Management Plan on Knuckles Conservation Area Sri Lanka

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Management Plan for the Knuckles Conservation area2010-2014


Project: Management Plan For The Knuckles Conservation Area

Time Period: 2010 2014

Prepared By: Forest Department, Sri Lanka


ContentsBackground and conceptual frameworkBiological DiversityRegulation of Eco system servicesSocio economic DevelopmentAesthetic ValueRecreationResearch and EducationInstitutional and legal FrameworkOperational Plan and Budget

May require more than one slide3

Background & Conceptual Framework

A detailed management plan for the Knuckles forest was first formulated in 1994.Most of the activities recommended in the plan are still being implemented.


Knuckles Forest RegionCovers 210km2Located in Kandy and Matale districts of the central province Sri Lanka

General LandscapeArea is extremely rugged, with several peaks rising above 1500m.Gombaniya is the highest peak with a height of 1906m.Locally called this region as Dumbara Kanduwetiya

RainfallHighland areas of the forest range is extremely wet with an average rainfall of 5000mm.Lower eastern slopes are much drier with less than 2500mm.Vegetation typesWide range of climatic and landscape features resulted lowland semi-evergreen forests to montane forests.

WatershedsRepresents most important and critical watersheds of Sri Lanka.Contributes to nearly 8% of the watersheds of Victoria & Randenigala reservoirs.Represents 80% of upper watersheds of the proposed Moragahakanda & Kalu ganga reservoirs

Area above 1500m was declared as a climatic reserve in 1873 In April 2000, it was declared as the countrys first ever conservation forestProposed as a Mixed Cultural & Natural World Heritage Site

International and National Significance of KFAKnuckles Conservation Forest will principally be managed to achieve the first policy objective in Forest Policy of Sri Lanka, 1995.In addition, it will have to be managed to achieve second & third policy objectives to a limited extent.Knuckles Conservation Forest has been proposed to be inscribed as a Mixed Cultural & Natural World Heritage Site under the World Heritage Convention.

Goal, Purpose & Objectives of the plan

GoalTo conserve Knuckles forest for posterity, with regard to biodiversity, soil, water. Historical, cultural, religious, scientific and aesthetic values and to enhance contribution of forestry to the national economy as well as to the welfare of nearby communities.

PurposeBiodiversity, soil, water and other ecosystem services are conserved and the social welfare of peripheral communities is enhanced through ecosystem approach.

ObjectivesThe composition, structure, functions and evolutionary potential of biodiversity conserved.Regulatory ecosystem services of the KCA sustained.Livelihoods of Knuckles Buffer Zone communities improved.Aesthetic value of the KCA conserved.Recreational capacity of the KCA enhancedEducational and Research opportunities provided.Institutional and legal framework established

Application of the PlanStructureActions proposed in the plan are set out under the Seven criteria for Sustainability Developed in the Montreal Process.ScopeThe plan applies within the geographic area of the Knuckles Conservation Area and its Buffer Zone.Operation of the PlanPlan comes to operation on 1st January 2010 and continues to operate until 31st December 2014.

Biological Diversity

BiodiversityBiodiversity refers to the variability among living organisms and the ecosystem of which they are a part

Measured or observed in 3 different levels GenesEcosystems Species

Wide range of topographic and climate variation in the knuckles range.MANY NATURAL VEGETATION TYPESMontane forestsSub montane forestsSemi -evergreen forestsMan made semi natural vegetation types

Man influenced secondary vegetation types

Patches of plantation forest

Patches of wet patana grasslandsExtensive dry patana grasslands interspersed with savanna


Faunal diversity

FamilyGenusSpeciesEndemicEndemic to KnucklesNationally ThreatenedBirds264212817-20Amphibians342012112Butterflies411605-8Mollusks6101712-0Mammals1217314-9Reptiles4105323124Fish4915837

Flowering plants diversity

FamiliesGeneraSpeciesRareEndemicNationally Threatened14159510331216011

Number of threats affecting on the biological diversity of the knuckles conservation areaCultivation of cardamom inside the high elevation natural forest areas Forest and grassland firesUnauthorized development activities carried out in private landsAbiotic and biotic factors

