One of the latest inclusions on the list of World Heritage Sites, under UNESCO, is the Central Highlands region of Sri Lanka. Located in the south-central wet zone of the island, they consist of some of the most important conservational regions of the country, including the Horton Plains National Park, the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, and the Knuckles Conservation Forest.
This area is about 2,500 metres above sea level, and hosts an extraordinary variety of endangered flora and fauna which are not found anywhere else in the country. That is the reason why it has been regarded as an ecologically rich biodiversity hotspot.
Central Highlands of Sri Lanka Background
The mountain forest covers an area of tremendous global significance, and is also one of least disturbed rain forest regions of Sri Lanka. With a beguiling mix of nurture and nature, the landscape offers a dynamic contrast, from tropical ecology, to pygmy forest.
With a dramatic variation of sceneries, from green mountainous slopes, to cascading waterfalls to vibrant tea plantations, and from deep ravines to brilliant cascades, it is one of the most striking and exclusive features of this area. The mists and clouds blanketing the hills add mystery and ambiguity to this mesmerizing locale. The warm climate makes the area hospitable for visitors to travel and spend some quality time amidst the serenity of Nature.
Amongst the most important species of mammals found here, the Horton Plains slender Loris and the bear monkey deserve special mention. It also houses half of the country’s vertebrate population.
The plant life in this region accounts for 34% of Sri Lanka’s typical tree species, herbs and shrubs. Besides, one can also find over 50% of the country’s flowering plants here. Effective legal protection has been implemented for the security and well being of the ecology, and none are allowed to disturb the equilibrium of nature.
- Location: South-central wet zone of Sri Lanka