Sri Lanka Ministry of Environment has initiated a program to identify sensitive ecological zones in our country and name them as sensitive ecological zones. Accordingly, Manewa, Gangewadiya, Eluwankulama and Galnewa areas have been identified as new sensitive ecosystems in Sri Lanka.

The UNCCD Unit of the Ministry of Environment has initiated this program on the instructions of the Minister of Environment, Mahinda Amaraweera. The purpose of this program is to facilitate the planning of development projects by preventing damage to the environment during the implementation of national development projects, said Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Environment.
Accordingly, four more sensitive ecosystems have been identified in Sri Lanka and they have been designated as Sensitive Ecological Zones said Dr. Anil Jasinghe.

These new sensitive ecosystems have been identified in Manewa (මානෑව) , Gangewadiya ( ගඟේවාඩිය), Eluwankulama ( එළුවන්කුළම) and Galnewa ( ගල්නෑව) areas. Previously, there were reports of damage to these systems during the implementation of development projects due to the identification of sensitive ecological zones and the non-designation of such ecological zones.

However, under the new arrangement, the Ministry of Environment will identify those sensitive ecological zones and take steps to conserve them, so no individual or institution will be allowed by law to destroy those ecological zones. They are protected under the National Environmental Act and their safety is guaranteed. Therefore, the Biodiversity Unit has prepared a program to identify such sensitive ecosystems and implement a program to conserve them throughout the island, said the Secretary to the Ministry of Environment, Dr. Anil Jasinghe.

The National Red List (2012) reveals that there are 253 land snail species, 245 butterfly species, 240 birds, 211 reptiles, 748 vertebrates, 1,492 invertebrates. 43% of vertebrate species reported are endemic; in more detail, 87% of amphibians, 59% of Reptiles, 19% of mammals, and 7% of birds are endemic to the country. 336 Pteridophyte and 3,154 flowering plants are scattered around the country and 916 plant species are endemic. Sri Lankan biodiversity brings economic, ecological, and aesthetic values to the local community and beyond. However, due to both natural and anthropogenic reasons, the biodiversity in Sri Lanka is threatened, especially, it is significant amongst the endemic species.

The World Risk Index named Sri Lanka as a country of ‘high chances of disasters’ with the rank of 109 in 2017, and the Climate Risk Index of Sri Lanka was 31 in 2019. (LankaXpress)