Sri Lanka has lost about 947,370 hectares of forest between 1960 and 2010, Sajeewa Chamikara of the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) says.
The last survey on forests was carried out in 2010 by the Forest Conservation Department. By 2010 the forest cover had shrunk to 29.7 percent or 1, 951, 472 hectares. Between 1992 and 2010, Sri Lanka lost 16, 922 hectares of forests in the wet-zone. Since then, the forests in the wet-zone had further dwindled due to the expansion of tea cultivation, Chamikara said yesterday.
“Tea plantations that lead to the destruction of rainforests can be considered green deserts. Biodiversity on these plantations is low. Tea planters use a lot of toxic agrochemicals. There are no plant layers. Thus, these lands lose most of their biodiversity and become deserts for all practical purposes, despite being green,” he said.