Sri Lanka - Environmental Background
Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean.
Location: Latitude 5'55" - 5'51" Longitude 79'42" - 81'52"
Length: 432Km, Width: 224Km, Area: 65,610Sq.Km.
Capital: Sri Jayewardenepura,
Commercial Center: Colombo
International Airport: Colombo (Katunayake)
International Seaport: Colombo
Literacy Rate: 87%+, Total Population: 18 million
Population growth rate: 1.2% Life expectancy: 68 (male),
Languages: Sinhala, Tamil, English
The chief determinants of Climate in Sri Lanka are rainfall
and temperature. The rainfall shows seasonal fluctuations
and is dependent on the South east and North east monsoons
and on convectional and syclonic effects. The mean temperature
in the lowland areas is 27 C in the wet region and 30
C in the dry zone. It decreases with increase in altitude
and in the montane region the mean monthly temperature
varies from 13 C to 16 C, with the night temperature occasionally
dropping to around zero.
The southern half of the island is dominated by beautiful
and rugged hill country. The entire northern half comprises
a large plain extending from the edge of the hill country
to the Jaffna peninsula. The highest mountain is the 2524m
Mt Pidurutalagala near Nuwara Eliya and the longest river
is the Mahaweli which courses from the centre and empties
into the Indian Ocean at Trincomalee. The best beaches
are on the south-western, southern and south-eastern coasts.
Large evergreen trees and spectacular orchids are found
in the dense south-western tropical rain forests. Hardy
grasslands, rhododendrons and stunted forests predominate
in the cool, damp highlands, and shrubs and grasslands
survive in arid zones in the north. Animal life is profuse
and includes the ubiquitous elephant, as well as leopards,
deer, monkeys, sloth bears, wild boar, cobras, crocodiles,
dugong and turtles. The island is an important seasonal
home to migrating birds, including flamingoes, who flock
to the lagoons, wetlands and bird sanctuaries for respite
from the northern winter. The best time to see birds is
between January and April.