THE PATCH FOREST PROJECT - GAL OYA LODGE PROPERTY
The Patch Forest Project – Gal Oya Lodge Property
The Gal Oya Lodge property is one of a group of the WWCT’s Patch Forest Project study sites. This property is in the vicinity of the larger Gal Oya National Park/Nilgala Sanctuary wilderness complex. At approximately 8ha in size, this parcel of land consists of regenerating chena (slash-and-burn) lands, secondary forests, riparian forests, and grassland. The WWCT began its research on this property in 2017, with an aim to monitor the use, connectivity, and refuge provided to wildlife by these small, remnant and/or regenerating forests. Understanding how wildlife, focusing on the leopard and other wild cats, are using these patches and corridors is important for long-term landscape-level conservation planning.
The WWCT conducts mammal surveys that utilize remote camera techniques to quantify and record biodiversity. Bird and Butterfly surveys allow us to monitor the seasonal use of this patch forest by resident and migratory species. Nighttime surveys allow us to observe and survey the herpetofauna diversity of the area and give us a glimpse of the infrequently sited nocturnal life of this patch forest. Our ongoing research within the larger Gal Oya/Nilgala complex also helps identify possible forest connections for Sri Lanka’s wide-ranging apex predator, the leopard, in this part of the country.
With the aid of interested landowners, such as with the Gal Oya Lodge Property, the WWCT hopes to highlight the importance of patch forests in the role of conservation to obtain a higher level of protection for the wilderness and wildlife. Eventually, the WWCT would like to establish a chain of such patch forests that will act as steppingstones of connectivity and forest cover through Sri Lanka’s wilderness areas.
For more details on the research conducted at this site, please see the 2017 annual report.
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