Rainforest Protectors Chronicle – June / July 2020

Sri Lanka’s forests are currently facing the biggest threat to its survival due to the cabinet decision to revoke the 5/2001 circular which for almost 2 decades granted protection to approximately 500,000 hectares of forests classified as “Other State Forests”. Many environmental organizations and individuals including Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka are currently fighting against this decision actively involved in collective action against the removal of circular 5/2001. In addition we have also been liaising with the minister to temporarily halt the illegal clearings of other state forests, before a legal acquisition process.

Action against Deforestation in Sinharaja Rainforest

  1. Many land clearing incidents, conversions and developments in Handapaanella, Delwala Walankanda and Rosemary Estate in the Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest complex were attended to and halted.
  2. Continuously worked with our contacts adjoining Sinharaja to ensure deforestation issues are addressed promptly.

Protecting Wetlands
(Muthurajawela, Bolgoda, Wedithalathivu)

  1. Working with Muthurajawela communities and Authorities on continued pressure on wetland conversions. Several issues of illegal filling activities reported to authorities and action underway. SLLRDC is planning to fill more than 100 acre area without an EIA for the proposed LNG plant. 
  2. Collective action (Ongoing litigation) to protect Bolgoda with Delthara Environment Organization.
  3. Several mangrove destruction incidents got reported and matters were informed to respective authorities. Inquiries underway.
  4. Visiting Wedithalthivu and meeting the community to mobilize them on a proposed aquaculture project that will put the lagoon in danger. Liaising with respective bodies to show our strong opposition to degazetting part of the nature reserve.

Conservation of Knuckles Cloud Forest

Carried out a field survey on communities living inside Knuckles conservation forest. Addressing issues propped up due to unregulated tourism activities including that of Meemure.

Action against Ecologically destructive Mini-Hydro Projects

Several Hydro power projects are threatening ecosystems. Girankitta oya mini hydro and Seethawaka ganga projects are causing significant damage. Public awareness and mobilization activity is ongoing.


Action against Sand Mining and Metal Quarry Environmental Issues

  1. Exposed sand dredging of Mahaweli river by Geological Survey and Mines Bureau itself in the guise of a river bank restoration project.
  2. Numerous cases of metal quarries and social environmental impacts from Embilipitiya to Kaluthara are attended to. Working with the community on finding amicable solutions.
    https://www.facebook.com/RainforestProtectors/photos/a.277841428895776/3530876833592203/?type=3&theater


Action against other Environmental Issues

  1. Contributed to PUCSL public comments on External Costs of Thermal Power Generation”, highlighting the need to move to renewables.
  2. Continued action on the Beach Nourishment Project that was done without an EIA.

It is the responsibility of everyone and not just the environmentalists to take some responsibility towards stopping the ongoing massive destruction of our forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the pollution of air and water. Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka is a local environmental organization with support provided by only a few individuals. If you can help, please call 0777771348 or email RainforestProtectors@gmail.com

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka
Web: http://www.RainforestProtectors.org
Donate: http://www.rainforestprotectors.org/rainforest/Donate.aspx

Rainforest Protectors Chronicle – March / April 2020

Despite the Coronavirus and curfew imposed, many illegal activities continue within Sri Lanka’s protected areas including illegal mining, poaching, human-induced forest fires, encroachment, illegal filling of marshland, illegal oil palm cultivation, blocking streams and rivers preventing access to water for villagers and wildlife, and many more. As Rainforest Protectors continue to receive these complaints from villagers, and not able to be on the field due to curfew restrictions, we communicated with the relevant authorities to address the issues and wish to thank all those who have helped.

Exposed illegal diversion of water, pollution and deforestation within Sinharaja rainforest carried out by two hotels in Pitadeniya

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka together with Hiru CIA team exposed severe damage done to Sinharaja Rainforest near the Pitadeniya entrance by two hotels engaged in extracting large quantities of water from the streams to fill swimming pools, cutting down trees along the steep river buffer zone and diverting polluted sewage to Gin Ganga (river). Watch and share the video below.

Action against Bandaragama Marsh Filling and Ground Water Issues

Field visit to investigate the marsh filling was done a day prior to curfew was imposed. Footage was taken and reported to Central Environmental Authority requesting action against the culprits.

Action against Mini-Hydro Mafia that is blocking water causing collapse of ecosystem during drought

Constant followup on mini hydro water blockages during drought. Both E-flow and filling dam before power house from 4 hours to as much as 9 hours a practice by many mini-hydros that kill aquatic life.

