO) in the Lowland Wet Zone and Knuckles Conservation Forest (UNESCO) in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka are both being significantly damaged due to conversion of historical foot paths and small trails into major roads, which are to be used by busses, lorries and heavy construction vehicles.
Even Wild Elephant Corridors were not spared during 2020. The Sinharaja - Walankanda Wild Elephant Corridor is the most scenic Wild Elephant Corridor in the country offering some of the best views to the human eye. Although untouched, many Private Forest Lands (PFLs) exist within the boundaries of this Wild Elephant Corridor. Sadly in 2020 one of the untouched Private Forest Lands was listed to be sold. Despite the best efforts by the Rainforest Protectors Trust (RPT), to protect this vital property situated within the Wild Elephant Corridor, a lack of enough funds prevented purchasing it in time. Due to the scenic location, the land was quickly sold and the new owner wasted no time in cutting down the Sub Montane Forest to grow tea and start construction activities for a hotel (see Photo 1). It is a stark reminder to all of us that we are fighting against time to protect these last remaining Lowland Tropical Rainforests and Sub Montane Forests, against those who only seek wealth in their life.
Despite these major setbacks in 2020, we at Rainforest Protectors Trust believe 2021 will offer hope. Special thanks goes to some of the individual donors who have supported our crowdfunding project thus far as well as our corporate sponsors. We look forward to significantly expand the protected wilderness areas within privately held forest lands (PFLs) in 2021. Seventeen acres of Private Forest Lands (PFLs) have been identified as priority conservation areas and we are currently working to secure these wilderness areas before they are lost forever. We wish to thank all our supporters and hope more donors will join us this new year to help protect Sri Lanka’s last remaining Wet Zone Forests, for our collective future!
Incidents of deforestation significantly increased during the last several months throughout Sri Lanka despite the Government pledge to protect the environment. Due to protests by environmentalists and concerned citizens, the Government scrapped plans to distribute (for agri / commercial purposes) approximately 500,000 hectares of forest land belonging to the State. However, threats to the World Heritage Sinharaja Rainforest continued with the widening (upto 20 feet) and expansion (upto 18km) of a road that was once a small foot path through the forest till the early 90s. Environmentalists believe this would be the beginning of increased encroachment and conversion of forest into tea plantations and urbanization. It is clear that we cannot rely on the Government to protect the rainforests, thus the effort to purchase and permanently protect privately held forest lands bordering the World Heritage Sinharaja Rainforest is more important than ever.
Rainforest Protectors Trust has identified several parcels of unprotected forest lands suitable for conservation in the area. To date, we have protected 2 parcels of forest lands rich in biodiversity, one adjoining a river and the other adjoining a stream. However, lack of funds are preventing us from purchasing additional private forest lands that are currently on sale and in danger of being clearcut. Therefore, we urge you to consider making a monthly recurring donation to our GlobalGiving Project even if it is for a small amount. All donations go directly towards purchasing suitable lands for conservation.
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