Sinharaja Forest Reserve is considered one of the most important natural habitats in Sri Lanka. This majestic rainforest was deemed an International Man and Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and deservedly designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989. The forest offers a huge diversity of species both flora and fauna with a large proportion of those being indigenous to the country and some more specifically endemic to Sinharaja itself.

Many indigenous birds such as Layard’s parakeet (Psittacula calthripae), the Jungle fowl (Gallus lafayetii ), the Spur fowl (Galloperdix bicalcarata), the Ceylon Wood Pigeon (Columba torringtonii), the Ceylon Hanging Parrot (Loriculus beryllinus), the Ceylon Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis), the Ashy-headed Laughing Thrush (Garrulax cinereifrons), the Brown– capped Babbler (Pellorneum fuscocapillum), the Red–faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus) and the Ceylon Blue Magpie (Urocissa ornate) among others, are prominent in this area.

For countless generations the local people of the Sinharaja have been living sustainably from what the forest provided and today many of the local villagers are continuing to use the forest resources. One of the main resources provided by the forest is jaggery, a crude local sugar product from the Kitul Palm (Caryota urens). Used as a source of income for the local people it has been a traditional ingredient to Sri Lankan people for many years. The production of the sugar is for trading at the local weekly markets.

Another historic village tradition and source of income is the use of rattan and bamboo to manufacture baskets and other woven products. Similarly these products can be sold at local markets.
Annual precipitation for the reserve, recorded over 60 years, has a range of between 3600mm " 5000mm approximately, whereas annual temperatures range from 19°C " 35°C. South westerly seasonal monsoons greatly contribute to the annual rains, particularly through May " July, whereas from November " January seasonal monsoons approach from the north east.

If you are eco–tourist or nature lover

We define ecotourism as responsible travel that promotes the conservation of natural areas and sustains the well–being of local people.
Many tour operators and travel agencies use the term ecotourism to describe their operations. There are organizations that "certify" ecotourism operators. However, many of these projects do little to conserve nature or to benefit local people.

Specific criteria that guarantee that they are true ecotourism projects, including: Motivation of private travel companies is profit as it is in any other sector. The problem is that pressure to increase profits does not lead to sound long"term planning or sustainable development. So next time when book a holiday for eco-tourism, Please find out what is that company doing to help the conservation effort and the local people before you book your holiday. And please look around the projects they are funding