Watch our video on how rivers go dry even with e-flow

Cleanup of Thotas Ella in Kalutara District during February

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka participated in the cleanup of Thotas Ella in Wallallavita Divisional Secretariat, Kalutara District in the month of February. Hundreds of pounds of plastics, glass and garbage were removed from the site of the waterfall.

https://janayugaya.lk/2020/02/08/thotas-ella-cleaning-program/

Exposed treasure mining activity in Suriyakanda forest reserve

While curfew in place, treasure mining and gem mining activity has increased in the eastern side of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest. Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka contacted the local police station to report one such treasure mining activity that took place in adjoining Suriyakanda forest reserve providing information and requesting stern action against the those responsible.

Action against illegal mining in Sinharaja buffer zone during curfew hours

Working with law enforcement, 4 people were arrested that illegally carried out mining while the curfew was on in Rakwana, Sinharaja Rainforest buffer zone.

Stopping Forest Fires set off by human activity in Sinharaja Rainforest and Buffer Zone

Several fires were doused using our contacts and with the support of estate workers. We have been getting fire alerts much frequently both during and before corona curfew. Successfully coordinated many such attempts with DMC.

Action against clearing and burning of state forest in Puttalam

Large tract of state forest within Puttalam and Vanathawilluwa Divisional Secretariat were burnt down and cleared for human encroachment. Worked with Puttalam AGA and other entities to prevent further destruction. Due to coronavirus curfew no action against the responsible persons have been filed yet.

Programme on Sirasa Pethikada to educate the public on importance of Conservation and supporting those who are battling on the frontline against deforestation

Please watch and share to generate awareness and support.

Human-induced forest fire prevention efforts

Distributed 5 pairs of boots to Rakwana firefighters who helped douse human-induced forest fires in Eastern Sinharaja Rainforest.

Exposed the human-induced forest fire incidents and its severity through the media.

Meeting with the minister to discuss the issue of illegal planting of oil palm by some plantation companies

Exposed illegal gem mining in Nivithigala that is destroying the rivers and its ecosystem

Exposed road construction within the sensitive morningside of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest

Saved hundreds of acres in Pidurutalagala Forest Reserve from being illegally given for cultivation

*Note: Printing error in above article. The correct extent is 300 acres and not 3000.

It is the responsibility of everyone and not just the environmentalists to take some responsibility towards stopping the ongoing massive destruction of our forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the pollution of air and water. Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka is a local environmental organization with support provided by only a few individuals. If you can help, please call 0777771348 or email RainforestProtectors@gmail.com


Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka
Web: http://www.RainforestProtectors.org
Donate: http://www.rainforestprotectors.org/rainforest/Donate.aspx

Rainforest Protectors Chronicle – January 2020

Expanding the buffer zone of Sinharaja Rainforest

Rainforest Protectors Trust together with MAS Active Trading (Pvt) Ltd successfully completed the permanent protection of a privately held pristine rainforest bordering Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest as part of a long-term initiative to protect Sinharaja rainforest through securing its buffer zone.  The newly protected area 2 acres in extent includes a beautiful crystal-clear water stream originating from Sinharaja rainforest and several old-growth trees providing habitat to many species including endemic freshwater fish, amphibians, mammals and birds. With this addition, Rainforest Protectors Trust has now protected a total of 6 acres within the Sinharaja buffer zone including a riverine rainforest bordering Kudawa river.

Exposed deforestation in Botiyatenna Rosemary watta region of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest

State Minister of Environment visited the deforestation site the next day following the exposure and promised to take action to prevent deforestation. Subsequent meetings were held to address the issue and to declare a 1km buffer zone as an environmentally sensitive area as well as create a bio-diversity corridor between Handapanella and Walankanda, a route used by the last 2 remaining rainforest elephants of Sinharaja.

Action against distribution of guns to shoot elephants

A protest and several meetings were held at Ministry of Environment related to distribution of guns to handle HEC and deforestation issues related to Sinharaja.

Exposed Pidurutalagala Deforestation

Action against private mini-hydro destroying Sri Pada Sanctuary and ecosystem

Sri Pada range private mini hydro halted temporarily for more than 4 months now. Girankitta oya mini hydro site visit held and numerous vilations were witnessed. CEA to take action.

Due to severe deforestation and encroachment during the past few decades, rivers that once flowed through Sinharaja rainforest now trickle outside its boundary. By protecting the buffer zone, Rainforest Protectors Trust intends to reconnect the lost rivers of Sinharaja in addition to securing the forest boundary and restoring the ecosystem.

Legal action against Kalpitiya Sand Mining

Working with local activists and supporting litigation / counseling against illegal sand mining in Kalpitiya.

