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Reading: A new forest vegetation type in Sri Lanka: Dry Canal-associated Evergreen Forest

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A new forest vegetation type in Sri Lanka: Dry Canal-associated Evergreen Forest

Author:

A. H. Magdon Jayasuriya

EML Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, 6/10, Rajamahavihara Road, Pitakotte, LK
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Abstract

During the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa (11-14th Century AD), irrigation infrastructure and agricultural development in Sri Lanka were at their zenith. Irrigation system also consisted of canals conveying water from the Mahaweli River to distant farmlands. One such irrigation canal, presently within the Somawathiya National Park (SNP), supplied water from the river to a cascade of small tanks and farmlands as far as Kalu Ganga that divides Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee Districts on the Mahaweli Left Bank. The perennial presence of water during use, and subsequent disuse of the canal for centuries, since the fall of the Kingdom, evidently has caused edaphic, hydrological, microclimatic, biological and ecological changes that seem to have transformed vegetation existed during pre-Polonnaruwa and Polonnaruwa Periods in this part of the dry zone. Along the present day ruins of this ancient irrigation canal exists a unique zone of forest vegetation which has not been hitherto identified or recorded. This special forest formation which is anthropogenic in origin is here described as a new forest vegetation type in Sri Lanka and named Dry Canal-associated Evergreen Forest (DCEF) which closely resembles a river forest (Dry Riverine Evergreen Forest (DREF)), which in contrast is a natural vegetation formation.
How to Cite: Jayasuriya, A. H. M. (2019). A new forest vegetation type in Sri Lanka: Dry Canal-associated Evergreen Forest. Ceylon Journal of Science, 48(4), 375–381. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cjs.v48i4.7679
Published on 09 Dec 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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