This project is creating rainforest corridors and buffer zones in order to protect the last remaining viable tropical rainforest in Sri Lanka. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1988. Rainforest Rescue is protecting rare and endemic flora, fauna and wildlife by reducing the pressures on rainforest resources through community education programs, property purchase and rainforest regeneration, thereby establishing sustainable livelihoods for local residents.
Protection of the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and rainforest patches surrounding it are subject to socioeconomic issues relating to the people living in the immediate vicinity. Encroaching cultivation and the taking of trees for timber (firewood and cane for weaving baskets mostly) degrade the rainforest. Both humans and wildlife will benefit from this project. Like wildlife, local communities need rainforest for fresh water, natural medicines, regular food source and local climate regulation.
This project is reducing pressures on the Sinharaja and assisting the local communities to reach a sustainable livelihood. In the past few years, we and our project partner have established a community education program and a rainforest nursery that has propagated over 20,000 trees. This project is also helping in the purchase of several small areas of land on which to be based and that will contribute to the creation of a biodiversity corridor between the Sinharaja and Kanneliya forest.
Through education, training and practical projects, such as Analog Forestry, we and our partner, Rainforest Rescue International, will engage two villages and 20 settlements and promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between humans and the natural environment. This will alleviate the pressure on one of the most important and threatened biological hotspots in the world while giving local communities sustainable livelihoods and resources needed to produce income and meet their needs.