COASTAL HABITATS OF THE POTUVIL-ARUGAM BAY-PANAMA SPECIAL AREA MANAGEMENT ZONE IN EASTERN PROVINCE, SRI LANKAAuthors: D.K.Weerakoon,M.D.C.Asela,K.M.A.Bandara,T.N.Peries,K.A.A.L.Peiris,M.R.A.K.Peiris
Sri Lanka has a shoreline that extends over 1760 km and encompasses 24% of the land area defined as the coastal zone. The coastal zone of Sri Lanka contains number of critical ecosystems. Unplanned resource utilization, industrialization, tourism, urbanization and natural hazards have a huge influence on these coastal ecosystems. In order to manage this highly dynamic system, the Coast Conservation Department (CCD) has introduced the concept of Special Area Management in 1980. CCD has identified 57 locations that should come under Special Area Management and the coastal region from Pottuvil to Panama is one such site. This study has been carried out to identify natural coastal habitat within this zone in order to facilitate the preparation of Special Area Management plan. This study was conducted from May 2012 to April 2013 during which 10 main locations along the coastline from Potuvil to Okanda were sampled to document the types of Natural habitats present and the biodiversity elements that are found in these natural habitats. Altogether 10 lagoons were observed in the study area. The main vegetation types observed in association with these lagoons include mangroves, back mangroves, beaches and sand dunes. This study demonstrates that the coastal zone from Potuvil to Okanda supports number of important coastal habitats that justify this area being designated as a Special Area Management Zone. These habitats support a rich species assemblage including three Critically Endangered species Sesamum prostratum, Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus (Black-necked Stork) and the breeding population of Merops philippinus (Blue-tailed Bee-eater) that are restricted to this region. Therefore maintaining these habitats in good condition is critical for their survival. Further, these habitats provide number of critical ecosystem services such as shoreline stabilization, functioning as breeding sites for near shore fish, affording protection from natural disasters. However, after the culmination of the armed conflict in 2009, unsustainable natural resource extraction and unplanned expansion of tourism has resulted in rapid degradation of these important coastal habitats. Therefore, updating the Special Area Management plan and its effective implementation are timely needs to ensure accruing continued benefits from these important coastal habitats.
Keywords: Coastal habitats, Ecosystems, Sampling, Vegetation
How to Cite: Weerakoon,D.K,Asela,M.D.C,Bandara,K.M.A,Peries,T.N,Peiris,K.A.A.L,Peiris,M.R.A.K, (2014). COASTAL HABITATS OF THE POTUVIL-ARUGAM BAY-PANAMA SPECIAL AREA MANAGEMENT ZONE IN EASTERN PROVINCE, SRI LANKA.WILDLANKA, 2(1):Pages 085-101
Department of Wildlife Conservation,
No: 811/A, Jayanthipura,