|Udawattakele Forest Reserve|
IUCN category IV (habitat/species management area)
Udawattakele seen in the background of Temple of the Tooth
|Location||Central province, Sri Lanka|
|Nearest city||in the city limits of Kandy|
|Area||103 hectares (0.40 sq mi)|
|Established||1856 (Forest reserve)|
|Governing body||Department of Wildlife Conservation|
Udawattakele Forest Reserve often spelled as Udawatta Kele, is a historic forest reserve on a hill-ridge in the city of Kandy. It is 104 hectares (257 acres) large. During the days of the Kandyan kingdom, Udawattakele was known as "Uda Wasala Watta" in Sinhalese meaning "the garden above the royal palace". The sanctuary is famous for its extensive avifauna. The reserve also contains a great variety of plant species, especially lianas, shrubs and small trees. There are several giant lianas. Many of small and medium size mammals that inhabit Sri Lanka can be seen here. Several kinds of snakes and other reptiles might be seen. Udawattakele was designated as a forest reserve in 1856, and it became a sanctuary in 1938.
The Sri Lanka Forest Department has two offices in the reserve, one of which (at the southeastern entrance) has a nature education centre with a display of pictures, posters, stuffed animals, etc. Being easily accessible and containing a variety of flora and fauna the forest has a great educational and recreational value. Groups of school children and students regularly visit the forest and the education centre. The forest is also popular with foreign tourists, especially bird watchers. Scientific nature research has been carried out in the forest by researchers. The forest is of religious importance as there are three Buddhist meditation hermitages and three rock shelter dwellings for Buddhist monk hermits.
It has been recorded that the brahmin called Senkanda, from whose name the city's original name Senkandagalapura derives, lived in a cave in this forest.The rock-shelter or cave now known as the Senkandagala-lena is on the slope above the temple of the tooth and can be visited. The Senkandagala-lena collapsed in a landslide in 2012. The legend says the brahmin brought a sapling of Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi here and planted it in the present site of Natha Devala. It was used as a pleasure garden by the Kandyan kings. The forest was reserved for the Royal family, and the pond in the forest was used for bathing. The public was restricted from accessing the forest hence the name Thahanci kele (Sinhalese for Forbidden forest).
During the colonial era some of the land near the Temple of the Tooth was used to build the Kandy garrison cemetery.In 1834 governor Horton built a path, Lady Horton's drive, in the forest in remembrance of his wife. Henry W. Cave mentions the trail is about three miles long. Lady McCarthy's drive, Lady Torrington's road, Lady Gordon's road, Lady Anderson's road, Gregory path, Russell path, and Byrde lane are the other named walks in the forest. Some have gone in disuse long ago and are overgrown by the forest.
On two hilltops in the southeastern side of the forest the overgrown remains of a garrison post from the first British occupation of the Kandyan Kingdomcan be found. It is located in the jungle on the elevated areas to the east and west of the nature education centre. Ramparts and moats can still be seen in the jungle. On 24 June 1803 the forces of King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha attacked this post where the British troops were stationed in Kandy and made the garrison (mostly consisting of Malay and 'Gun Lascar' or Sepoy mercenaries) prisoners. Most of the British were later massacred.
Udawattakele is located on a hill ridge stretching between the Temple of the Tooth and the Uplands-Aruppola housing schemes. The highest point of the ridge (7°17'55.41"N, 80°38'40.04"O) is 635 meters above sea level and 115 meters above the nearby Kandy Lake.
The sanctuary contains three Buddhist forest monasteries, i.e., Forest Hermitage, Senanayakaramaya and Tapovanaya, and three cave dwellings for Buddhist monks, i.e., Cittavisuddhi-lena, Maitri-lena and Senkadandagala-lena. The sanctuary acts as a catchment area for the supply of water to the city of Kandy.
The visitors' entrance is on the western side of the forest, about 15–20 minutes walking from the Temple of the Tooth. From the Temple of the Tooth, go north along the D.S. Senanayaka Veediya road and after half a kilometer turn right at the post office near the Kandy Municipality, and follow the road up the hill. The entrance is on the right side of the Tapovanaya Monastery.
