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About Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is an island nation in South Asia, located between latitudes 5°55′ and 9°51′ N and longitudes 79°41′ and 81°53′ E and has a maximum length of 268 miles (432 km) and a maximum width of 139 miles (224 km). It is home to around twenty one million people. Because of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia.

Sri Lanka possesses a wealth of biological diversity with a very high global significance. Conservation International (CI) has classified Sri Lanka as one of the “biodiversity hotspots” (together with the Western Ghats in India) based on high level of endemicity in most taxonomic groups. A high proportion of the species in most taxonomic groups are threatened with extinction, especially in the case of endemic species, primarily due to loss of habitat.

One of the reasons for high endemicity is, Sri Lanka has several distinct climatic zones, each with their own characteristic forests. These include rainforests, montane cloud forests, dry zone monsoon forests, and arid thorn scrub forests. Sri Lanka’s wetlands are also diverse, comprising 103 major rivers with their associated marshes and about 12,000 irrigation tanks that harbour many globally important wetlands species. Being an island, it has rich marine and coastal biodiversity along its 1,620 km coastline including coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds, salt marsh vegetation, dunes, and beaches.

The conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity is of special significance to Sri Lanka. It is due to its predominantly agrarian economy and its high dependence on agricultural biodiversity, including the use of many plant species for food, medicine, and domestic products. Its agricultural sector, comprised of food and plantation crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries, and aquaculture, provides livelihood to at least 40 percent of the country’s population and over 25 % of Sri Lankans are employed in the agricultural sector. The agricultural sector contributes to 7 % of the national GDP as at 2018.