Restoring Traditional Cascading Tank Systems

Cover Page

There are approximately 12,000 small tanks and 13,000 anicuts, feeding an extent of about 246,000 hectares (39% of the total irrigable area of the country) in Sri Lanka, relicts of an ancient hydraulic civilisation. These systems contribute 191,000 million tons of rice to national production (approximately 20% of national production).

Small irrigation tanks do not exist as discrete individual units. The natural drainage system in a watershed is blocked by earth bunds in appropriate locations to store water, forming a series of tanks along the drainage system, distributed within a micro-catchment of the dry zone. Such series are called village tank cascade systems, each with key elements as described overleaf.
IUCN, partnering with the Department of Agrarian Development and HSBC, commenced a three year project in 2013 to restore the Kapiriggama small tank cascade in the Rambewa DS division of the Anuradhapura District, as a traditional cascading tank system that would provide enhanced rural livelihoods and environmental services to communities that use the system.

As part of this Project, a series of information briefs and technical notes were prepared to share knowledge and experience gained. These are uploaded on the IUCN website.


Farmer Training Mannual

FTM Cover


Report of the Workshop for the Development of a National Strategy for Incorporating Traditional Knowledge into Development Practices

Cover - Traditional knowledge workshop report

This publication, resulting from a Stakeholder Workshop organized jointly by IUCN Sri Lanka and the National Science and Technology Commission of Sri Lanka (NASTEC) in Dambulla is in three parts,
as follows:

(a) Report of the workshop, including the recommendations;
(b) Brief Case Studies of traditional knowledge practices, documented kindly by Mr M A T de Silva (in three parts; Part 1 – Agriculture, Fishery, Forestry and Natural Resources; Part 2 – Medicine and Animal Health; Part 3 – Technology and Industry);
(c) Annexes.


Atlas of Puttalam Lagoon

Cover - Puttalam Atlas


Biodiversity and Socio-economic Information of Selected Areas of Sri Lankan Side of the Gulf of Mannar


 Biodiversity and Socio-economic Information of Selected Areas of Sri Lankan Side of the Gulf of Mannar: Report submitted by IUCN Sri Lanka Country Office to BOBLME Project Component 2.4 Collaborative Critical Habitat Management: Gulf of Mannar: Final Report

Small Grants, Large Gains

Cover - Small grants large gains

 Lessons from MFF Small Grant Facility Projects in Sri Lanka (2011-2013)

Proceedings of the workshop on Ecological Considerations in Coastal Development

Cover - Ecological Considerations

 Proceedings of the workshop on

Ecological Considerations in Coastal Development
Organized by Mangroves for the Future, Sri Lanka


Cover - Mangroves _ TG

 A Resource Book for Secondary School Teachers


Lagoons and Estuaries

Lagoons and estuaries

 Coastal Ecosystems Series (Volume 4)

Tidal flats

Cover - Tidal flats

 Coastal Ecosystems Series (Volume 5)

Insights into the biodiversity of the Sampur area in Trincomalee

Sampur report - Cover

 Insights into the biodiversity of the Sampur area in Trincomalee

Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka: No. 15, March 2013

Sustainable Development of Delft Island

Delft Report

 Sustainable Development of Delft Island:An ecological, socio-economic and archaeological assessment

Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka No. 14, January 2013

An Appraisal of Mangrove Management in Micro-tidal Estuaries and Lagoons in Sri Lanka - Book

An Appraisal of Mangrove Management in Micro-tidal Estuaries and Lagoons in Sri Lanka

Some observations and experiences from post-tsunami (2004) mangrove planting and ‘restoration’ work in Sri Lanka prompted us to examine the scientific basis of mangrove ‘restoration’ efforts. Since the tsunami, IUCN Sri Lanka supported a number of initiatives for improving mangroves.  Likewise, a number of donors have also supported mangrove rehabilitation projects. In 2009, several mangrove planting and ‘restoration’ initiatives were supported under the Small Grants Programme of the Mangroves for the Future Initiative (MFF) in different parts of Sri Lanka.  Varying results from the Small Grants Programme together with other observations on changes to lagoon and estuarine ecosystems made us to undertake an appraisal of mangrove planting initiatives in the country.

This appraisal had two main components, viz., colloquia and field observations.  IUCN organised the main colloquium in Colombo and a satellite colloquium in Batticaloa with stakeholder state agencies, academia, researchers, practitioners and policy makers to discuss and debate on a number of themes relating to mangrove replanting, their successes and failures, and possible effects on ecosystem health and productivity. This report embodies the findings from the colloquia supplemented with field observations, and provides some recommendations for future action.



Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka No.4, January 2003 Assessment of the Economic Value of Muthurajawela Wetland

ISBN:955-8177-19-9 Reprint price 150


Resource Material on Biodiversity for General Certificate of Education (A/Level)

ISBN: 955-8177-02-4 Sale Price: SL Rs. 200

This publication was prepared by IUCN as a resource material for the Biology syllabus of the G.C.E. Advanced Level. It gives an in-depth insight into the different aspects of biodiversity (genetic diversity, ecosystem diversity, species diversity) and describes in detail classification and nomenclature. This publication also addresses evolution of biodiversity, extinction of species and conservation of biodiversity. In addition the appendices provide an extensive resource for further reading on the subject.

Red list cover

The 2007 Red List of Threatened Fauna and Flora of Sri Lanka

The 2007 Red List of Threatened Fauna and Flora of Sri Lanka was launched on the 21st of November 2007 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo by the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources; Honorable Patali Champika Ranawaka and the Country Representative of IUCN Sri Lanka, Mrs. Shiranee Yasaratne. In their introductory addresses, the Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. M.A.R.D. Jayatilake, and Mrs. Yasaratne provided a background of the project from its inception in mid 2004. Accordingly, that year, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the Biodiversity Secretariat of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MOENR), initiated this joint project to gather information on indigenous fauna and flora in Sri Lanka and to assess their conservation status using the IUCN Global Red List criteria. During the assessment process, all groups of terrestrial vertebrate species, a few groups of invertebrates (butterflies, dragonflies, land snails, crabs, theraphosid spiders) and nearly one third of the flowering plants in Sri Lanka were evaluated. The project was closely monitored by the National Species Conservation Advisory Group (NSCAG) and the lists of threatened species were reviewed by expert teams consisting of researchers, naturalists and taxonomists. Additionally, in her speech, Mrs. Yasaratne highlighted the fact that the IUCN Red List has “an increasingly prominent role in the conservation activities of governments, NGOs and scientific institutions” within the country.

The findings of the 2007 Red List, which were clearly presented by Dr. Channa Bambaradeniya of IUCN, indicate that 21 species of endemic amphibians and 72 of the 1099 plant species evaluated could be considered Extinct, while 223 species of terrestrial vertebrates, 157 species of selected inland invertebrates and the 675 plant species evaluated can be categorized as Nationally Threatened. Of the threatened animals, 62% of vertebrates and 61% of plants are endemic to Sri Lanka and thus deserve extra attention. In addition, among the vertebrate fauna, the highest number of threatened species was recorded from the reptiles (56 or 25%), followed by amphibians, birds, mammals and freshwater fish respectively.

In terms of their relative numbers, one in every two species of mammals and amphibians, one in every three species of reptiles and freshwater fish and one in every five species of birds in the island are currently facing the risk of becoming threatened in the wild.

Due to the lack of sufficient distribution data within Sri Lanka, ten freshwater fish species, three amphibian species, 47 species of reptiles, seven species of birds and seven species of mammals were included in the Data Deficient category. Among the invertebrate species assessed, two theraphosid spider species, 29 butterfly species, 184 species of land snails and nearly 5% ,(55 species), of the evaluated plant species were also listed under the Data Deficient category. This lack of data highlights the need for further research of less well known species.

Geographically, districts in the lowland wet zone (i.e. Galle, Matara, Ratnapura, Kalutara and Kegalle) and the central highlands (Kandy, Matale, Nuwara-Eliya and Badulla) tended to harbour a higher number of threatened taxa. These districts include extremely vulnerable tropical forest ecosystems such as lowland rain forests, lower montane forests and upper montane forests, which occupy less than four percent of the land area of Sri Lanka.

The Hon. Minister highlighted that the loss of these natural habitats, due to their alteration and fragmentation, is by far the most serious threat to a majority of the species evaluated in the Red List. Prior to the close of his speech, he pledged his commitment to include the findings of the Red List into all species conservation strategies and reduce current rates of loss throughout the island. Mrs. Yasaratne summed this up by stating: “The rate of biodiversity loss is increasing and we need to act now to significantly reduce it and stave off this extinction crisis”.

In his vote of thanks, Gamini Gamage the, Director of the Biodiversity Secretariat gratefully acknowledged the donors, the Asian Development Bank (through the Protected Area Management & Wildlife Conservation Project) and the Royal Netherlands Embassy for their continued support. In addition, special recognition was given to the individuals and organisations involved, for their dedication and hard work that will help conserve threatened species for future generations.



Marine Turtle Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for Sri Lanka

ISBN : 955-8135-04-6

This was prepared as part of a comprehensive, concerted and integrated effort at a national level to make a significant headway in Sri Lanka 's marine turtle conservation. The publication aims to guide marine turtle conservation in Sri Lanka and covers strategies for in-situ and ex-situ conservation, research and monitoring, law enforcement, public awareness and education and community participation in conservation and eco-tourism.


Sri Lankan Directory of Environmental NGO's SLEJF Publication

ISBN:955-9161-29-6 Sale price: SL Rs.500

Sri Lanka Environmental Journalists Forum with the assistance of IUCN and other partners, this publication is Sri Lanka's first directory of environmental NGOs. The purpose of the directory is to help national and international NGOs and the public communicate more effectively with each other. Over 700 names, addresses, contact persons, telephone and fax numbers, email addresses and websites of NGOs from all over Sri Lanka are listed in this publication. A list of environmental academics, environmentalists, communicators, NGOs and politicians based in Sri Lanka is also


Guide to Sinharaja: A Biodiversity Hotspot of the World

ISBN : 955-8177-53-1


Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka No 9 A Biodiversity Status Profile of Anaiwilundawa Sanctuary- A Ramsar Wetland in the Western Dry Zone of Sri Lanka

ISBN : 955-8177-42-3


Ley man's Guide to the Convention on Migratory Species

ISBN :955-8177-48-2



ISBN: 955-8177-40-7 Sale price: Rs. 300


Tropical Rainforests: A Resource Book for Secondary School Teachers

ISBN: 955-8177-39-3 Sale Price: SL Rs.400


Wetland Conservation in Sri Lanka

ISBN 955-8177-34-2 sale Price Rs. 400.00

This publication presents the proceedings of the National Symposium on Wetland Conservation and Management held on 19th-20th June 2003 in Colombo. An Introduction to Wetland Conservation in Sri Lanka is followed by ten papers on various themes on wetlands presented by eminent scientists along with the recommendations arising from the symposium.


Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka No.5, March 2004 A Biodiversity Status Profile of Sub-tidal and Inter-tidal Habitats of the Rekawa, Ussangoda and Kalametiya Area

ISBN 955-8177-32-6 Sale price: SL Rs.300 Reprint price 150


A Comparison of the conservation and legal status of the Fauna and Flora of Sri Lanka

ISBN 955-8177-18-0

This publication aims to support species conservation in Sri Lanka by providing a reference for the purpose of ensuring that legal protection within and beyond Sri Lanka is afforded to the species most in need of it. The publication thus sets out the current conservation as well as the legal status of a significant number of native faunal and floral species of Sri Lanka, at the national and international levels in order to identify any inconsistencies between the conservation and legal statuses that may exist in relation to each species covered. Consequently, the study also examines the relationship between the conservation status of national species populations and the conservation status of the same species at the global level.


Haritha Hasuna Quarterly Newsletter of IUCN Sri Lanka

ISSN 1391-8702

Quarterly Newsletter of IUCN Sri Lanka
Initiated in 2002 with financial assistance from the Royal Netherlands Government, the Haritha Hasuna Newsletter features environmental topics of general interest. The World summit on sustainable development, Multilateral Environmental Agreements, Wetlands, Tropical Rain forests and Mangroves are some of the topics. 'Haitha Hasuna' is disseminated free of charge to all government schools with A/L science, public libraries and government departments.


Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka No.2, November 2002 A Biodiversity Status Profile of Bundala National Park A Ramsar Wetland in Sri Lanka

ISBN 955-8177-16-4 Reprint price Rs. 150

Recent studies have indicated that Bundala, the first Ramsar wetland of Sri Lanka, has been subjected to various threats due to degradation. This survey intends to document the present status of this protected area. This publication includes a checklist of the fauna and flora of Bundala as well as descriptions of the different habitats found the national park. By describing the threats faced by bundala and suggesting strategies for conservation, this publication intends to contribute to the protection and conservation of this globally important wetland.


