EFL recently commented on the allocation of land for resettlement and development in the Mannar District based on the Report of the Integrated Strategic Environmental Assessment (ISEA) of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka published in the year 2014 by the Central Environmental Authority and the Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka.
The comments focused on the fact that the report only includes protected areas declared up to 2010, and has failed to make allowances and recommendations for gazetted protected areas such as the Vilathikulam Forest Reserve, Karakdikuli – Marichchakaddi Forest Reserve and the Wedithalathive Nature Reserve. As these protected areas have been recently declared, they have come under increasing encroachment from housing schemes and other development projects.
Mannar District is a region of great ecological importance, with a range of ecosystems such as mangroves, sea grass beds, coral reefs and dry evergreen forests. In order to manage water catchments and disaster risk for the current settlements in Mannar, it is essential that these ecosystems be protected and that legally recognized protected areas are not lost.