Sri Lanka biodiversity seen under threat

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 09, 2010 (LBO) – Increasing population pressure and human activity are threatening the rich biodiversity in Sri Lanka and a greater focus on habitat protection and conservation is needed, scientists said. Sri Lanka has been recognized as a global biodiversity ‘hotspot’ because of the high number of fauna and flora which are endemic or native to the island and serious amount of habitat loss.

Mayuri Wijesinghe, zoology lecturer at the Colombo University, said the island has an “astounding” terrestrial biodiversity, resulting from its tropical location, diverse topography, varied climate and geological history.

This had led to the formation of a range of natural ecosystems which support a rich diversity of plant and animal species.

But Sri Lanka has lost 70 percent of its original habitat because of human activities, she told a symposium on biodiversity.

“This trend, if continued, will most likely lead to the extinction of many of our invaluable species.”

The natural habitat is most threatened in the island’s western province, the most heavily populated area which generates over 50 percent of gross domestic product, because of the increasing population pressure and economic activit