There is parking space for cars and vans near the entrance and a refreshment stall. The entrance fee for Sri Lankan visitors is Rs. 30,-; the fee for foreign visitors is Rs. 570,-. Sri Lankan visitors have to register and leave their identity card at the entrance. Amorous unmarried couples are not allowed to enter the forest. The shady lovers' walk, which runs along the banks of the royal pond, is the most popular walk.
During rainy weather there are leeches lurking along paths that will attempt to suck blood from the feet and legs of unwary visitors. Mosquito repellent or herbal balms such as Siddhalepa will protect against them.
The vegetation of the park comprises dense forest, mostly abandoned plantations and secondary formations.According to Hitanayake, perhaps basing himself on Karunaratne (1986, Appendix XIII) 460 plant species were growing in the forest, 135 tree and shrub species and 11 are lianas. These include 9 endemic species.
In 2013, a survey identified 58 indigenous tree species (7 endemic), 61 indigenous shrub and small tree species (7 endemic), 31 indigenous herbs (3 endemic) of which 12 are orchids, and 57 indigenous lianas, creepers and vines (4 endemic).The forest features an emergent layer, a canopy and an understory. Because of the dense two upper layers, understory is not present everywhere, especially in areas with the invasive balsam of Peru tree, ( Myroxylon balsamum ), Mahogany trees, ( Swietenia macrophylla ) and Devil's Ivy (see Threats section below).
A great variety of plant species are found in the relatively unspoilt northern and eastern sides of the forest. Some common indigenous tree and shrub species are Acronychia pedunculata (Sinhalese: "ankenda"), Artocarpus nobilis ("wal del"), Artocarpus heterophyllus ("kos"), Caryota urens ("kitul"), Aglaia elaeagnoidea ("puwanga"), Bombax ceiba ("katu imbul"), Canarium zeylanicum , Cinnamomum verum ("kurundu", cinnamon), Ficus virens , Filicium decipiens ("pihimbiya"), Aphananthe cuspidata ("wal-munamal"), Goniothalamus gardneri , Haldina cordifolia , Hunteria zeylanica , Mallotus tetracoccus , Mesua ferrea ("na", iron-wood), Michelia champaca ("sapu"), Mangifera zeylanica ("atamba"), Neoclitsea cassia ("dawul kurundu”, wild cinnamon), Glycosmis pentaphylla (orangeberry, doda-pana), Litsea quinqueflora , Micromelum minitum ("wal karapuncha"), Pavetta blanda , Psychotria nigra , Vitex pinnata ("milla") and Walsura gardneri .There are many climber and liana species growing in the Udawattakele forest, most notable is the giant Sea Bean climber Entada rheedii ("Pus Wel"). Some other species are Anamirta cocculus ("Tittawel”), Diploclisia glaucescens , Hiptage bengalensis , Hypserpa nitida ("Niriwel"), Morinda umbellata ("Kiri-wel"), and Paramignya monophylla . The Udawattakele contains many full-grown rattan palms, ''Calamus'' (palm), of which there are two species. Some of the climbing palms here are over 25 meters long, growing up and over trees. Elsewhere in Sri Lanka rattan palms are often cut down when young for making rattan.
Orchid species, mostly epiphytic, include Cymbidium bicolor , Luisa teretifolia , Polystachya concreta , Thrixspermum pulchellum , Tropidia curculigoides and Vanda testacea .
The sanctuary is home to many species of non-flowering plants, pteridophytes, such as the many kinds of ferns growing on steep banks along the shady road on the eastern side of the hill ridge.The invasive glossy maidenhair fern (Adiantum pulverulentum) is said to crowd away native fern species, some of which are rare and not recorded elsewhere in Sri Lanka.
About half of the forest, mostly on the southwestern side, is heavily invaded by exotic tree and creeper species. In these areas very little native vegetation and fauna is able to survive; see the Threats section below. In total 16 exotic tree species grow in the forest (7 of which are invasive), as well as 6 exotic shrub species (one, Coffea, is invasive), 6 exotic liana and creeper species (of which three are invasive), and 6 exotic herbs (one of which is invasive).
