One Earth Urban Arboretum

One Earth Urban Arboretum

Forests can be defined as ‘multifunctional’ as they have a wide range of functions which include land conservation, climate change control, securing of water sources and creation of natural environments essential to human existence. They are key players in preventing global warming (being one of their more important functions) due to their ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, thus, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by humans.

Although ‘plant a tree’ or ‘save a tree’ slogans have been successfully engraved in the minds of the general population, the actual impact and benefits of trees to the world around us and to our very existence is often overlooked, particularly among urban populations and the younger generation who have become disconnected from nature. Thus, the dangers of losing forest cover due to deforestation and other causes are often undervalued. Without this vital knowledge and understanding present in the minds of the youth and the general population, environmental conservation cannot move forward.

One Earth Urban Arboretum

In acknowledging this, Dilmah Conservation embarked to set up an urban arboretum. An arboretum allows the appreciation of the natural beauty of forests as well as demonstrates the numerous benefits trees provide to the natural environment as well as human life aiding in the establishment of sustainable societies. Along with the aesthetic and social value, forests also provide important services within the ecosystem toward cleaning the air, protecting and cleaning water and supporting biodiversity. More directly for humans, trees help conserve energy, increase the value of our homes and essentially provide significant economic benefits. However, it is only when this impact is felt in a tangible manner that it will be possible to affect change in peoples’ behavior towards saving our forests. Additionally, the arboretum will also help promote urban forests and show the vital role trees play in our society with their significant monetary, social and ecological values.

  • Objectives

    • To demonstrate the value of trees to our world and to our lives.
    • To promote a greener, healthier and a more sustainable world.
    • To generate an attitudinal change on the significance of forests.
    • To encourage action among urban populations to establish green spaces.
    • To start building a consensus on the need to safeguard/enhance Sri Lanka’s forest cover.
  • Progress

    One Earth Urban Arboretum
    • 500 different types of plants and trees were successfully planted at the site, which consists of 150 types of bushes and rippers and 350 types of trees (10-15 ft. in height). A few of the types of trees that have been planted are Ahu, Edaru, Erabadu, Veralu, Kaladuru, Star fruit, Ebony, Areca, Kubuk, Coffee, Goda kaduru, Bilin and Sepalika.
    • A model tank (man-made lake) was constructed in order to show the many benefits it can have on the surrounding communities as well as the interaction with the environment.
    • A small area of paddy fields was also set up with the purpose of providing visitors with a better understanding of one of Sri Lanka’s key agricultural heritages, how it coexists with the surrounding environment and the importance of preserving it for future generations.
    One Earth Urban Arboretum
    • A cultural/information centre made using traditional building materials such as mud for the walls and dried coconut leaves for the thatched roof was constructed and furnished with traditional equipment such as a “Kurahan gala”, “sickle” and “miris gala”. This centre will help educate and create awareness on a variety of related topics such as environmental, cultural and historic aspects to demonstrate how Sri Lanka’s ancestors always prioritized safeguarding the environment.
    • A traditional tree hut was also constructed overlooking the site to demonstrate how traditional farmers would protect their crops from wild animals that roam in search of food.
    One Earth Urban Arboretum