Biodiversity Sri Lanka (BSL) is a knowledge sharing platform owned and driven by the private sector to strengthen the link between business, and biodiversity and environmental conservation in Sri Lanka. Though it businesses can come together to discuss best practices, voice their needs and concerns, and design novel solutions that contribute towards conservation efforts at a national level.
The concept was launched on the 12th of November 2012, in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Its initiating partners were the IUCN, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and Dilmah Conservation. Its membership has since grown significantly, and currently includes 32 Patron Members, 34 General Members and 1 Associate Member. The chairman of the BSL Board of Directors is Dilhan C. Fernando, Trustee of Dilmah Conservation and Director of Dilmah Tea.
Since the premise of the platform is knowledge, the initiative seeks guidance from external representatives from academia, policy makers, media, financial and the business sector on a variety of implementation activities. Thus, BSL constitutes an advisory panel to provide science, technical and management advice relevant to its functioning.
Safeguarding biodiversity is integral to sustainable development, competitiveness, economic growth and employment. Many of the services that biodiversity and ecosystems provide are currently severely threatened. BSL facilitates dialogue between state and civil society partners and the private sector, advocating biodiversity-friendly policies and positive instruments that campaign for the conservation of Sri Lanka’s fragile environment.
International Day for Biological Diversity- Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity
Biodiversity Sri Lanka hosted a collaborative event to highlight the progress made in biodiversity conservation at national level by member companies, to commemorate the 'International Day for Biological Diversity- Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity’ which also marks the 25th year since the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) came into effect, following the Earth Summit at Rio de Janerio.
The Life Project
‘The Life Project’ is an initiative to restore a 10ha block of degraded land, in the Kanneliya Forest Reserve by utilizing the scientific principles of ecological restoration. It is being implemented by BSL in partnership with the Forest Department, IUCN, Dilmah Conservation and other select private partners. Field work for the pilot project commenced on the 3rd of July 2018.
This project aims to enhance the ecological functions, habitat quality, species diversity and the capacity to provide biodiversity and ecosystem services of the selected land within the forest reserve. A GPS survey of the selected land has been successfully completed. The land will be fenced off to avoid potential threats by herbivores, and a baseline survey will be conducted in order to develop a forest management plan for the region.
Learning event on Biochar
Dilmah Conservation, a pioneer in biochar research and application in Sri Lanka assisted Biodiversity Sri Lanka in organizing a learning event on biochar Biochar: A Sustainable Option for Soil Remediation And Pollutant Removal to share best practices and case studies on the successful application of biochar on a pilot scale; thereby urging private and public sector entities on the 10th of July 2018 at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The event attracted more than 22 participants from the Plantation Sector, of which 50% was from BSL member companies.
Resource Efficiency Pledge
BSL launched a Resource Efficiency Pledge for its members in January 2018. Members of Biodiversity Sri Lanka pledge to make resource efficiency a priority in their businesses and reduce waste generated through their operations to a minimal or zero level.
Some of the key commitments of the pledge include reducing energy consumption, water usage, raw materials, greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing efforts towards recycling and minimising unsustainable packaging requirements. So far, 21 companies have committed towards BSL’s Resource Efficiency Pledge. Dilmah was one of these companies.
Cave Biodiversity in Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan dark caves support important biodiversity, which has been largely neglected by the conservation community to date. The dark caves are threatened by improper landscape management and disturbance due to unregulated cave tourism.
As almost no dark caves in Sri Lanka have been surveyed and none are legally protected for their biodiversity yet, there is an urgent need to identify and protect key sites for cave biodiversity nationally. To address this issue Biodiversity Sri Lanka partnered with Dilmah Conservation and the Lanka Institute of Cave Science (LICAS) in 2017 to document the diverse range of organisms that inhabit these dark, understudied structures.Learn more about the project click here
Previous projects facilitated by Biodiversity Sri Lanka are: