A Model for Forest Landscape Restoration by Dilmah
The recently concluded World Environment Day 2021 marked the advent of the ‘decade of restoration,’ where the United Nations calls States to take urgent action to revive our damaged ecosystems. It is an attempt to halt the exploitation of sensitive ecosystems and turn towards healing our environment. In its efforts to foster respect for the environment and encourage harmonious coexistence of man and nature, Dilmah initiated through Dilmah Conservation, a Nature Corridor on Endana Estate, in the Sabaragamuwa Province. The initiative focuses on the restoration and revitalisation of a habitat, by connecting two isolated forest patches located in the vicinity of the Sinharaja Rain Forest.
Located on the border of the globally significant Sinharaja Forest Complex, Endana Estate is endowed with many species, both fauna and flora. The estate lies in a part of the land that has separated Iharakanda and Walankanda Forest Reserves by tea plantations and human settlements for over 100 years. The nature corridor was strategically established to connect the two forest reserves so that fauna and flora can migrate freely between the two locations leading to greater genetic diversity. In 2018, Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando uprooted tea plants at the Endana Tea Estate as a symbol of the project’s initiation.
Dilmah ensures to continue monitoring and restoring the habitat, as an initial baseline survey revealed that, it is home to a high level of fauna diversity including 34 endemic species and 20 threatened species, while many birds and mammals use the estate as a route to migrate between the forest reserves. Furthermore, to ensure sustainability, the threatened endemic plant species selected for the restoration were based on micro and macro elements, such as, species distribution patterns in Sinharaja tropical lowland rainforest, and the conservation status of species according to the IUCN Redlist.
“We have conducted several field studies in Endana Nature Corridor since 2018. I would like to highlight our recent estimates of the total ecosystem services of the Endana Nature Corridor. In a mere extent of 60 ha, this corridor generates an annual ecological wealth of US$ 382,362 (approximately 76.3 million rupees). Our estimates are discounted for the secondary forest patches within the corridor and home gardens in comparison to high-valued virgin rainforests in the vicinity. These estimates are vital and should be considered for conservation and development-related decision making in the wet zone forests” says Dr. Nalaka Geekiyanage, the principal scientist. Dilmah is committed to strengthening the habitat through the plant nursery established to house saplings which will soon be planted in the nature corridor and by constant monitoring of climate change impacts to the selected area.
“The environment is central to Dilmah’s business, and Dilmah Conservation was established as an affirmation of this core commitment to environmental sustainability. As Dilmah has grown, I have not forgotten my pledge, and revenue from the sale of Dilmah funds the work of the MJF Charitable Foundation. Our Foundation – I say ‘our’ because every Dilmah tea drinker is a part of the MJF Foundation – has changed the lives of thousands. Its humanitarian service will continue to grow alongside Dilmah,” says the Founder, Merrill J. Fernando.
The nature corridor is situated in a mosaic that bring together local communities, tea estates and forest reserves with rich biodiversity. Engaging local communities is an integral part of the project, that ensure its success and sustainability. From the inception of the project, Dilmah has worked with the local communities; educating, creating awareness, and strengthening livelihoods by providing beekeeping education and the necessary infrastructure, including market alignment for the finished products.
The United Nations Environmental Programme emphasises that commitment to green recovery through reimagining, recreating, and restoring ecosystems is vital. It would allow minimal global temperature rise, ensure food security for a growing population and slow the rate of species extinctions. In addition to the Endana Nature Corridor, Dilmah Conservation has established several other projects under its green recovery programme. These include the Hunuwella pilot project which aims to restore degraded tea lands through a Kandyan Home Garden and eco-agroforestry concept.
(Dilmah news release)
Sri Lanka Tourism introduces e-learning platform for all SLTDA registered tourist guides.
As an initiative to uplift the reviving tourism industry in the country, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority in collaboration with Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM) have introduced the continuous professional development (CPD) e-learning platform to all registered guides to enhance their knowledge and skills.