OBJECTIVE: The composition, structure, functions and evolutionary potential of biodiversity conserved

1) Maintenance Of Forest AreaProposed ActivitiesChange the conservation area boundarySurvey and demarcate the new boundaryMaintain and monitor the new boundaryComplete land acquisitionRe-declare Knuckles conservation areaEnforce forest low to control encroachments and any other kind of unauthorized alteration of boundary posts

2) Arresting Degradation Of Biodiversity QualityProposed ActivitiesRestore degraded forest patchesControl forest firesControl spreading of invasive speciesManage habitats for mammalsControl and regulate collection of forest products from forestPromote production and efficiency use of forest productsRegulate tapping of water from upper streams with involvement CBOsConduct awareness programs on forest conservationEnforce forest law

3) Biodiversity MonitoringProposed ActivitiesTrain Forest Department staff on biodiversity monitoring. They can be entrusted with this task under the initial guidance from biodiversity surveying experts.

Monitor biodiversity using permanent sample plots

Analyse monitoring data to understand the positive and negative developments taking place with regard to biodiversity.

Take remedial measures to mitigate negative impacts

Regulatory Ecosystem Services

Knuckles is an important watershed in Mahaweli drainage systemHuman practices causing land degradation & soil erosion in KCACardamom cultivationUnsuitable Land use practices: Shifting cultivation, Forest & grassland fires

OBJECTIVE: Regulatory ecosystem services of the KCA maintained

Proposed activities Stop cardamom cultivationComplete land acquisition & prevent any destructive practices in pvt. LandsControl forest fires Encourage soil conservation measures in home garden in the BZ villagesConvert selected pine plantations into broad leaved spp. by way of under planting with some useful speciesApply appropriate soil conservation measures for the existing road network within the conservation areaApply soil conservation measures in developing & maintaining nature trailsControl over use of nature trails by providing alternative trailsApply soil conservation measures in constructing buildings

Control human induced soil erosion

Assess & monitor water outflowProposed activitiesMonitor water outflow at strategic locations . Could be done in collaboration with the Mahaweli Authority of SL or Irrigation Dpt.Make data available for the policy makers, politicians & to the general public

Arrest water pollution Proposed activitiesConduct training programs for BZC to avoid excessive use of agrochemicalsPromote organic farming in BZConduct awareness campaigns among & tourists to reduce water pollutionEnforce environmental low on water pollutionDiscourage wastage of water among the village communities through the mechanisms proposed in chapter 2

Assess C sequestration capacity Proposed activitiesAssess the C sequestrations capacity of KCAPublish the results & use the data to highlight the importance of the conservation value of knuckles ecosystem

Socio-economic development

OBJECTIVE: Livelihood of KBZ communities improved

KBZ identified & mappedIncome generation activities of BZ communities improvedMicrofinance services in the BZ villages improved Infrastructure & basic services developed & improvedTraditional rights to maintain customary & spiritual wilderness-based lifestyles protectedCBO strengthened


Identification of KBZA key is proposed to determine the outer boundary of the buffer zone

Proposed activitiesIdentify the KBZ using the criteria proposedMap the boundary of the BZ

Improvement of income generation activitiesProposed activitiesDevelop & improve micro enterprisesConduct PRA exercisesIdentify & shortlist environmentally nondestructive potential activitiesPerform market assessment & SWOT analysisFacilitate to build the links with service providesProvide vocational trainingConduct PRA exercisesIdentify & shortlist potential vocational training requirementsFacilitate to build the links with service providers

Improvement of microfinance servicesProposed actionsTrain forest officers on mechanisms of micro financing servicesIntroduce microfinance service providers operating in the nearby areasFacilitate the selection of microfinance institutions to work with communitiesAssist communities to develop linkage with the selected microfinance institutions

Infrastructure & basic service developmentProposed actionsIdentify & prioritize necessary infrastructure development needsStudy feasibility of identified developmentDevelop linkages between line agencies & beneficiary organizationsFacilitate funding Implement development activitiesConduct monitoring

Protection of traditional wilderness-based customsProposed actionsStudy & document traditional wilderness based customs of adjoining communitiesDevelop a mechanism to ensure local communities to perform their traditional customs

