Fighting Deforestation in Sri Lanka

AdvertisementThe focus on Sri Lanka’s deforestation and the conservation of forests this year can be traced back to widespread discussions about deforestation in Wilpattu  National Park back in 2019. Deforestation in Wanathawillu, Anawilundawa and Sinharaja has been the recent focus of discussion. However, reports of more deforestation and illegal commercial or developmental projects have been reported from many parts of the country. Since then, the topic has become affiliated with politics and certain political figures. The blame game has advanced amid the lack of political authority.The forest cover of Sri Lanka in 2019 was reported to be 16.5 percent, down from 29.7 percent in 2017. According to Dr. Ravindra Kariyawasam, in 1882, the country’s forest density was around 82 percent. Between 1990 and 2000, Sri Lanka lost an average of 26,800 hectares of forest per year, which amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 1.14 percent. In total, between 1990 and 2005 alone, Sri Lanka lost 17.7 percent of its forest cover.Controversial Legal MovesRecently, environmentalists have taken issue with the Sri Lankan cabinet’s recently announced plan to revoke Circular No. 5/2001, which protests the country’s Other State Forests (OSFs), and transfer jurisdiction for these protected areas from the Forest Department  to the authorities at the divisional and district levels. Amid the public uproar, further discussions are to be held, with the cabinet instructed to form a c…. Read more:
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