Forest Research and Conservation Education Center

Walallawita, Kalutara District, just a short drive from the capital city of Colombo, the Yagirala Forest Reserve presents an ideal opportunity to immerse oneself in the tranquility, serenity, and biodiversity of a Lowland Tropical Wet Evergreen Forest. Since 1984, the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura has overseen a 100-acre section of the Yagirala Forest Reserve, primarily dedicated to research and educational
The University of Sri Jayewardenepura’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Science has established a research center within the Yagirala Forest Reserve. This bungalow-style facility is designed to support individuals with a keen interest in research and education related to the forest. Additionally, it serves as a Visitor Center for those who opt to stay overnight, offering an opportunity to immerse themselves in the rainforest environment while enjoying the hospitality of the local villagers in the area.
Forest Inventory and Mensuration: This involves systematically collecting data about the forest, including the types of trees present, their sizes, distribution, and overall health. Mensuration refers to the measurement of various forest parameters such as tree height, diameter, and volume, providing crucial information for forest management decisions.

Forest Management: This encompasses strategies and practices aimed at maintaining or enhancing the health, productivity, and biodiversity of the forest ecosystem. It involves sustainable harvesting, protection of sensitive areas, and the implementation of conservation measures to ensure the long-term viability of the forest.

Wildlife Management: This involves the conservation and protection of wildlife species within the forest. It includes monitoring populations, habitat management, and implementing measures to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts, ultimately aiming to preserve biodiversity and ecological balance.

Educational Programs for School Students: These programs aim to raise awareness and understanding among students about the importance of forests, biodiversity, and environmental conservation. They may include field trips, workshops, and hands-on activities designed to foster a deeper appreciation for nature and inspire future conservation efforts.

Forest Host Training Sessions: These sessions likely focus on equipping individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to serve as guides or hosts for visitors to the forest. Training may cover topics such as ecology, conservation principles, interpretation techniques, and visitor management, ensuring a positive and educational experience for visitors while minimizing environmental impact.

Environmental Education Programs: These initiatives are designed to educate the local community about environmental issues, such as deforestation, habitat loss, and the significance of sustainable resource management. These programs often include workshops and outreach activities aimed at enhancing environmental literacy and fostering behavior change towards more eco-friendly practices. Specifically, we promote activities such as beekeeping, plant nursery management, handicraft production, and the production of Kitul jaggery and teasel. These endeavors not only contribute to improving the economic conditions of the community but also play a vital role in forest protection.

Forest restoration and rehabilitation efforts: Forest restoration and rehabilitation efforts are underway despite a 50% reduction in its original size since 1971 due to exploitation. These ongoing remedial endeavors focus on promoting the growth of native plants to bolster the forest cover and indigenous vegetation. Remarkably, 45% of the plant species in this reserve are endemic to Sri Lanka. The University of Sri Jayewardenepura has been tasked with the responsibility of reinstating the Yagirala Forest to its former status as a highly beneficial reserve.


Dr. Thilak Chandrathilaka
Center for Sustainability
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science /

Mr. Kosala Gunawardana
Curator, Department of Forestry and Environmental Science /

Mr. G.D.N.P. Gamage
Caretaker, Yagirala Research and Conservation Education Center