January 20, 2019 – Hundreds of ancient giant trees have been felled and more marked for cutting down by a Chinese contractor company in Knuckles Cloudforest within Central Highlands World Heritage Site causing severe ecological damage. While the Sri Lankan Government has given approval to construct a 1.8km road and a large bridge, the construction company has instead felled massive trees to create a longer road through the forest with a small bridge to gain maximum profit. Upon exposing the issue through media by Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka and Hiru CIA, a field visit was done by authorities at Ministry of Environment who themselves witnessed the massive damage. While the authorities have asked the company to plant twice the amount of trees cut down, no replanting can restore the amount of damage caused, where trees take thousands of years to mature and create the thriving ecosystem. Further, a mature forest has hundreds of thousands of different flora species which cannot be matched by planting a handful of different types of trees which may not even be native to the area.
Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka urges all authorities who have a responsibility to protect the country’s forests, fresh water sources and wildlife, to ensure proper monitoring is done for approved projects instead of relying on volunteer driven environmental organizations to report the destruction and violations. Further, we ask the Minister of Environment, President Maithripala Sirisena to keep his campaign promise and take immediate action against the release of protected forest lands to both local and foreign companies.
Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka