The island nation of Sri Lanka has many connections to India, geologically, biologically and culturally. Yet it is a distinct entity with numerous unique features. The island, located south east of the Indian peninsula, is composed of plains, low hills and a central mountainous area. I have been very interested to observe parallels and connections it its landscape and biodiversity with the Western Ghats.



Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands have been recognized for their significant biodiversity. The area is a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site yet (adopted in 2010) and there is a growing awareness about its unique flora and fauna. The Highlands are composed of the mountainous region at the heart of the southern island and include significant areas such as Peak Wilderness, Horton Plains National Park, the Pidurutalagala forests, the Knuckles protected area and several smaller tracts of forest. Most of the Central Highlands have largely been cleared of original vegetation in support of the plantation (mainly tea) industry. This happened during the 19th and early 20th centuries during colonial rule though recent decades have seen loss of forest to hydroelectric dams, plantations expansion and other human land uses. Today the remaining protected areas may be a small percentage of the total area, but they are well protected and offer the opportunity to experience some of Sri Lanka’s unique biodiversity.


Sri Lanka’s Sinharaja rainforest has gained significant attention in the past few decades for its biodiversity and large protected area of forest in a densely populated corner of the island nation. It remains a veritable oasis of the lowland tropical rainforest vegetation that once covered much larger areas of the island’s “wet-zone.”
Moonstone Pan 2(2017 ed)(06)(2010).jpg


Sri Lanka’s rich history comes alive in the lithic sites across the island. In these sites the interplay between the natural environment- its tropical humid monsoon climate and the artistic genius of humanity can be experienced first hand. Sacred architecture, mainly Buddhist, but also from the other great faiths of Asia are prominent. Natural elements, weather it be motifs of animals at play, or the engineered irrigation systems that provided water in times of drought are central in Sri Lankan heritage sites…