GEF -UNDP Funged Tank- Based Biodiversity Enrichment and Protection Project at Alisthana, Implemented by South Asia Partnership Sri Lanka A Chinese philosopher Lao Tse in the 7th century A.D. said
Learn from them.
Start work with them,
But, with good leaders.
Once a task is accomplished,
They will rejoice saying
“ We have done it ourselves”
Broadly in keeping with this philosophy, South Asia Partnership Sri Lanka(SAPSRI) in operation in Sri Lanka over the past 30 years, selected Alisthana village on the A – 9 road between its 111th and 113the KM posts, near Thirappane, in the Anuradhapura District, “to learn from the people what they know and work with them” to make a beginning in transforming the dry zone in to a wet land as far as possible, with an effective micro-climate change in association with the tank (minor reservoir) environments.
South Asia Partner Ship Sri Lanka (SAPSRI) Project Office at Dayagama Junction (109 km post, on A-9 road to Anuradhapura)
Note: micro climate improvement around plants
The project aims to achieve five main objectives. These include:
- Improvement of home garden vegetation with the plantation of trees of long term economic benefits and in association with them, the scientific short term vegetable giving a touch of intensity in density of plant growth, changing the prevailing dull and parched home garden vegetation in to a lush vegetative appearance with increased productivity and giving a king of a mental happiness in the village houses. When the mind gets clean and healthy their task functions too become healthy and productive. After all, mind is the fore runner of all conditions.
- Increased tree plantation by planting 8,000 trees in the ruined tree girdle (gasgommana) along the upper shoreline of the tank when it is full to : (a) arrest free flowing dry winds causing rapid evaporation rates as high as 6” per month during the dry season; (b) improving micro-climate in an around the tank and its tree girdle when it is resuscitated; (c) sequestration of a large volume of carbon in trees without letting it to escape to the atmosphere; and (d) improvement of biodiversity in association with the tree girdle (gasgommana).
- Establishment of a reed-bed band as a filter (perahana) alongside the tree girdle at the upper shoreline when a tank is full the benefits of which include : (a) arresting the free flow of silt from the catchment area of a tank so that rapid accumulation of silt in that tank is prevented protecting its water storage capacity; and (C) creating a haven for the wading birds to rest and nest particularly when the reeds grow tall and lodge on water increasing biodiversity w ith other water loving creature including micro-organisms.
- Introduction of indigenous fish fingerlings to the tank water which itself enrich biodiversity with the protection of endangered fish varieties and attracting preying birds and other water loving creatures
- Renovation and protection of the age-old Kattakaduwa or the murcky meadow immediately at the foot of the outer toe of the tank bund, in to which alkali/salt water settled down at the bottom of a tank seep down beneath the bund to that meadow (kattakaduwa) through capillary action to be held there in different pools of water without allowing that chemically polluted water to freely flowing in to the paddy fields father downstream. To reduce chemical contents of that water collected in pools, salt succulent trees are also grow on the rims of those water pools.
There is a both a visible physical change and a demonstrated attitudinal change taking place at Alisthana, largely due to :(a) SAPSRI learning from and working with people; (b) the maintenance of a field laboratory training centre where knowledge is imparted in brief to the attendees and detail practical training is given in field demonstrations within the premises enabling the trainees to learn by practice.
Visitors , both local and foreign have highly appreciated this effort and we are looking forward to expand it, one day to achieve our dream of making a good part of the dry zone (about two-thirds of the, 65,000 sq, KM large island of Sri Lanka) a more productive wet zone with a lush vegetation capable of sequestrating a significant volume of carbon emission in respect of the on-going climate change.