Protecting mangrove ecosystems are a critical facet of marine coastal conservation. In the late 1990’s, over 50% of Sri Lanka’s Mangrove habitat was destroyed to establish prawn aquaculture projects. This severely affected the functioning of coastal ecosystems. Sri Lanka’s current mangrove cover is estimated to be 15-000 – 19,000 Hectares – only 0.3% of the total landmass, this is critically low and puts the island at risk form the impact of climate change and other natural disasters such as storm surges and tsunamis.
The largest threat to the future of the Anawilundawa Sanctuary even to date is that of further destruction of the area within the sanctuary for Prawn Farming. The destruction of these ecosystems is compounded by the fact that it also cripples livelihoods of communities living around the area.
The objective of this project is thereby twofold:
- Regeneration of mangrove habitats in scientific manner that will mirror the original habitat.
- Use the process of regeneration to engage village communities and educate them on the importance of these ecosystems for building their future lively hoods on an economically robust and sustainable model, that the mangroves ecosystems have to offer.
In order to ensure the successful restoration of this habitat, the LEF has funded the purchasing of the required scientific equipment necessary for this project and is working in collaboration with the WNPS towards strengthening infrastructure and knowledge dissemination across Sri Lanka’s mangrove ecosystems.