Stopped illegal sand mining in Sinharaja rainforest

Busted an illegal sand mining activity on Kudawa river bordering Sinharaja rainforest with the support of Kalawana police station.

Forest fire prevention efforts

Coordinating with local stakeholders, sending teams to extinguish forest fires and creating awareness.

Muthurajawela Wetland Conservation Project

Site visits field visits and technology introduction is being discussed to better monitor and protect Muthurajawela wetland.

It is the responsibility of everyone and not just the environmentalists to take some responsibility towards stopping the ongoing massive destruction of our forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the pollution of air and water. Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka is a local environmental organization with support provided by only a few individuals. If you can help, please call 0777771348 or email RainforestProtectors@gmail.com


Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka
Web: http://www.RainforestProtectors.org
Donate: http://www.rainforestprotectors.org/rainforest/Donate.aspx

Rainforest Protectors Chronicle – November/December 2019

Below is a quick summary of our many campaigns and projects carried out in November / December 2019.

Action against illegal clearing for road construction in the sensitive Morningside area of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest

Took action to halt severe destruction caused to the sensitive Morningside area of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest due to clearings made for a road construction by Kolonna Pradeshiya Sabha. Followup field visits made to monitor the site. 

[News Articles]
Ada Derana – සිංහරාජ රක්ෂිතයේ හිමිදිරි පෙදෙසෙ අනතුරේ
Ceylon Today – Ruining the Rainforest : Roads cut through Sinharaja
සිංහරාජය කොලොන්න ප්‍රාෙද්ශීය සභාවේ බූදලයක්ද?
Mawbima – සිංහරාජයේ හිමිදිරි පෙදෙසත් සංවර්ධනයේ බිල්ලට යයි
Dinamina – ලෝක උරුම සිංහරාජය විනාශ වී යෑ‍‍මේ අවදානමක්

Action against land grabbing in Hanthana Environmentally Protected Area

Continued our efforts to stop land grabbing in Hanthana Environmentally Protected Area. Following up on letters sent to authorities for urgent action, case was filed against NHDA.

Action against ecological and social issues due to Oil Palm cultivation

Consultations were held on numerous days, meeting the new Minister of Plantations Ramesh Pathirana and State Minister of Environment Jayantha Samaraweera. Joined the protests held against Oil Palm Mafia in Dehiowita and drafted an appeal court case against Oil Palm.

[Video]  https://www.facebook.com/RainforestProtectors/videos/482648259051806/

Meeting new Director General of LRC regarding conservation of Sinharaja forest lands currently under LRC

Met with the new Director General of Land Reform Commission (LRC) to discuss the conservation and transfer of ownership of the thousands of hectares of forest lands in the Sinharaja Rainforest Complex that are currently under the authority of the LRC and lacking legal protection. Site visits were done before the meeting to identify illegal encroachments and forest lands belonging to Sinharaja Rainforest Complex given to individuals by the LRC. 

Sinharaja Morningside site visit to identify rainforest cleared illegally to expand tea cultivation

A site visit was done in Sinharaja Morningside area to identify rainforest land cleared illegally to expand tea cultivation and take action.

Meeting with Department of Forest Conservation on illegal Gem Mining within Sinharaja Rainforest

Held discussions with officials of Department of Forest Conservation regarding illegal gem mining in Sinharaja and remedial acts.

Calling for stricter protection to Save Leopards in Sri Lanka

Worked with media to expose the incident in Yatiyanthota where a Sri Lankan Leopard was brutally killed.

http://www.dailymirror.lk/news-features/Calling-for-stricter-protection-to-Save-Leopards/131-180953

Rakwana Reforestation Project

Extinction Rebellion (XR) Sri Lanka, joined Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka with their “Reforest Rebellion” on 23rd and 24th of November 2019. XR planted more than 300 trees in our 100 acre Reforestation site. The project was quite a tough one with hard terrain with slopes. At times almost 50 degree angle to hike and carry plants. XR Reforest rebellions were hard working. Carried plants all the way up themselves to these plots where leeches and slippery conditions weren’t the only challenge. They had to carry plants more than 500 meters. Biggest plants were 7 to 8 feet tall and they were massive weighing more than 12 kilos easily. Yet there were tough volunteers who would carry them up the hill.

It is the responsibility of everyone and not just the environmentalists to take some responsibility towards stopping the ongoing massive destruction of our forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the pollution of air and water. Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka is a local environmental organization with support provided by only a few individuals. If you can help, please call 0777771348 or email RainforestProtectors@gmail.com

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka
Web: http://www.RainforestProtectors.org
Donate: http://www.rainforestprotectors.org/rainforest/Donate.aspx

Rainforest Protectors Chronicle – October 2019

Below is a quick summary of our many campaigns and projects carried out in October 2019.


