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Forest Types of Sri Lanka

Forest Connections


Forest Classification

Characteristics (Annual Avg.)

Approximate Extent (Sq. km) On Island

Districts Containing Forest Type *

Montane Forest 

Above 1500 m elevation Temperatures ~ 15 ° C Rainfall > 1800 mm with no moisture deficit period 


Nuwera Eliya, Kandy, Badulla, Matale, Ratnapura 

Sub-Montane Forest 

Within elevations of 1000 m to 1500 Temperatures 15 ° – 20 ° C Rainfall > 1800 mm 


Nuwera Eliya, Ratnapura, Kandy, Matale, Badulla, Kegalle, Matara, Anuradhapura, Monaragala 

Lowland Rain Forest 

Extending from the Coastal plains to 1000 m Temperatures > 20 ° C Rainfall > 2500 mm no moisture deficit period Vegetation –visible lichen and liana species 


Ratnapura, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Kandy, Matale, Kegalle, Nuwera Eliya, Colombo, Badulla, Monaragala, Gampaha 

Moist Monsoon Forest 

Found at < 1000 m Rainfall 1800 – 2500 mm with a peak from October – January with a dry period of 3 months following. 


Monaragala, Polonnaruwa, Ampara, Matale, Badulla, Batticaloa, Ratnapura, Kandy, Nuwera Eliya, Matara, Kurunagala, Hambantota, Gampaha, Trincomalee 

Dry Monsoon Forest 

Has a distinct season: a rainfall peak from mid October to January (coinciding with monsoon rains) and a dry period for 3-6 months. Vegetation is semi diciduouse. At elevations of < 600 m often on slopes.Rainfall 1000 – 1800 mm 


Anuradhapura, Mullaitivu, Monaragala, Mannar, Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Puttalam, Ampara, Polonnaruwa, Killinochchi, Battocaloa, Hambantota, Matale, Kurunagala, Ratnapura, Badulla, Jaffna, Matara 

Riverine Dry Forest 

Found along flood plains and river valleys. < 600 m Rainfall 1000 – 1800 mm 


Ampara, Monaragala, Hambantota, Trincomalee, Puttalam, Mannar, Polonnaruwa 

Mangrove Forest 

Present along intertidal sheltered coastlines, usually associated with river mouths and lagoons. Vegetation usually consisting of Rhyzophora species 


Puttalam, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Mannar, Hambantota, Mullaitivu, Killinochchi, Ampara, Jaffna, Galle, Gampaha, Kalutara, Matara 

* Districts are listed in order of highest hectare of forest type cover

Sparse forests totaling ~ 4,638 Sq. km are spread out throughout the island within all 25 districts. With Anuradhapura, Monaragala, Mullaitivu, Ampara, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Mannar and Vavuniya having the highest concentrations.


Source: H.M Bandaratillaka. 1997. Arujana’s Atlas of Sri Lanka.

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