Celebrating the milestone of the "Regreen Hantana: Restoration of Degraded Lands in Hantana Environmental Protection Area (HEPA)", a seedling transplantation event took place on the 11th of November 2023, at the restoration site near the Animal Science farm of the Faculty of Agriculture, UoP at Uda-Peradeniya with the participation of over 350 volunteers. This initiative is spearheaded by the Faculty of Science and the Centre for Environment Sustainability, University of Peradeniya in partnership with the Commercial Bank, Forest Department, and the Local Community.
During the project's second phase in 2023, the University of Peradeniya partnered with Commercial Bank, offering financial support and logistical assistance through ‘Thuru Piri Ratak’. A total of 1700 native seedlings, including Etamba (Mangifera zeylanica), Kahata (Careya arborea), Mee (Madhuca longifolia), Kumbuk (Terminalia arjuna), Domba (Calophyllum inophyllum), Karanda (Pongamia pinnata), Madan (Syzygium cumini), Wal Del (Artocarpus nobilis), Kudu Dawula (Neolitsea cassia), Kitul (Caryota urens), Kenda (Macaranga sp.) and Nuga (Ficus spp.), were planted across 1.5 hectares of degraded lands owned by the University of Peradeniya.
An awareness session was conducted at the outset of the event to emphasize the significance of 'Restoring the degraded lands for enhancement of ecosystem services', 'Role of next generation in conserving forest resources' and 'Multistakeholder partnership for restoration projects' by Prof. M.D. Lamawansha (Vice-chancellor, UoP), Mr. Saneth Jayasundara (Senior Regional Manager (Central), Prof. R.G.S.C. Rajapakse (Dean, Faculty of Science, UoP), Prof. Tilak Hewawasam (Director, Centre for Environmental Sustainability), Mr. Sumudu Gunawardena (Chief Information Officer, Commercial Bank), Mr. U.G.R. Pushpakumara (Former Grama Niladhari, Palle Peradeniya Division) and Prof. Thilanka Gunaratne (Team Leader, Regreen Hanatana Project).
Prof. Ravi Kuruppuge (Deputy Vice Chancellor), Prof. Sumudu Rubasinghe (Head, Department of Botany), Dr. Nalin Suranjith (Deputy Director, Centre for Environmental Sustainability), Mr. Thusitha Suraweera (Assistant General Manager-Operations, Commercial Bank), Ms. Kelum Amarasinghe (Assistant General Manager – Compliance, Commercial Bank), Mr. Janaka Samarajeewa (Senior Manager, Commercial Bank), Mr. R.D.S.C. Chandrasiri and Mr. D.M.R. Dissanayake (Forest Department, Kandy), Mr. U.G.R. Pushpakumara (Former Grama Niladhari, Palle Peradeniya Division) along with 16 University Staff Members, 150 Commercial Bank Officers, 150 University Undergraduates and 25 Community Volunteers participated for this green event.
Continuous site maintenance and monitoring will play a pivotal role in enhancing ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity, soil protection, and the safeguarding of water catchments within the HEPA. The project highlights that a multistakeholder partnership involving the government, private sector, and the local community can pave the way to achieve sustainable development goals in the future.