The Bundala Biosphere Reserve is located on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka. The core area, which is also a national park, includes four brackish water lagoons. The lagoons are fringed by narrow strips of marshland and are surrounded by slightly undulating terrain covered predominantly with lowland dry scrub forest. The topography is generally flat with sand dunes varying in width from about 50 to 300 meters bordering the coastline. This sand dune system is one of the broadest found on the island and has associated fresh water deposits which nourish the vegetation in adjacent areas making it more lush even during the driest periods of the year.
The core area serves as a refuge for migratory and resident bird species and is one of the few areas where both of the crocodile species (Crocodilus palustris and Crocodilus porosus) present in Sri Lanka can be found. The nearest major town is Hambantota. The buffer zone includes four villages with approximately 3,800 people while the transition area includes 18 villages with about 20,000 residents with some areas being semi-urban. The main economic activities practised by these local communities include animal husbandry, fishing, agriculture and mining of fossil shell deposits for lime production. There are Coordinating Committees for fishers and farmers. These committees together with Farmer Organizations and Fisheries Cooperative Societies regulate fishing activities, create alternative livelihoods for fishermen and encourage appropriate fishing methods in the protected areas. Read more about this reserve on the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves website.
© Profile photo: Hasitha Tudugalle