Diversity and Habitat Occupancy of Amphibians of the Knuckles Mountain Forest Range World Heritage Site, Sri Lanka, and Related Conservation Issues

Senarathge R Weerawardhena, Anthony P Russell

Abstract


From 1881 to 2010, the original forest cover of Sri Lanka was reduced from 84 to 14%. As a result, only about 750 km2 of relatively undisturbed, but fragmented, virgin forest still remains in the wet zone of Sri Lanka. The three main fragments, the Knuckles, the Peak Wilderness, and Sinharâja, account for half of the remaining virgin forest. Although the persisting virgin forest in the Knuckles is highly fragmented, and drastically reduced in area due to the clearing of land for the cultivation of cash-crops, its diverse vegetational types harbor a rich vertebrate fauna, some members of which are unique to Sri Lanka. During our study of amphibians in this area we encountered 24 species. Although the Knuckles is recognized as being vulnerable to uncontrolled human influences, it remains an important locality in Sri Lanka because of its rich biological diversity and endemicity.

Keywords


abandoned agricultural fields; anthropogenic threats; Pseudophilautus; ecological succession

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.30906/1026-2296-2019-22-%25s-11-22

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