Enhancing the Ecological Integrity and Ecological Services of Halgolla Estate
Halgolla is a 1,196 ha tea estate managed by Kelani Valley Plantations PLC. It is located in Yatiyanthota in the Sabaragamuwa Province.The Wewalthalawa watershed is a unique and isolated watershed area within Halgolla Estate, and forms the catchment of Olu Oya, which feeds the Kelani River through Wee Oya.
The natural and semi-natural areas of the Wewalthalawa watershed function as an important repository of Sri Lanka’s biodiversity. Many of Sri Lanka’s endemic and threatened species, including faunal species such as the Rhino-horn lizard (Ceratophora stoddartii) and Sri Lanka whistling thrush (Myophonus blighi), and rare floral species such as Vatica lewisiana and Gordonia speciosa, have been recorded in these habitats. Some of these species have been recorded for the very first time in this region, making these natural habitats immensely important for the conservation of Sri Lanka’s biodiversity, overall.
Recognizing the ecological importance and conservation needs of the Wewalthalawa watershed, the management of the estate entered into a partnership with IUCN Sri Lanka. The objective of this initiative was to develop a management plan for the natural areas that lie within the estate premises, and to improve the ecological integrity and watershed services of the property, overall. As such, IUCN Sri Lanka designed and implemented a project to meet these objectives within the overall framework of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).<>n
In addition, Gordonia speciosa – a nationally threatened endemic species with a highly restricted range – was propagated as part of the project, in an effort to conserve this extremely rare species.