Sri Lanka’s pledge to restore 200,000 hectares of its forest cover under the Bonn Challenge aligns with the country’s commitment to increase national forest cover to 32% by 2030. Increasing mangrove forest cover by at least 5% in the country can make drastic contributions to achieve this target. Mangrove forests act as a natural carbon sink and a buffer zone between land and sea. Restoring mangroves can not only provide better protection to our shorelines but also help achieve multiple global goals including several Sustainable Development Goals and goals related to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Joining local and global efforts to increase forest cover, SLYCAN Trust has made allocations for 6,000 mangrove plants under its new project, implemented in collaboration with Mitsubishi Corporation.
Recently, a team of SLYCAN Trust researchers made several site visits along with subject experts and our partners to select sites for mangrove restoration, and to conduct a biodiversity assessment to determine the suitability of each site to implement the project activities. With support and guidance of the Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA), the team selected three sites: two sites in Mangala Eliya and one site in Mundel Lagoon. Under the supervision of Dr. Manoj Prasaana Rodrigo, a technical expert in the field, the team initiated the process of biodiversity assessment. Together, they started evaluating existing flora and fauna in each site and identifying mangrove species suitable for each environment.
This project is yet another continued effort by our team to promote blue carbon ecosystems to mitigate adverse impacts of climate change. In many previous occasions, SLYCAN Trust implemented activities to restore and conserve mangroves in areas such as Kaputhoo lagoon, Kalpitiya, Dikkowita and Mannar, in collaboration with several government entities. Such activities also promoted developing livelihood opportunities, eco-tourism and sustainable mechanisms for waste management in the selected areas. A key target of such activities has also been to ensure community and youth engagement and to give them a sense of ownership to sustain their participation.
With the help of youth and community in the area, our team planted 1500 mangroves in 2019, and another 1500 plants in 2020 in several selected sites in Kalpitiya. Another 50 mangroves were planted in Dikovita in 2020 where the team also engaged in a beach cleanup and waste management related activities. During the recent field visits, the team also monitored mangroves planted in aforesaid locations. Learning from previous experience, our team is now ready to make new additions to the existing mangrove forest cover in the country.
SLYCAN Trust is a non-profit think tank. It has been a registered legal entity in the form of a trust since 2016, and a guarantee limited company since 2019. The entities focus on the thematic areas of climate change, adaptation and resilience, sustainable development, environmental conservation and restoration, social justice, and animal welfare. SLYCAN Trust’s activities include legal and policy research, education and awareness creation, capacity building and training, and implementation of ground level action. SLYCAN Trust aims to facilitate and contribute to multi-stakeholder driven, inclusive and participatory actions for a sustainable and resilient future for all.