Action against destruction of Kunckles (Central Highlands World Heritage Rainforest)

Visited the area in Kunckles destroyed by a Chinese company with Forest Conservation Department officials, ADB and Mahaweli along with Sinohydro (company) to asses the current situation of the illegally cut area. A hefty fine of 70 Million Rupees was imposed based on the destruction which was exposed by Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka early this year.

Action against ecological and social issues due to Oil Palm cultivation

Participated in a parliamentary committee meeting to discuss actions to be taken in the future related to oil palm cultivation due to its massive ecological and social issues.Discussion with additonal secretary to the president at presidents house in order to get Oil Palm ban gazetted.

Action against Kitulgala Private Mini-Hydro Project and Udamaliboda Private Mini-Hydro Project

Submitted objections against the Kithulgala Private Mini-Hydro Project which the Ministry of Environment is pushing to get approvals despite significant ecological damage to one of the last riverine rainforest tracts left in the country and home to the point-endemic Kitulgala Saalaya which is found only in a limited stretch of river at the project site and nowhere else in the world.  Major issues related to Uda Maliboda mini-hydro was also reported and as a result it was temporarily stopped the DWC.

Action against island grabbing in Kitulgala and land grabbing in Hanthana Environmentally Protected Area

Kithulgala Perakate island grab issue as well as land grabbing in Hanthana Environmentally Protected Area was reported and letters sent to authorities for urgent action. Consultation on case related to illegal clearing of Hantana took place several times. The case is ongoing and no further clearings reported for new houses. Undertaking is in effect.


Short Video about the Rainforests in Sri Lanka and threats they face published in German / English
Worked with a German tourism company operating in Sri Lanka to promote Sri Lanka and conservation of its rainforest ecosystem. Watch the video via link below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuPpLrDiSSo

Our riverine ecosystems are dying. Also remember river Kelani is the main water source for 2 Mn plus including almost entire Colombo. Yet its most polluted in Kithulgala. More than 500 factories, thousands of households and Hotels in Kithulgala to Kaduwela are connecting their sewages to River Kelani. All of us drink that water. Are you happy? Read and share the full article below. https://www.facebook.com/RainforestProtectors/photos/a.277841428895776/2876648035681756/?type=3&theater

Rakwana Reforestation Project

Purchased and planted large saplings of Hora (Dipteroacarpus Zeylanicus) to expand the reforestation area. Details on how to join this month’s reforestation even is published in the event below.https://www.facebook.com/events/1952467281566332/

It is the responsibility of everyone and not just the environmentalists to take some responsibility towards stopping the ongoing massive destruction of our forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the pollution of air and water. Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka is a local environmental organization with support provided by only a few individuals. If you can help, please call 0777771348 or email RainforestProtectors@gmail.com

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka
Web: http://www.RainforestProtectors.org
Donate: http://www.rainforestprotectors.org/rainforest/Donate.aspx


Rainforest Protectors Chronicle – September 2019

Below is a quick summary of our many campaigns and projects carried out in September 2019.

Conservation Success – Danaukanda Forest in Gampaha District

Having exposed and halted an illegal quarry operation in Danaukanda Forest situated in Weliweriya, Gampaha District in February, Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka worked with Ministry of Environment and Forest Conservation Department to gazette and declare 170 acres as a protected Forest Reserve which is now in-progress and moving forward.

Climate Action Mini Documentary

Several mini documentaries were produced this month as part of climate action and encouraging individuals to contribute towards the conservation initiatives. Below is one of the videos produced.


Protest against illegal cultivation and clearance of forest by oil palm companies

Joining together with a coalition of local environmental organizations and villagers who are severely affected we successfully held a protest in front of Arpico headquarters against their continued forest clearance and illegal cultivation of oil palm on September 18. Cultivation of oil palm was banned through a Cabinet Decision in October 2018, however, a few companies including Arpico has been engaged in continued forest clearance for oil palm including the 40 acres of rainforest destroyed in Wallalavita, Kalutara District which was reported by Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka Monthly Chronicle in July. The protest managed to get the general public educated on the issues and push enforcement authorities to take action.

Further meetings were held in Kegalle regarding environmental and social issues due to Oil Palm cultivation, companies that are engaged in secretly planting oil palm despite cabinet decision and future course of action.

Forest fire prevention and catchment area conservation in Badulla District

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka worked with authorities in Badulla Provincial Council to discuss and formulate a mechanism to protect 2000 water sources and to find a solution to the ever increasing forest fires reported in the District.