Organizational strengthenedProposed activitiesEvaluate the organizational capacities of Dumbara Surakinno or any other existing CBOIdentify the vulnerable areas which need to be strengthenedConduct capacity building programs to address the identified issues of organizational strengthening

Aesthetic value

Constraints There is no documented inventory of the scenic areas of Knuckles region due to difficult accesses to most of the inner parts of KCAAbsence of comprehensive guidelines covering all forms of developments within the conservation areaOccurrence of forest and grassland fires and the disposal of garbage by the touristsSome biotic factors such as forest die-back and spread of invasive plants

Proposed Activities

Prepare an inventory of the areas of scenic importanceDevelop a guideline to protect scenic areasStop all development activities which affect scenic beauty

OBJECTIVE: Aesthetic value of the Knuckles forest is conserved



Recreation Knuckles area is rich in many scenic, environmental, sociological and cultural resources .Attract many local and foreign tourists.


Recorded number of visitors to KCA (2005-2008)

OBJECTIVE: Recreational capacity of Knuckles conservation forest is maintained and enhanced

Accommodation facilities improvedNature trails, access roads and access points improvedLinkages with stakeholders of tourism sector developedInterpretation services provided to the visitors improvedInvolvement of buffer zone communities in ecotourism facilitatedNegative impacts of tourism on natural and socio-cultural environment mitigatedOutputs

Proposed activities1. Improvement of Accommodation facilitiesDevelop and improve eco lodgesDevelop and improve camping sitesHand over the management of selected eco lodges and camping sites to Dumbara Surakinno or other suitable CBOsEncourage and train villagers to provide home-stay facilities to small groupsConstruct and improve dormitories

2. Development of nature trails, access roads and access pointsImprove and nature trailsImprove the access roads for the benefit of eco-tourism activitiesImprove the facilities of the access points for the benefit of tourists

3. Development of linkages with other stakeholders of tourism

Strengthen the link with Sri Lanka Tourist BoardInclude information on Knuckles in the tourism promotion activities carried out by the SLTBConduct awareness programs for local travel agencies tour operators and major hoteliersDisseminate information in the form of leaflets, brochures, documentary films etc. both in country and abroadInclude Knuckles as a tourist destination in tour packages of major tour operatorsUse mass and electronic media including internet for propaganda campaigns

4. Interpretation servicesDevelop and improve information centersDevelop and maintain a web site or incorporate web pages to the proposed FD web siteDevelop brochures and leaflets for the benefit of tourists Employ guides

5. Involvement of buffer zone communities in eco tourism Hand over the management responsibility of selected eco lodges to CBOs under a suitable agreement with the FDHand over the management of selected nature trails for CBOsHand over the management of selected camping sites for CBOsEmploy guides to accompany visitors inside the forestEncourage community members to establish and manage sale centers, souvenir shops and food courts for the benefit of tourists


6. Mitigation of negative impacts on natural and socio-cultural environmentDetermine the carrying capacity of different ecotourism attractionsTemporarily close down nature trails Create awareness among tourists on water and noise pollutionDevelop a mechanism to get rid of litter efficiently from conservation areaMinimize unauthorized collection of souvenirs from the forest

Research and Education

Identified issues related to implementation and coordination of research activitiesInadequacy of facilities for researchersAbsence of prioritized research planAbsence of effective coordinationInsufficient expertiseLack of dissemination and UtilizationAbsence of mechanism to get field level officers involved for research


Identified issues related to environmental education Environmental education refers to organized effort to teach about how natural environments function and in particularly , how human beings can manage their behavior and ecosystem in order to live sustainablyAbsence of an environmental educational planNo curricula for educational programmeAbsence of dedicated web site for knuckle forestInadequate infrastructureLack of trained human resources to implement quality educational programme.


OBJECTIVE: Research and education opportunities of the KCA enhanced.

Proposed Activities

Identify priority research areas for KCA and develop a research plan in consultation with all relevant stakeholdersStrength the existing coordination mechanism of researchDevelop and improve research and education centersConduct training programs to upgrade the capacity of forest officers to carry out research on their own and participate effectively in the research work carried out by the outsiders.Provide funds for important action researches.



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