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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1995

CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR CONSERVATION OF THE VICTORIA, RANDENIGALA, RANTEBE SANCTUARY

Ranjan Attygalle
Mahaweli Authority, Polgolla

More than fifty sanctuaries have been declared in Sri Lanka to date. Of these, the Victoria, Randenigala, Rantembe (VRR) sanctuary is unique in three aspects. Firstly, it is the largest among the sanctuaries declared so far with an extent of 42,088.8 ha.. Secondly, it includes three reservoirs/ dams built across the Mahaweli river, viz., Victoria, Randenigala and Rantembe, thus parts of the three watersheds fall within the sanctuary boundary. Thirdly it has diverse habitats which change significantly during the year as a result of climate changes and availability of water in the reservoirs.

VRR sanctuary was declared on 30 January 1987. Subsequently the idea of a core area surfaced and a number of families were evacuated and settled elsewhere. The Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance does not envisage development activities in the private lands. Also, there are settlements created by the Mahaweli inside the sanctuary. Further, these lands were used for shifting cultivation before the sanctuary was declared. Thus socio economical issues have developed over the years.

On the other hand, rather than policing the area and enforcing the Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance, the Department of Wild Life Conservation does not posses a clearly defined conservation plan for the VRR sanctuary.

The paper elaborates the socio economical and ecological issues evident to date and provides a conceptual framework for the conservation of the VRR sanctuary.


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