Udawattakele is a famous birdwatching site. About 80 bird species have been recorded in the sanctuary.The endemic bird species are Layard's parakeet, yellow-fronted barbet, brown-capped babbler and Sri Lanka hanging parrot . The rare three-toed kingfisher Ceyx erythacus has been observed occasionally at the pond. Common hill myna, golden-fronted leafbird, blue-winged leafbird, spotted dove, emerald dove, Tickell's blue flycatcher, white-rumped shama, crimson-fronted barbet, brown-headed barbet crested serpent eagle, and brown fish owl are regularly seen and heard in the forest.
Despite the forest reserve being completely surrounded by Kandy and its suburbs, there are many kinds of mammals, most of which are nocturnal. Endemic mammals that live in the sanctuary are the pale-fronted toque macaque (Macaca sinica aurifrons), golden palm civet, mouse deer (Moschiola meminna), slender loris, and the dusky palm squirrel. Other mammals are the Indian muntjac, Indian boar, porcupine (Hysterix indica), Asian palm civet, small Indian civet, ruddy mongoose, Indian giant flying squirrel, greater bandicoot rat, Indian pangolin, greater false vampire bat, and Indian flying-fox.
Several kinds of reptiles and amphibians, including endemic species, inhabit the forest. There are snakes such as the common hump-nosed pit viper ( Hypnale hypnale ), green vine snake ( Ahaetulla nasuta ), green pit viper ( Trimeresurus trigonocephalus ), banded kukri ( Oligodon arnensis ), Boie's rough-sided snake ( Aspidura brachyorrhos ) Sri Lanka cat snake ( Boiga ceylonensis ), Oriental ratsnake ( Ptyas mucosus ) and spectacled cobra ( Naja naja ). Lizards that can be seen include the green forest lizard ( Calotes calotes ), Sri Lanka kangaroo-lizard ( Otocryptis wiegmanni ) and the whistling lizard ( Calotes liolepis ). Many species of skinks, geckos, frogs and toads also inhabit the forest.
Some Sri Lanka wet zone butterflies are present.Other invertebrate include giant forest scorpions Heterometrus spp., spiders such as the poisonous Sri Lankan ornamental tarantula (Poecilotheria fasciata), fireflies, beetles, jewel bugs, bees and wasps. At least nine species of endemic land snails such as the large Acavus superbus live in the forest.
Udawattakele Forest Reserve has suffered from encroachment by squatters and land grabbing by surrounding land ownersin the past. But the forest ecosystem is now mainly threatened by highly invasive, introduced exotic plant species that increasingly crowd native plant and tree species and the animals and insects that live on them. The invasive tree and creeper species have no natural enemies such as diseases or insects and animals that feed on them and therefore grow and multiply much more rapidly than in their native habitats. About half of the forest is already heavily or completely invaded and smothered by exotic, invasive trees and creepers.
Introduced species pose the biggest threat to the natural biodiversity of the Udawattakele forest:
Severely degraded forest areas are between the Temple of the Tooth, the forest department office at the western entrance, and the slopes northeast of the royal pond. A few patches of unspoiled forest, with mostly native species of trees and shrubs, remain on the northern and eastern sides of the forest. There is a patch of native forest, near the forest department office at the southeastern entrance.
Despite the forest being of great educational, scientific, ecological, historical and cultural value, the Forest Department has no management plan to maintain the biodiversity and remove the invasive species to restore and protect the native vegetation. Necessary control measures would be the uprooting of seedlings, collecting and destroying seeds, and removal of mother trees and creepers.
Kandy is a major city in Sri Lanka located in the Central Province. It was the last capital of the ancient kings' era of Sri Lanka. The city lies in the midst of hills in the Kandy plateau, which crosses an area of tropical plantations, mainly tea. Kandy is both an administrative and religious city and is also the capital of the Central Province. Kandy is the home of the Temple of the Tooth Relic, one of the most sacred places of worship in the Buddhist world. It was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1988. Historically the local Buddhist rulers resisted Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial expansion and occupation.
