The project facilitates development of a model for sustainable management of eco-cultural resources in the environs of Protected Areas with local communities and serves as a case study for developing a strategy for local community participation in eco-cultural resource management in Sri Lanka.
This programme provides opportunities to develop skills and promotes non-destructive nature-based local enterprises such as bee keeping, eco-cultural tourism development, traditional art and craft productions, local food, grain, etc., development of home gardens analogous to the surrounding environment, planting of native and threatened species, enrichment of habitats and maintaining of biodiversity in the area and raising awareness among local communities and visitors of the importance of conserving natural and cultural properties. The programme involves minimising prevailing conflicts between the elephant and human populations with the establishment of the Human-elephant Conflict Resolving Committee in the Sigiriya wildlife sanctuary, in addition to assisting the threatened local human and elephant population’s resident in the area.
The programme was launched with the financial support of the Community Environment Initiatives Facility (CEIF) of the Ministry of Forestry & Environment in November 2000 and further extended to incorporate the traditional settlements of Pidurangala and Talkote in Sigiriya, with the financial assistance of the Small Grant Programme of the Global Environment Facility (GEF/SGP) in December 2001 as a pilot study in seeking community participation in managing wildlife Protected Areas and cultural heritage sites such as the Sigiriya World Heritage Site.
CES Field Research Base
The CES field research base and interpretation centre is located in the hamlet of Diyakapilla and lies approximately 3 km from the World Heritage Site of Sigiriya, on the eastern periphery of the Sigiriya Sanctuary, bordering Minneriya-Giritale Nature Reserve. The field base was established to facilitate eco-cultural resource documentation concerning the cultural and biodiversity of the region and its conservation; and provide training and experience in Dry Zone lifeways for students, researchers, and other relevant stakeholders.
Further, facilitation of diverse research, training and extension services are provided to organisations with similar interests. The site accommodates 25 to 30 participants, while auditorium and multi-media facilities are available for approximately 50 participants.
Biodiversity Monitoring Programme
Studies on the vertebrate fauna, selected invertebrate groups and vegetation surveys in the Sigiriya Sanctuary form an important component of the Biodiversity Monitoring Programme. The aim of the programme is to facilitate Protected Area management efforts and monitoring the flagship species in the area. Studies reveal that Sigiriya Sanctuary supports over 80% of the Dry Zone fauna and flora of Sri Lanka. Of these, about 60% are considered to be threatened from the increased impact of human activities on the environment. Monitoring of mega vertebrate movements, including primate populations, vegetation studies using permanent quadrates, and mapping of the biodiversity of home gardens are some of the highlights of the ongoing biodiversity monitoring programme.
CES also facilitates a community biodiversity mapping/registry mechanism for youth and school children in the area for them to have a more in depth understanding of the environment and to promote community participation in maintaining biodiversity in home gardens and farm lands.
Conservation Biology Training Programme
Preliminary to higher certificate level courses in Conservation Biology comprising theoretical and practical training are conducted with a focus on Tropical Biology and Protected Area Management in Sri Lanka. It encompasses theories on Conservation Biology, ecology of the fauna of Sri Lanka and introduction to species identification, In-situ and ex-situ conservation techniques, biodiversity and park management, agricultural and range land management, national and international conservation policies and laws, basic PRA and participatory on farm -biodiversity documentation techniques and community outreach methodologies. Further shot-term courses are conducted in awareness and education on request. Details on the programmes conducted will be uploaded on the web site on regular basis or may be obtained by email.
Project Primate & Project Jumbo
The Sigiriya region is home to four of the five species of non-human primate species found in Sri Lanka. Two of these species, the Slender Loris and Purple-faced Leaf Monkey are considered to be nationally threatened. This area is also home to the wild elephant population where one can observe Asia’s largest gathering in Minneriya National Park, during the dry season in July and August. CES, has thus, launched “Project Primate” and “Project Jumbo” for conducting research, education, awareness and assisting conservation initiatives to conserve the primate and elephant populations. The programme provides opportunities in volunteering for participation and skills enhancement in its conservation efforts and research activities.
CES further manages a “Primate Watch” and “Jumbo Safari” programme facilitated by Wildwatch International to raise financial support for the programme and raise education & awareness among visitors. Interested individuals or groups may contact the CES Tourist Information Desk for reservations and advance bookings.
Environmental Education and Awareness Programmes
A wide range of education and awareness programmes have been launched to promote environmental and cultural resource conservation in Sri Lanka. Seminars, workshops, field camps, expeditions and lectures are conducted for different stakeholders, with a focus on local communities and school children.
Monitoring Wildlife Trade in Sri Lanka
A monitoring study on the trade of nationally and internationally threatened wild species is launched with the technical support of international monitoring bodies. The programme aims to minimise the impact of harvesting wild populations for the illegal and legalised markets and assist Government authorities to control wildlife trafficking and ensure sustainability of wild fauna and flora populations in its natural habitats.
Community Knowledge Services (CKS) Sri Lanka
CES facilitates and coordinates the CKS Sri Lanka programme on behalf of the local network for (CKS) Asia and CKS international, in collaboration with partner agencies. CKS is a programme being developed by community leaders from Asia Pacific, African and Latin American regions, in collaboration with Ecoagriculture Partners and UNDP Equator Initiative. The goal is to enable local community representatives to share their expertise more broadly, and apply newly acquired knowledge to strengthen and scale-up their work to enhance livelihoods, while sustaining and conserving biodiversity. CKS Sri Lanka Launching Report
Landcare Sri Lanka
Landcare is a widely adopted approach in integrated natural resource management (NRM). It centres on community groups working together to rehabilitate highly degraded landscapes using novel, but practical science-based agroforestry and natural resource management techniques. It also focuses on empowering local people to willingly take action to address local problems. Landcare is supported to varying degrees, by governments, non-governmental agencies and the private sector. CES in coloboration with Landcare International Secratariat launched the Landcare Sri Lanka Programme in 2008 as a pilot programme to assit in achieveing economic and environmental benefits through numerous community-based NRM initiatives in Sri Lanka. As in Phase I of the programme, CES in collaboration with other stakeholders conducts various capacity building programmes and services involving theoretical and practical aspects of NRM-related landcare techniques. Landcare Concept note
Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) Programme
The IDP support programme initiated by CES aim to promote a rights based approach to ensure rights of living in a sustainable environment, with a special focus on youth. The target groups concerned were displaced people of the North and East who are victims of the civil conflicts and the subsequent development activities initiated. The programme entails capacity building through vocational training, career guidance as well as provision of emergency assistance varying from primary health care and water and sanitation facilities to temporary and semi-permanent shelter constructions during the humanitarian operation in the North and East.
The programme was organised and set up by CES with the technical and financial support of the Confidence Building and Stabilisation Measures Project (CBSM) of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights. The extension of the programme has ensured its sustainability through partnership building with other concerned Government and Non-governmental agencies.