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  • Thushani Seneviratne

Biodiversity of forest fragments in the central highlands

Biodiversity of forest fragments in the central highlands: A comparison between an isolated forest fragment (Dunumadallawa) and one in close proximity to a large protected area (Duckwari)

As a science graduate from the Faculty of Applied Sciences, Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka I majored in biodiversity conservation. I had an undying love for wildlife since I was little and it was revived with the subjects like biodiversity conservation, Protected Area management, etc which I studied in the university. Availability of accurate scientific data on wildlife of Sri Lanka can be considered as a luxury. So I always wanted to do my final year research in relation to biodiversity and its conservation. And through our senior students who have been previously worked as research students and now involved as full time research assistants I came to know about the WWCT. And after meeting the main trustees of WWCT, Mr. Andrew Kittle and Mrs. Anjali Watson, with their helpful guidance my final year research began in October 2011. It was basically about comparing biodiversity between Duckwari forest fragment which is in close proximity to Kunckles ‘Conservation Forest and Dunumadallawa reserve. I have surveyed floral and faunal biodiversity within Duckwari forest fragment and compared it with the already taken data from the Dunumadallawa reserve which borders highly populated Kandy city. Plants, birds, butterflies, amphibians and mammals were surveyed during the study. Apart from learning how to survive in the field with limited resources and still getting the needed data accurately, I have learned how to overcome the difficulties arising while doing actual field work. I’ve seen endemic and rare species closely which made all the problems we faced during the study disappear into the thin air. I still remember the last day of the field work. I was overwhelmed by not only by joy but also by sorrow since I had to leave the field and return back to the urban locality. Data gained from the research has put a new light on the importance of remaining forest patches which harbors important native and endemic fauna and flora of the country and these forest patches are typically surrounded by non forest matrix. Apart from that these kinds of researches are also significant because of the conversion of the remnant forest patches into privately managed reserves is in vogue within the island at present. So at the end of the day I felt relived since I did something for the conservation of biodiversity of Sri Lanka and I feel proud that data taken by myself is also included to paint the complete picture of biodiversity conservation of the island. And want to take this opportunity to thank WWCT for giving me this remarkable chance and to its trustees, researches and volunteers for their loving support and guidance. And I would like to specially thank Darshika and family for their love and support given me during the research period.

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