Sri Lanka is considered the biodiversity hot spot with the highest population density. At just under 330 persons per Square Kilometer. Sri Lanka is also the 52nd most densely populated country in the globe.The country has over 80% of it's rural poor living below 1.50 USD a day reliant upon subsistance farming to make ends meet.
A large portion of these poor communities live in and around the remaining forest patches and forest buffer areas, communities settled in the buffer areas surrounding the Singharaja world heritage listed protected forest, engage in Tea production and small scale vegetable farming, many of these groups harvest NTFP's from the forest and harvest firewood and other products on a daily basis.
While entry and use of forest resources are controlled by law very little enforcement exists in the field and this has resulted in the degradation, poaching and timber felling occurring in remote and un-patrolled sites.
Most communities surrounding the rainforests of the south of Sri Lanka understand the importance the forest plays in water security and resource provision. However very little is done to integrate the community into forest governance or management roles.
The need to bridge the Community-Ecosystem need gap is an important milestone in conserving and protecting local forests effectively.
Rainforest Rescue International works with over 3000 farmer families in Sri Lanka to achieve better management of common resources by the local community. The organization works with community groups to address the basic awareness of Forests and the importance and value of an intact ecosystem. farmers are provided knowledge and support, to reach more sustainable and value added cropping systems such as the Analog forestry cropping system.
Certification and value addition to products including marketing of sustainably produced goods from community groups are created within community partner groups.
Rainforest Rescue International is working within the Rich Forests Initiative to help share technical and training skills with other countries that share similar challenges.