The backbone of the project is large-scale social mobilization through awareness campaigns, which are used to motivate volunteer participation. Environmental awareness brings about a reassessment of the value of trees to ensure that their ongoing maintenance, protection and propagation continue beyond the initial implementation phase, thereby ensuring high survival rates for the trees.
PATT has completed intensive research and conservation & reduce land degradation at the MAGURU River Basin, which has an area of 11 km2. It includes Boralugoda and surrounding villages. It has the riches diversity of aquatic in Sri Lanka. This small area consists of many intertwining streams. The percentage of streams is higher than anywhere else in Sri Lanka. In the Maguru River Basin 51 species of fresh water fish has been discovered, 21 of these are endemic to Sri Lanka, the highest number of freshwater fish in Sri Lanka.
Long Term benefits
Overall the implementation of reforestation projects will increase the amount of natural forest. Globally this has great significance to issues such as climate change. Around 20% of all global carbon emissions come from deforestation. Implementing reforestation projects is one such way to address the global carbon crisis. The long terms benefits of reforestation also positively impact the local people and communities through the promotion of their conservation activities. For example in areas that have undergone environmental restoration there is typically the option for communities to generate extra income from selling traditional products generated from the forest and also developing the restoration site for eco-tourism. The forests also provide useful locations for schools and students to visit; they will use the sites as learning centers or outdoor classrooms.
Forest restoration methodology
PATT Foundation aims to implement forest restoration projects that provide multiple benefits, primarily to establish quality habitat for wildlife, increase biodiversity and sequester carbon dioxide.
Birds and mammals, attracted to the plots, bring with them the seeds of many other forest trees and thus help to re-establish a species-rich forest tree community similar to that of the original forest. Planted trees restore forest structure, whilst the animals attracted to them restore biodiversity.
Furthermore when selecting a site to undergo restoration we try to maximize its potential benefit to the environment. For example using remote sensing techniques we can select site locations that will provide linkages between existing forests and therefore will create important wildlife corridors.
A PATT representative will identify a location where trees can be planted in mass. Locations should be such that benefits to the area will include:
Reduce erosion alongside rivers
Increase biodiversity of the area.
Community get benefit from the trees for various proposes.
The seedlings would be transported to each area and stored prior to planting.
On a chosen day, the volunteers would plant some of the trees in the various locations. The rest would be planted by hired labor, supervised by a field officer.
All trees planted will be (geo) tagged and a board, mentioning the donors, will be erected at the site
Thereafter, a field officer along with local hire will take up the responsibility of monitoring the maintenance of the trees for the next 2 years. In case of mortality, the field officer would discuss with those responsible for daily care and replant the trees.
A stick with highlighted end should stand next to each plant to locate easily. The growth rate should be measured in selected plants.
Trees to Plant:
Only indigenous species that adapt strongly to open areas and revering plants will be introduced along the two small streams starting from the hill. Among the trees, some other small plants that have a medicinal value to the community will be planted.
Species to be planted are all native. Some of the proposed species to plant are (please find the pictures on later pages): Dipterocarpus zeylanicum, Canarium zeylanicum, Vitex altissima, Elaecparpus subvillosus, Putranjiva zeylanica,Dillenia triquetra, Shumacheria castaneifolia, Mangifera zeylanicum, Bridela mooni. All are suitable indigenous plants for open areas.
pic. 1 -Bridela mooni pic. 2- Dillenia triquetra & Albizia sp. pic. 3 - Putranjira zeylanica
The planting area is situated in Kudumirishena Protected Area of Kaluthara District in Western Province, Sri Lanka. The area is about 90 km from Colombo and it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive by car.
Kudumirishena was declared as a protected area in 2007.
It is an area with tropical rain forest patches introduced acacia plantation and barren lands with fern Gleichenia linearis. There are two main lands with this invasive fern in Kudumirishena which is proposed for new planting site. But in these two sites it is possible to plant up to 15,000 trees. Time by time fire has burnt these lands which are set by the people. It is important to create fire belts to protect the trees from fire. The local community can get involved for tree planting and creating fire belts.