Field visits with Government authorities to monitor the environmental and social impacts due to private Mini-Hydro projects in Deraniyagala and Kitulgala

Deraniyagala and Kitulgala are two regions with the highest bio-diversity and endemic species in Sri Lanka with either equal or even greater significance than Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest. The region contains riverine rainforests with point endemic species such as Kitulgala Saalaya which is not found anywhere else in the country or the rest of the world. Despite this significance as once of the most ecologically important regions, successive Governments have completely failed to protect these riverine ecosystems and instead have approved many destructive private mini-hydro projects that provide less than 0.05% energy to the national grid but have destroyed more than a 25% of the waterfalls in Sri Lanka and thousands of kilometers of rivers and streams. Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka together with the relevant authorities carried out several field visits in the region in September to observe the damage that has been done to both wildlife and villagers living in the area. Ironically, it is the Ministry of Environment that is pushing local government authorities to give approval to these destructive projects despite the numerous complaints and direct observations and we are continuously fighting against these corrupt officers working at the Ministry.

Successfully halted sand mining racket in Tukinhanwatta, Avissawella

Working with relevant authorities at Central Environmental Authority and Geological Survey and Mines Bureau, Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka successfully halted the sand mining racket in Tukinhanwatta, Avissawella that was initially reported by us in July. Tukinhanwatta in Amithirigala is a water catchment and it supplies water to meet the needs of the residents of a number of villages. However, the large scale sand mining in the area has severely impacted this area.

Conservation of Muthurajawela Wetland

Rainforest Proctectors of Sri Lanka is continuing its efforts to provide greater protection to Muthurajawela wetland and is currently working with authorities to survey the entire wetland with the aim of preventing encroachment.

Action against destruction of Hanthana Mountain Range Environmental Protected Area

We have been working with Hantana residents for the last few months to stop National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) illegally destroying the Hanthana Mountain Range Environmental Protected Area. Legal action to be taken due to the failure of government authorities to stop the illegal clearings despite protests by residents and environmental organizations.

Sri Lanka lacks laws to confront arsonists that destroy its forests

More than 200 acres of forest land were destroyed last month due to fires that erupted in the area surrounding the Ella Rock. While a suspect was arrested over a previous similar incident the suspects are simply released after being advised and no law has yet been enacted against any such perpetrators.

Rakwana Reforestation Project September 27 & 28, 2019

We are continuing Rakwana reforestation project to expand the planting area and purchased an additional 100 large plants of the endemic species Dipterocarpus Zeylanicus (Hora) for planting this weekend.

It is the responsibility of everyone and not just the environmentalists to take some responsibility towards stopping the ongoing massive destruction of our forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the pollution of air and water. Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka is a local environmental organization with support provided by only a few individuals. If you can help, please call 0777771348 or email RainforestProtectors@gmail.com

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka
Web: http://www.RainforestProtectors.org
Donate: http://www.rainforestprotectors.org/rainforest/Donate.aspx

Rainforest Protectors Chronicle – July 2019

Below is a quick summary of our many campaigns and projects carried out in July 2019.

Action against the destruction of forest in Handapan Ella Elephant Corridor, Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest for a Water Bottling Plant

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka took timely action to stop the clearing of forest in the environmentally sensitive Handapan Ella area which is used by the last 2 remaining rainforest elephants of Sinharaja as a corridor to travel between fragmented rainforests of Sinharaja and Delwala-Walankanda.  Several acres of forests had been burnt down and backhoes/heavy machinery had been used to uproot indigenous plants, while natural rocks preventing soil erosion have also been removed.  Following investigations conducted upon questioning the owner of the land it was revealed that plans for the construction of a water bottling plant had been formulated without conducting an environment impact assessment nor getting any approval from authorities. Upon exposing the issue via media and informing the Central Environmental Authority and Forest Conservation Department, further clearing has been stopped and a team from Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka are closely monitoring the situation.

Watch / Share below news clip via Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka You Tube Channel
https://youtu.be/8Xj5fzm6vaM

Bottled water plant poses threat to Sinharaja (Ceylon Today)
https://www.facebook.com/RainforestProtectors/posts/2643248419021720

‘Colonel’ clears 8-acres in Sinharaja
https://srilankamirror.com/news/14861-colonel-clears-8-acres-in-sinharaja-pics

Action against Namunukula Plantations destroying 40 acres of Rainforest

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka reported and requested authorities to take action against Namunukula Plantations destroying 40 acres of rainforest to expand oil palm plantations in Walallavita, Kalutara District. This is an important catchment area bordering a protected forest reserve under Forest Conservation Department. More than 5 large Endemic Wal Del trees (Artocarpus nobilis) classified by IUCN as Endangered have been cut down along with many endemic creepers (large Pus Wel & Kiri Wel). Several streams have been destroyed in the process which supply water to 25 villagers living downstream.