Orchids of Sri Lanka A Conservationist's companion A Simplified Guide to Identification The protected orchids and selected similar species

ISBN 955-8177-23-7 Sale price: SL Rs.500

A Conservationist's companion
This guide seeks to provide an easy to use reference for identifying the native orchid species whose collection and trade is currently regulated by law in Sri Lanka. The dearth of such reference material is an impediment to the enforcement of the laws that regulate the collection of and trade in such species in Sri Lanka, particularly due to the difficulty in differentiating between protected species and those that are not protected but look similar


Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka No.3, December 2002 An Assessment of the Status of Biodiversity in the Muthurajawela Wetland Sanctuary

ISBN 955-8177-17-2 Reprint price Rs. 150

To safeguard the ecological functions, resources and values of the Muthurajawela wetland sanctuary, IUCN Sri Lanka undertook a systematic survey to document the present status of biodiversity in this coastal wetland. This paper intends to highlight the biodiversity of Muthurajawela, and provide scientific knowledge in a simplified manner to facilitate future initiatives to conserve this valuable coastal wetland ecosystem. An Assessment of the Status of Biodiversity in the Maduganga Mangrove Estuary.
With a view to contributing towards safeguarding the ecological functions, resources and values of the Maduganga estuary for conservation and future sustenance of biodiversity, IUCN Sri Lanka undertook a systematic survey to document the status of biodiversity in this coastal wetland. This paper intends to highlight the biodiversity of Maduganga, and provide scientific knowledge in a simplified manner to facilitate future initiatives to conserve this valuable coastal wetland ecosystem.


Trekking in the Knuckles Forest A Guide to Alugallena, Dekinda and Nitre cave nature trails

This guide seeks to provide vital information for the trekkers using Alugallena, Dekinda and nitre cave nature trails. The guide includes an introduction to the Knuckles forest range, useful tips and advice to trekkers and maps of the trails mentioned with lists of identified fauna and flora found along the trails.


Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka No.1, November 2002 An Assessment of the Status of Biodiversity in the Maduganga Mangrove Estuary.

ISBN: 955-8177-15-6 Reprint price Rs. 150


Coral Reefs A resource book for secondary school students

ISBN 955-8177-21-0

A resource book for secondary school students
This resource book is targeted to secondary school teachers for use as supplementary resource material, particularly when teaching the subject of biodiversity to Advanced Level students. In order to ensure maximum usage, it has been prepared in English and two national languages Sinhala and Tamil. The book contains colour photographs and diagrams, which would assist in demonstrating the beauty and vulnerability of this valuable marine resource.


The 1999 List of Threatened Fauna and Flora of Sri Lanka.

ISBN: 955-8177-01-6 Sale Price: SL Rs. 400

This publication seeks to provide a list of the species of fauna and flora in Sri Lanka, which are under threat. Indicated in this list is the status of each species, and the degree to which it is endangered. This publication also describes the criteria that are used to evaluate species.


A Guide to the Biodiversity of Knuckles Forest Region

ISBN:955-8177-20-2 Sale prices Rs 350.00 (if purchased from IUCN SL office.) Rs 400.00 (sale price at book shops)

The guide provides detailed insight of the biodiversity of the Knuckles forest region gathered during the course of IUCN's extensive fieldwork in the area, it became evident that Knuckles range of forests has tremendous potential for eco-tourism, with its unique blend of nature, culture and adventure. The rich diversity of plants and animals, varying landscapes, panoramic scenery, traditional villages and adventurous treks will certainly be a rewarding experience for a visitor to Knuckles.


Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka No6, May 2004

ISBN:955-8177-33-4 Sale price: SL Rs.300

This trilingual publication provides secondary school teachers in Sri Lanka with supplementary teaching material on tropical rain forests. The book provides them with additional information for classroom work as well as outdoor activities particularly when teaching the subject of biodiversity to Advanced Level students.


Guide to Bundala - A Guide to the Biodiversity of Bundala National Park - a Ramsar Wetland in Sri Lanka

ISBN: 955-8177-12-1 Sale Price: SL Rs.200

The information presented in this guide is based on a recent survey on the status of biodiversity associated with the Bundala National Park, carried out by IUCN Sri Lanka. The systematic assessment has enabled to document the habitats, animals and plant species that are currently present in Bundala. As many local and international tourists visit the park, it is envisaged that this general guide will contribute towards increased awareness regarding this globally important site


Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka No7, February 200 5 Multiple Benefits of Small Irrigation Tanks and their Economic Value A case study in the Kala Oya basin, Sri Lanka

ISBN:955-8177-37-7 Sale price: Rs. 300

IUCN Sri Lanka