IUCN Red Listing of Ecosystems – Wilpattu Ramsar Site as a Case Study


Project Period – August 2018- 2019

Funded by–  The Nagao Wetland Fund (NWF) formed by Ramsar and Nagao Environmental Foundation (NEF)

Sri Lanka currently has 6 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 198,172 hectares. A Ramsar Site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. Although Ramsar has declared several wetland sites in Sri Lanka, their actual conservation status of the ecosystems has not been assessed so far.

For meaningful and target driven conservation and wise use, it is important to establish the current status of the critical ecosystems within Ramsar sites. Among different aquatic ecosystems, mangroves of Sri Lanka have a very limited cover despite the fact that 1/3 of the true mangroves are present. With a mere 12,000-15,000 ha of mangroves left in the country, establishing the conservation status of already protected mangroves will enable evidence based decision making in conservation and habitat restoration.

However, to date IUCN Red Listing of Ecosystems (RLE) has not been attempted and this project aims to conduct the first RLE on a pilot scale to establish the conservation status of mangroves of Wilpattu Ramsar site as well as to understand the process for future application in other areas and ecosystem. This project is partially funded by the Nagao Wetland Fund.

Sri Lanka’s Wilpattu Ramsar Wetland Cluster