Action against Large scale sand mining racket in Tukinhanwatta, Avissawella

Large scale sand mining racket in Tukinhanwatta, Avissawella that has been severely damaging the water catchment area and surrounding villages was exposed by Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka. Tukinhanwatta in Amithirigala is a water catchment and it supplies water to meet the needs of the residents of a number of villages. However, the large scale sand mining in the area has severely impacted this area. When area residents together with representatives of the Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka attempted to inspect the area they were denied entry by a group who are said to be from a contracted company who are working on the plot of land. Afterwards, the police arrived at the scene. The area residents allege that the sand smugglers in the area are backed by political powers. One of the villagers claimed that they have received information that it is being done by the brother of Minister Kabir Hashim. The residents claim that once all this is cut down that the people in the area will not have a single drop of water.

Watch / Share below news clip
https://www.facebook.com/RainforestProtectors/posts/2650779774935251

Rakwana Reforestation Project Planting Endemic Trees to Extend Reforested Area

On Saturday July 5th, Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka volunteers were joined by a group of young students to plant endemic trees and extend the reforested area now more than 10 acres. We sincerely wish to Thank everyone who helped make this planting a success.

Campaign to annex unprotected forest land bordering Sinharaja Rainforest and declare Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest Complex

Since 2012, Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka has been pushing Forest Conservation Department to annex unprotected forest land bordering Sinharaja Rainforest to stop the ongoing massive deforestation. Per Cabinet Directive in 2004, all forest land under Land Reforms Commission (LRC) bordering existing protected forest reserves such as Sinharaja, Knuckles etc were to be acquired by Forest Conservation Department and gazetted as protected forest reserves. More than 15 years has passed and we are still waiting on Forest Conservation Department to complete this task and gazette it, which involves granting protection to 2,500 hectares of highly bio-diverse rainforests in the Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest Complex including the Handapan Ella area which is currently being cleared. Despite many visits with Conservator General and assistants as well as many letters over the years requesting to do same, we have only received excuses for their delay and inaction. With the Presidential elections coming soon, Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka is working on an ambitious campaign to lobby the presidential candidates to take action against the short comings of relevant departments tasked to protect our forests and wildlife and restructure / pass proposed laws & reforms with the long-term goal of protecting the remaining forest cover in the country.

Everyone needs to take some responsibility and join together to stop the ongoing massive destruction of our forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the pollution of air and water. If you can help, please call 0777771348 or email RainforestProtectors@gmail.com

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka
Web: http://www.RainforestProtectors.org
Donate: http://www.rainforestprotectors.org/rainforest/Donate.aspx

Rainforest Protectors Chronicle – May/June 2019

Below is a quick summary of our many campaigns and projects carried out in May/June 2019.

Action against encroachment and destruction of Northern Sinharaja boundary
During the last 2 years, encroachment and destruction of the Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest has significantly increased along its northern border by expanding tea plantations, construction of hotels and mini-hydro projects. We are continually pushing Forest Conservation Department to secure and protect through enforcement including action against clearcutting 4 acres of primary forest close to its main entrance in Kudawa. Due to lack of Government action, we are seeking public and corporate support to secure the buffer zone by purchasing and permanently protecting privately held forest lands along its boundary through Rainforest Protectors Trust. We have identified more than 600 acres of private forests that are currently under threat and urgently need your support before they are lost forever. For more information and how you can help visit http://www.RainforestProtectorsTrust.org

Awareness session in Chilaw against illegal sand mining and destruction of ancient tanks Illegal sand mining and destruction of ancient tanks have become a growing environmental issue around the country especially in the North Western province. To combat this growing threat, an awareness session was conducted in Chilaw to educate and empower villagers and community leaders.

Save Muthurajawela Wetland Campaign
Met with relevant officers at Department of Wildlife Conservation to discuss expediting boundary demarcation to prevent illegal encroachment and filling of the protected area. Continued community mobilization against the ongoing filling of 100 acres of Muthurajawela wetland that is causing severe ecological damage and putting the greater Colombo area in danger of a mega flood.

Protests Against Oil Palm Mafia
Worked with community organizations to protest against the illegal expansion of ecologically destructive oil palm plantations in Baddegama.

