Brief History of Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park located in Sri Lanka, and it has a rich history that goes back many centuries. The forest is known for its unique ecosystem and high biodiversity, and it has played an important role in the history of Sri Lanka in many different ways.

The earliest known history of Sinharaja dates back to the ancient Kingdom of Kandy, which existed in Sri Lanka from the 14th to the 19th century. The forest was considered to be a sacred place by the rulers of Kandy, and it was protected from logging and other forms of human disturbance. The forest was also an important source of traditional medicine, and it was home to many hermits and ascetics who lived in the forest and made use of its medicinal plants.

During the British colonial period, Sinharaja became an important source of timber for the British Empire. The forest was heavily logged, and many of its valuable tree species were harvested for use in the construction of buildings and ships. However, during this time some people in Britain started to express their concerns about the deforestation and a few individual started to advocate for its preservation.

In the 20th century, conservation efforts were made to protect Sinharaja from further logging and other forms of human disturbance. In 1875, the British government declared Sinharaja as a reserved forest, it was further declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1926 and finally, it was declared a national park in 1978. Sinharaja was also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, recognizing the unique biodiversity and importance of this forest.

Throughout the 20th century, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve has been the focus of many scientific studies. The forest is an important research site for scientists who are studying the ecological and evolutionary processes that shape tropical forests. Studies have been conducted on the forest's flora and fauna, the impact of human activities, and the management of the forest for conservation purposes.

During the civil war in Sri Lanka, the Sinharaja forest also played a significant role as it was a hiding place for many people who were displaced from their homes and seeking refuge. The forest reserve was also temporarily closed during the civil war as it was a vulnerable area.

In recent years, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve has become an important ecotourism destination. Many visitors come to the forest to see its unique wildlife and to explore its beautiful natural landscapes. The local communities are also actively involved in conservation and ecotourism activities in the forest reserve.

In conclusion, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve has a rich history that dates back many centuries. The forest has played an important role in the history of Sri Lanka, serving as a sacred place, a valuable source of timber, and an important research site. Today, Sinharaja continues to play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity and the livelihoods of the local communities. It is important to continue to protect and preserve this unique forest for future generations.