In 2017 we purchased 2ha of degraded forest in an area called Bululand, named after its resident Bulu tree whose fruit is used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. This land had suffered from people cutting it for firewood and so our team embarked on a programme of restoration.
They have planted and carefully tended to over 500 trees on the site to date and prioritise endemic species wherever possible. We also encourage visitors to plant their own tree in order to help them feel connected to the forest here.
The below pictures show the growth of a Halmilla tree, also known as Trincomalee wood. Hamilla eventually grows up to 25m and produces small, white flowers.
2017 onwards: BULULAND
2020: Mudalali Land
Sri Lanka is one of the world's biodiversity hotspots. Its stunning forests teem with wildlife but are increasingly coming under threat from urban development. A large section of forest (27,500m2 or 7 acres) adjacent to the Forest Healing Foundation's current restoration project has recently become at risk of deforestation due to new roads to the area. We aim to protect it whilst supporting sustainable development in the region. We will create a protected area and plant additional nutmeg and gorikayi trees to help the local community generate income from the forest.
We must act quickly to protect the forest and we are urgently seeking financial support to purchase 3ha of forest for protection. Please click here for more information and see our Get Involved page if you would like to support. We are incredibly grateful for any donations, no matter how big or small.
2020: Smallholder farmer project
Water is an increasingly precious resource in a world under pressure from climate change. We recently met a passionate group of local young farmers who explained that they are now only able to harvest rice once per year, instead of twice, because there simply isn't enough water for two harvests. Dryer weather, deforestation and increased industrial consumption are all likely contributors to this water loss and at the Forest Healing Foundation we have been developing a project to help.
By working with local farmers to plant additional trees on the land above the rice paddies, we can help improve soil water retention and reduce erosion, as well as increasing carbon sequestration. The tree species selected will be primarily produce species, so that the farmers can generate additional income from the trees, interspersed with other, primarily endemic, species to help improve ecological diversity. We are excited to be working with German eco-travel company, Feel The World, to plant a tree for every booking they receive worldwide. See our blog here for more information on this fantastic partnership.
We also partnered with the local community to build a new sluice gate to help them better manage the water received by the paddy fields. We helped supply the materials whilst the community managed the labour. This simple investment can help improve the lives of up to 20 families.
From a broader perspective, improving the productivity of Sri Lanka’s existing agricultural lands is absolutely essential for preventing further deforestation. A 2017 investigation by the Rainforest Protectors of Sri Lanka found that whilst 33% of Sri Lanka’s land area was used for agriculture, only 12% of the total land area was used productively and efficiently. By promoting sustainable agriculture, we can reduce the pressure on remaining forest lands.