The Knuckles Conservation Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage site and due to its diverse natural vegetation, which includes lowland rainforests and montane forests, the records a very high and unique level of biodiversity. It contains charismatic species such as the Knuckles pygmy lizard, Knuckles rock frog, leopards, and elephants. Despite its importance, vital areas of the Knuckles Region have become degraded due to human activities such as encroachment, illegal logging, land clearing, tea planting and cardamom cultivation. The buffer zone of the Conservation Forest is particularly affected due to lack of protective regulations.
As part of the 6th Operational Phase of the UNDP’s GEF/Small Grants Programme, a community based landscape management approach will be prepared and adopted to create socio-ecological resilience in key environmentally sensitive areas. Environmental Foundation Limited will be conducting a baseline assessment of the Knuckles Conservation Area in order to develop a strategy for building socio-ecological resilience through community engagement and stewardship. The final output of the project will a framework and strategy within which community participation and engagement can further strengthen the resilience of the Knuckles Conservation Area.