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Sinharaja Biosphere Reserve, Sri Lanka

Sinharaja is the largest continuous evergreen rain forest remaining in the lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka.

Designation date: 1978


Regional network:  

Ecosystem-based network: 




    Surface : 11,187 ha

    • Core area(s): 11,187 ha
    • Buffer zone(s): N/A
    • Transition zone(s): N/A

    Location: 06°21' to 06°26'N; 80°21' to 80°34'E

    Administrative Authorities

    Divisional Forest Office
    Lower Dickson Road
    Sri Lanka

    Tel.: (94.25) 343 06

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    Ecological Characteristics

    Its importance for conservation is linked to its high endemism of flora and fauna. In 1971, 2,500 hectares of the Forest Reserve was transformed into a IUCN-IBP Strict Reserve with full protection for flora and fauna. In 1977, all timber exploitation in the entire forest was banned and in 1978, it was designated as a MAB Biosphere Reserve. 





    Socio-Economic Characteristics

    Only 84 families were residing in the southern part of the reserve. There are 544 families living in peripheral villages (according to the statistics of Sinharaja Management Plan - 1992). These families are making their living from farming rubber, tea, cinnamon and seasonal crops such as paddy rice and vegetables. Approaches to improve rural development and local livelihoods include enrichment planting, using primary forest timber and non-timber species in Pinus stands, exploring the potential of locally esteemed non-timber species for domestication and deploying young people from adjacent villages to guide visitors around Sinharaja. Some 20,000 annual visitors come to the northwestern side of Sinharaja.



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    Last updated: May 2019