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. 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 funded by the Nagao Wetland Fund and the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.

Project Period : February 2020 – February 2021 
Funded by: Ramsar Regional Center – East Asia 
In collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Conservation we have commenced a project themed 
around the world wetland day celebrations 2020. The project funded by the Ramsar Regional Center – 
East Asia (RRC-EA) is designed to widen access to information on wetlands using a more engaging 
As youth play a highly influential role in the society, it is proposed to take youth (Aged 12 – 16) living in
areas bordering the urban wetlands on a ‘wetland walk’. This walk will be guided by a wetland expert
and it will be a perfect platform to provide them with the true feel of wetlands and to trigger interest
and appreciation of the value and importance of the wetland ecosystem. This in return will emphasize
the importance of enhancing and protecting the vulnerable and endangered species found within the
ecosystem. Infographics will be prepared to enrich the experience; the graphics will detail the
ecosystem services provided by wetlands; and provide information on charismatic species
characteristic of Colombo’s urban wetlands. (Eg: saltwater crocodile (Crocodylusporosus), fishing cat
(Prionailurusviverrinus) and Otter (Lutralutra). Further, to maximize reach and to generate interest in
prioritizing the conservation of urban wetlands a video will be produced which will speak of the
ecosystem services and charismatic species of wetland ecosystems. This will be publicized widely on
the organisation’s social media platforms and mainstream media outlets will be approached to carry
the video to ensure the reach to a wider audience.
IUCN Redlisting of Ecosystems – Wilpattu Ramsar Site as a Case Study 
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 funded by the Nagao Wetland Fund and the Canada Fund for Local 
Funded by – The Nagao Wetland Fund (NWF) formed by Ramsar and Nagao Environmental 
Sri Lanka’s Wilpattu Ramsar Wetland Cluster