The launch of the continuous professional development (CPD) e-learning platform took place this week under the patronage of Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga, Secretary of the Ministry S. Hettiarachchi and Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando.
“Tourist guides play an important role in our tourism sector as they spend a lot of time with visitors from arrival to departure. It is important that our guides stay updated on their professional/technical knowledge and I hope this e-learning platform by Sri Lanka Tourism will help them enhance their knowledge and skills” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando shared while the Minister congratulated all the officials who were involved in bringing this initiative to reality.
Knowledge improvement, obtaining expertise knowledge from veterans, develop active participation with guests, improve the link between Tourism institutions & guides are some key objectives of this e-learning platform.
If you are a registered guide with SLTDA, you can now sign up on https://sltda.gov.lk/e-learning/login and avail of the online courses.
A certificate of completion will be given at the end of the course from SLTDA and SLITHM.
Impact of Climate Change on marine and fresh water resources and combating water pollution
Trilateral virtual dialogue among Pathfinder Foundation, Russian International Affairs Council and Asian Confluence
The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) has initiated a trilateral dialogue involving Sri Lanka, India and the Russian Federation to discuss issues of contemporary relevance. The first trilateral dialogue will be held to day 4:30 PM SLST on the “Impact of Climate Change on Marine and Fresh Water Resources and Combating Water Pollution: Best Practices from Russia, Sri Lanka and India”.
For this dialogue, Pathfinder Foundation will be partnering with Russian International Affairs Council and Asian Confluence.
The distinguished panellists for the webinar are, Ambassador GlebIvashentsov, Vice President, Russian International Affairs Council, Ambassador (Retd.) Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman Pathfinder Foundation, Ambassador. IFS(Retd.) Rajiv Kumar Bhatia, Member Governing Council, The Asian Confluence and Distinguished Fellow, Gateway House,Dr. Anastasia Likhacheva, Director, Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, Higher Schoolof Economics, Dr. B. V. R. Punyawardena, Chairman, National Steering Committee on Climate Change Adaptation, Governmentof Sri Lanka, Dr. Fraddry D’Souza, Area ConvenerandFellow, The Coastal Ecology & Marine Resources Centre, TERI Goa,India , Dr. Konstantin Zgurovsky, Senior Advisor, Marine Programme, WWF Russia, Mr. Sarath Premalal, Retired Director General of Meteorology of Sri Lanka and Prof. Vinay Kumar Dadhwal, Director, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Professor Indira Gandhi Chair, National Institute of Advanced Studies, India
Those who are interested in participating may kindly register at the following link; https://bit.ly/3AZbYAN Program details are available at https://bit.ly/3zdUkY3 . The event will also be live streamed on the PF Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pathfinderfoundation/
Doc990 and MyDoctor partner SLVA to extend accessible veterinary services islandwide
Sri Lanka’s premier digital health solutions service providers, Doc990 and MyDoctor are now enabling customers to access online veterinary services island-wide in partnership with the Sri Lanka Veterinary Association.
The national professional body serving and representing the interests of the veterinary profession in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Veterinary Association (SLVA), is dedicated to providing continued excellence within the profession of animal medicine and the provision of outstanding care for all animals while also actively creating public awareness of the contribution of veterinarians island-wide.
This collaborative effort with Doc990 and MyDoctor will bring pet owners, owners of farm animals and good Samaritans the ability to access remote video consultations with leading, specialist veterinarians of their choosing, without the hassle of physically entering hospital waiting rooms, transporting animals etc. This timely, contactless service will not only be convenient but also a relief to pet owners and caretakers in the backdrop of travel restrictions as a result of the ongoing global pandemic.
Customers can engage in video consultations with their chosen vet by downloading the Doc990 mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. Through its widening network of hospitals and medical services, Doc990 strives to make health care accessible and convenient for all Sri Lankans.
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