Horton Plains National Park is a national park in the central highlands of Sri Lanka that was designated in 1988. It is located at an elevation of 2,100–2,300 m (6,900–7,500 ft) and encompasses montane grassland and cloud forest. It is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. It is also a popular tourist destination and is situated 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from Ohiya, 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the world-famous Ohiya Gap/Dondra Watch and 32 kilometres (20 mi) from Nuwara Eliya.
Udawalawe National Park lies on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces, in Sri Lanka. The national park was created to provide a sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River, as well as to protect the catchment of the reservoir. The reserve covers 30,821 hectares (119.00 sq mi) of land area and was established on 30 June 1972. Before the designation of the national park, the area was used for shifting cultivation. The farmers were gradually removed once the national park was declared. The park is 165 kilometres (103 mi) from Colombo. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan elephants. It is a popular tourist destination and the third most visited park in the country.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a forest reserve and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Coffea arabica, also known as the Arabian coffee, "coffee shrub of Arabia", "mountain coffee" or "arabica coffee", is a species of Coffea. It is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated, and is the dominant cultivar, representing about 60% of global production. Coffee produced from the robusta bean makes up most of the remaining coffee production. Arabica coffee was first found in Yemen and documented by the 12th century. Coffea arabica is called بُنّ in Arabic, borrowed from the.
Mesua ferrea, the Ceylon ironwood, or cobra saffron, is a species in the family Calophyllaceae. This slow-growing tree is named after the heaviness and hardness of its timber. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental due to its graceful shape, grayish-green foliage with a beautiful pink to red flush of drooping young leaves, and large, fragrant white flowers. It is native to wet, tropical parts of Sri Lanka, India, southern Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Indochina, the Philippines, Malaysia and Sumatra, where it grows in evergreen forests, especially in river valleys. In the eastern Himalayas and Western Ghats in India it grows up to altitudes of 1,500 m (4,900 ft), while in Sri Lanka up to 1,000 m (3,300 ft). It is national tree of Sri Lanka, state tree of Mizoram and state flower of Tripura.
Myroxylon is a genus of Fabaceae native to Latin America.
The Deccan thorn scrub forests are a xeric shrubland ecoregion of south India and northern Sri Lanka. Historically this area was covered by tropical dry deciduous forest, but this only remains in isolated fragments. The vegetation now consists of mainly of southern tropical thorn scrub type forests. These consist of open woodland with thorny trees with short trunks and low, branching crowns; spiny and xerophytic shrubs; and dry grassland. This is the habitat of the great Indian bustard and blackbuck, though these and other animals are declining in numbers; this area was at one time home to large numbers of elephants and tigers. Almost 350 species of bird have been recorded here. The remaining natural habitat is threatened by overgrazing and invasive weeds, but there are a number of small protected areas which provide a haven for the wildlife. Trees in these forests have adapted to not require much water.
The Sri Lanka montane rain forests is an ecoregion found above 1,000 m in the central highlands of Sri Lanka. Owing to their rich biodiversity, this region considered a super-hotspot within the endemism hotspot of global importance. These forests are cooler than lowland forests and therefore they have ideal conditions for growth of cloud forests. These forests classifications tropical sub montane forest, tropical sub-montane and tropical upper montane. Half of Sri Lanka's endemic flowering plants and 51 percent of the endemic vertebrates are restricted to these forests. More than 34 percent of Sri Lanka's endemic trees, shrubs, and herbs can only be found in this ecoregion. Twisted, stunted trees are a common sight in these forests, together with many varieties of orchids, mosses and ferns. The trees of montane rain forests grow to a height 10–15 meters, shorter than the lowland rain forest trees. These high altitude forests are the catchment area for most of Sri Lanka's major rivers.
Taruga eques is a species of frog in the family Rhacophoridae. It is endemic to the central hills of Sri Lanka.
Nyanatiloka Mahathera, born as Anton Walther Florus Gueth, was one of the earliest westerners in modern times to become a Bhikkhu, a fully ordained Buddhist monk.
