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Monday, 11 March 2019 04:06

What Next? sinharaja: From a Timber Reserve to a Biological Treasure Trove

By - Drs. Savitri & Nimal Gunatilleke, Professors Emeriti, University of Peradeniya

Public Lecture Series of the Wildlife & Nature Protection Society – 6pm march 21st , 2019 at the Jasmine Hall, BMICH, Open to both members and non-members, entrance Free

sinharajaThe ‘infamous mechanized logging project of Sinharaja’ is now in the well-documented annals of history. The role of environmentally conscious public in discontinuing this ill-advised project issinharaja1 hailed as one of major successes of politico-environmental campaigns of the day for public good. It is indeed heartening to note that the momentum generated from resisting this abominable Sinharaja fiasco is sustained even to date though with varying degree of success.

The conservation scientists who made an entry to this scene of ‘saving, studying and wisely using’ the elements of rich repository of biological wealth have over the years unearthed some of the hidden treasures of global significance underpinning the conservation value Sinharaja and its surrounding relic forests of SW Sri Lanka. These rain forests of SW Sri Lanka provide one of the most outstanding regions for studying the process of biological evolution in this era of molecular biology.

However on the downside, the threats to the survival of Sinharaja and other rain forests of SW Sri Lanka are also continuously raising their ugly heads suggesting the need for constant vigilance on the part of environmentally responsible citizenry and conservation scientists alike to conserve this biological treasure trove that continues to provisioning ecosystem services for the well-being of the humans and other biota

Profs Savitri and Nimal Gunatilleke, retired professors in botany at University Peradeniya have been conducting long-term biological and ecological research in Sinharaja, and several other forests in Sri Lanka over several decades. In recognition of their research endeavours, they have been awarded the UNESCO’s Sultan Quaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation in 1997. Prof. Savitri Gunatilleke has been selected as a honorary fellow of the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation in 2016 . It is the highest award given by the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation in recognition of long and distinguished service to tropical biology. Prof. Nimal Gunatilleke holds a titular award of ‘Vidya Nidhi’ (Science and Technology, 2005) received from Her Excellency the President of Sri Lanka. They both are fellows of the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka.

Last modified on Monday, 11 March 2019 04:13