Protecting Ancient Kumbuk Trees and River Beds
Formed and registered Parapamulla Environmental Organization in Chillaw to deal with sand mining, earth mining and removal of ancient Kumbuk trees from tanks under various world bank projects in disguise.
https://www.bbc.com/sinhala/sri-lanka-48525042

Action against destruction of Hanthana Mountain Range Environmental Protected Area
We have been working with Hantana residents for the last few months to stop National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) illegally destroying the Hanthana Mountain Range Environmental Protected Area. Legal action to be taken due to the failure of government authorities to stop the illegal clearings despite protests by residents and environmental organizations.

Seethawaka Ganga ecologically destructive Mini Hydro Project
Attended meetings at Central Environmental Authority to discuss environmental and social issues due to proposed Seethawaka Ganga Mini Hydro project. Met with villagers and organizations in the affected communities whose houses will be inundated, ancient archeological treasures will be completely destroyed and rainforests will be submerged to produce less than 20 MW which the proposed project will not be able to generate half of the year due to ever reducing flow of the river as a result of deforestation in catchment areas and climate change.

World Environment Day
Speeches given at several awareness campaigns organized by estate NGOs to make people environmentally sensitive.

Field visit to assess the damage and propose mitigation actions on Sinharaja road
A field visit with Forest Conservation Department and other relevant officers were held in Kudawa, Sinharaja to observe the damage to the forest due to the World Bank sponsored ESCAMP project carried out by Forest Department. Proposed solutions that involve not using concrete for drainage, not interlocking as how its done now, reforesting the areas cut down including planting ferns (meewana) and other rainforest species that existed before either side.


Action against filling Bolgoda Lake
Actively worked on several construction matters concerning Bolgoda Environmental Protected Area and got Central Environmental Authority (CEA) to send a letter to Moratuwa Urban Council requesting to stop permitting construction without CEA approval. Met and discussed issues of illegal filling at Bolgoda lake with the Mayor of Moratuwa and Central Environmental Authority. Worked with Bolgoda Protection Society to take direct action.

Rakwana Reforestation Project
Weekend of June 22 & 23, 2019, we will conduct Rakwana Reforestation Project. We hope to continue planting as well as expand the planting area. Call 0777771348 for details on how you can help.

Everyone needs to take some responsibility and join together to stop the ongoing massive destruction of our forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the pollution of air and water. If you can help, please call 0777771348 or email RainforestProtectors@gmail.com

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka
Web: http://www.RainforestProtectors.org
Donate: http://www.rainforestprotectors.org/rainforest/Donate.aspx

Rainforest Protectors Chronicle – February/March 2019

Below is a quick summary of our many campaigns and projects carried out in February/March 2019.

Conservation of Danaukanda Forest in Gampaha District
Investigated and exposed an illegal quarry operation in Danaukanda Forest situated in Weliweriya, Gampaha District. Subsequently, worked with Ministry of Environment to gazette the unprotected forest as a Sanctuary or Forest Reserve which is currently being carried out.

Reforestation at Lihiniyawa Halwalkele Bulathsinhala Dola

Many fragmented but high bio-diversity lowland rainforests in Sri Lanka are located in the Kalutara District under Walallavita Divisional Secretariat. Due to heavy deforestation in recent times, these areas once abundant with freshwater are now facing water crisis and collapse of the ecosystem. To combat these issues, Rainforest Protectors together with several Youth Organizations in the area and Walallavita Divisional Secretariat launched a reforestation project in March planting more than 200 native trees in deforested areas and stream buffer zone.

Securing the “Rainforest Protectors Trust” Kudawa Forest Boundary
Volunteers helped create a live fence using Gliricidia to secure the 4 acre riverine forest bordering Kudawa river protected by Rainforest Protectors Trust, in the buffer zone of Sinharaja which was under threat due to severe deforestation in the surrounding area.
https://www.facebook.com/RainforestProtectorsTrust/posts/2248375572151643

Action against deforestation within Sinharaja Rainforest Complex
Many forests that are part of the Sinharaja Rainforest Complex but not given the same legal protection by the Government are facing severe deforestation issues. Some of these forests have much higher bio-diversity and ecological value than the existing Sinharaja core area. We are currently working towards getting law enforcement to stop illegal activities in the area and protect these pristine rainforests. More information will be released soon.

Muthurajawela Wetland Conservation Project
Compilation of a comprehensive document of all illegal filling and destruction taking place within Muthurajawela Wetland along with information of the responsible persons/companies which will be used towards enforcement and eviction.

Protect Deraniyagala Campaign
Working with affected communities in Deraniyagala where pristine rainforests and villages will be taken off the map in the guise of flood prevention in Colombo. While the natural flood regulating wetlands and paddy lands in Colombo and Gampaha District are destroyed at an alarming rate by both the Government and individuals, unsustainable white elephant projects have been approved by corrupt authorities to destroy the most pristine natural areas left in the country.
https://www.facebook.com/jayantha.wijesingha/posts/10218928627030674

Action against Illegal Sand Mining
Investigated and successfully took action to stop an illegal sand mining operation at a sand deposit located in Parapamulla, Chilaw close to Deduru Oya that was being carried out under the guise of a fish project.