The Knuckles Mountain Range lies in central Sri Lanka, in the Districts of Matale and Kandy. The range takes its name from a series of recumbent folds and peaks in the west of the massif which resemble the knuckles of clenched fist when viewed from certain locations in the Kandy District. Whilst this name was assigned by early British surveyors, the Sinhalese residents have traditionally referred to the area as Dumbara Kanduvetiya meaning Mist-laden Mountain Range.
The Sri Lanka lowland rain forests represents Sri Lanka's Tropical rainforests below 1,000 m (3,281 ft) in elevation in the southwestern part of the island. The year-around warm, wet climate together with thousands years of isolation from mainland India have resulted in the evolution of numerous plants and animal species that can only be found in rain forests in Sri Lanka. The thick forest canopy is made up of over 150 species of trees, some of the emergent layer reaching as high as 45 m (148 ft). The lowland rain forests accounts for 2.14 percent of Sri Lanka's land area. This ecoregion is the home of the jungle shrew, a small endemic mammal of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has the highest density of amphibian species worldwide. Many of these, including 250 species of tree frogs, live in these rain forests.
Bundala National Park is an internationally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala harbors 197 species of birds, the highlight being the greater flamingo, which migrate in large flocks. Bundala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and redesignated to a national park on 4 January 1993. In 1991 Bundala became the first wetland to be declared as a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka. In 2005 the national park was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the fourth biosphere reserve in Sri Lanka. The national park is situated 245 kilometres (152 mi) southeast of Colombo.
Kaudulla National Park is a national park on the island of Sri Lanka located 197 kilometres (122 mi) away from the largest city, Colombo. It was designated a national park on April 1, 2002 becoming the 15th such area on the island. In the 2004–2005 season more than 10,000 people visited the National Park, generating an income of Rs.100,000 from entrance fees. Along with Minneriya and Girithale BirdLife International have identified Kaudulla as an Important Bird Area.
The dusky striped squirrel is a species of rodent, a small squirrel (Sciuridae) from Sri Lanka where largely confined to rainforests in the southwestern "wet zone" with higher rainfall than the rest of the island. It was formerly regarded as a subspecies of Funambulus sublineatus from India, at which point the English name of the "combined species" also was dusky striped squirrel. It is known as පුංචි ලේනා or "batu lena" in the Sinhala language.
The Golden Canopy of the Temple of the Tooth is a canopy used to cover the Relic of the tooth of the Buddha, housed in the Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy Sri Lanka.
Myroxylon balsamum, Santos mahogany, is a species of tree in the family Fabaceae. It is native to tropical forests from Southern Mexico through the Amazon regions of Peru and Brazil at elevations of 200–690 meters. Plants are found in growing in well drained soil in evergreen humid forest.
Kandyan Art Association is an association formed in 1882 to revitalise traditional Kandyan arts and crafts and support the traditional craftsmen by providing them a sales outlet.
Sri Lanka is a relatively small continental island, it exhibits a remarkable diversity of forest types, which are among the biologically one of richest forests in Asia. In these forests plant species show extraordinary patterns of localized distribution. Sri Lanka's forest became one of highest density of species diversity in the world. Sri Lanka natural forests cover about 12,493 km2 29.46% According to the National Red List said, Sri Lanka counts 253 land species, 245 species of butterflies, 240 birds, 211 reptiles, 748 evaluated vertebrates and 1,492 invertebrates. Forest coverage is about 70% tropical dry monsoon forests, 15% tropical moist monsoon forests and 5% tropical lower montane forests. By the dawn of the 19th century, Sri Lanka's forest cover was estimated at up to 70% of the total land area. Since then, the forest cover has decreased progressively over time. Significant loss of Sri Lanka's forest cover was first reported in the 19th century, with the introduction of plantation agricultural crops such as tea and vegetables. Commercial timber extraction policy of colonial rulers (British colonial time also led to clearing of forests in the dry zone. Irrigation development and agricultural expansions have been identified as key drivers of forest cover change.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Udawatta Kele Sanctuary .|