Sampalathivu lagoon area declared a natural forest reserve

The Agriculture, Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation Ministry has decided to designate the area around the Sampalathivu lagoon in Trincomalee district as a sensitive ecological zone as well as a natural forest reserve. This decision was taken on Monday during a discussion held at the Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation Ministry under Minister Mahinda Amaraweera.

The Minister discussed with the Secretary of the Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation Chandra Herath and a group of officials of the Forest Conservation Department. The area around the Sampalathivu area is also an area with a large mangrove population. But in the last few years, it was emphasized that the mangrove ecosystem of Trincomalee which was 2,043 hectares has reduced to 1,491 hectares during the last decade.

Accordingly, it was decided to designate this area of 239.58 hectares as a sensitive ecological zone and a natural forest reserve around the Sampalathivu lagoon belonging to the areas of Salli, Illuppaikulam, Varodhaya Nagar and Uppuveli Grama Niladhari areas. The minister instructed Ministry Secretary Chandra Herath to prepare the related Cabinet paper.

Creating ecological beautification through planned development projects to protect the biodiversity of the Sampalathivu lagoon area is important to expand the tourism industry. This will create new jobs in the tourism sector, secure the livelihoods of the local people, and provide an opportunity for Sri Lanka to earn foreign exchange.

Due to the damming of the Sampalathivu lagoon and illegal land grabs, the surrounding villages are prone to flooding due to increased risk of flood threats. Also, due to the damming of the sample lagoon, the tourist attraction has decreased due to the destruction of the existing biodiversity and animal habitats.

Therefore, to protect the biodiversity of the Sampalathivu Lagoon, which is a haven for migratory birds, and ensure long-term conservation. The Wildlife and Forest Resources Conservation Minister advised to minimise illegal acquisitions that are currently taking place, to carry out the development work without harming the environment, and to declare this area as a natural forest reserve.

 

by Daily News Sri Lanka

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