Protests Against Oil Palm Mafia
Participated in several village level protests held in Matara and Galle Districts.
Worked with the affected communities in the wet zone of Sri Lanka where expanding oil palm plantations have wrecked havoc the sensitive ecosystem and created many social issues.

Rakwana Reforestation Project
Monthly reforestation activities carried out at Rakwana Reforestation site with the next planting scheduled for this weekend March 30 & 31st. Call 0777771348 to join!https://www.facebook.com/events/2272025353119200/

Everyone needs to take some responsibility and join together to stop the ongoing massive destruction of our forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the pollution of air and water. If you can help, please call 0777771348 or email RainforestProtectors@gmail.com

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka

Web: http://www.RainforestProtectors.org
Donate:
http://www.rainforestprotectors.org/rainforest/Donate.aspx


Rainforest Protectors Chronicle – January 2019

Below is a quick summary of our many campaigns and projects carried out in January 2019.

Stopping Massive Deforestation in Knuckles World Heritage Cloudforest / Central Highlands World Heritage Site

On January 11, Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka together with Hiru CIA exposed a massive deforestation within Knuckles World Heritage Cloudforest. Hundreds of ancient trees were felled and the area clearcut by a Chinese contractor company illegally cutting a 1km road through old-growth forest. Unfortunately, there was not a single Government approving agency monitoring the work until Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka visited and exposed the destruction. Subsequently, the Secretary to Ministry of Environment visited the area and having witnessed the destruction ordered the construction company to halt and restore the area. However, no effort can restore a thousands of years old-growth forest that has been clearcut. Due to our intervention, hundreds of more ancient trees marked to be cut down were saved.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRY_AeSngwE&t=33s50301923_10218721930783397_1498080435316457472_n

Old-growth giant tree marked to be cut down at Knuckles World Heritage Cloudforest

Continued action against destruction of Core Zone in Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest

Campaign to stop the destruction carried out by Forest Department using JCB machines within core zone of Sinharaja Rainforest to create a road for tourist vehicles which would have a devastating effect on the sensitive ecosystem.

https://www.facebook.com/RainforestProtectors/posts/2318520611494504

Documentary regarding destruction of Sinharaja together with Oxygen For Future

Please watch below documentary and share to generate awareness.

Stopping Illegal Oil Palm plantation in Wallallawita, Kalutara District

Through continued surveillance, was able to stop an illegal oil palm plantation that was carried out despite Government ban in effect.

https://www.facebook.com/RainforestProtectors/posts/2349233481756550

Establishing “Wayamba Handa” an organization to deal with environmental issues in Wayamba Province to Address the inaction by Wayamba Environmental authority.

Rakwana Reforestation Project Kickoff 2019

On January 19 and 20, we started our 2019 Rakwana reforestation project to expand the site another 10 acres. During the first few months due to dry weather conditions, we are working on preparing the site through removal of invasive species and creating fire belts to protect the planting area from human induced fire. The project will continue every month therefore please visit our website / update emails for upcoming volunteer dates. Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka together with Rotary Club also donated school supplies to village children in the surrounding community.

Action against Koskulana mini-hydro in Northern Boundary of Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest

The company involved in the Koskulana mini-hydro destroying the Koskulana river and sensitive ecosystem in the Northern Sinharaja World Heritage Rainforest has been engaged in putting political pressure to get approval from Divisional Secretary along with Sustainable Energy Authority (SEA) sending threatening letters to Pradeshiya Sabha in Kalawana to ignore the public protest and grant approval to this illegal project. This month, Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka met the new Minister of Power & Renewable Energy to explain the ecological issues related to this project and the fact that even at full capacity only 0.015% energy would be provided to the national grid and based on data published by PUCSL, the plant factor of mini-hydros are less than 40%, therefore the energy generated is negligible. Followup letter with data and alternative ecologically sustainable renewable energy options will be provided to the Minister as well as President and Prime Minister this week. Anyone willing to help with this campaign please contact us.

Everyone needs to take some responsibility and join together to stop the ongoing massive destruction of our forests, rivers, streams, waterfalls and the pollution of air and water. If you can help, please call 0777771348 or email RainforestProtectors@gmail.com

Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka

Web: http://www.RainforestProtectors.org

Donate: http://www.rainforestprotectors.org/rainforest/Donate.aspx