Mangrove conservation through filling the gap of knowledge and information of Tamil speaking communities in Puttalam and Mannar Districts

Launch of "Kandalum Soolalum"

Launch of "Kandalum Soolalum", Kalpitiya © Kumudini Ekaratne, IUCN, 2012


A publication on the importance of mangroves for Tamil-speaking communities in Kalpitiya and Mannar minimising the destruction of mangroves and ensuring the conservation of these habitats by disseminating information on mangroves.



Both Kalpitiya in the Puttalam District and the Mannar District are rich in coastal resources and ecosystems such as mangroves. Much of the population in these areas is unaware of the importance of the natural wealth around them, and yet is dependent on natural resources as they are either fishermen using the Puttalam Lagoon and coastal seas extensively, or are farmers who extract mangrove wood for use in their plots; many people also extract wood for firewood or for sale.

These two areas have also been subjected to heavy habitat destruction – the Kalpitiya area has been cleared for establishment of shrimps farms and now, for tourist infrastructure; while natural habitats in the district of Mannar have been cleared for security reasons during the time of the civil unrest.

Given that this destruction of mangroves – for varying reasons – is ongoing in the two above mentioned areas and that people are unaware of the impact of the damages they are causing, conservation education and raising the awareness of communities of the value and importance of mangroves, is, therefore, important.

Information and awareness materials on mangroves may be available in English, but they are scarce in the vernacular, which is what most people understand. Because much of the population in Kalpitiya and Mannar are Tamil speaking, this project addresses the lack of knowledge products in the vernacular to produce and publishes a book on mangroves, written in Tamil.


• A database on mangroves – to provide information of available species, their location and associated threats – has been set up at the grantee office.

• A book, written in Tamil, on mangroves and the environment, named ‘Kandalum Soolalum’, was produced and 500 copies were printed.

• The author of the book is a local farmer who used his hands-on knowledge about mangroves to write the book, which was then reviewed by an academician.

• Three, one-day, training of trainers programmes were carried out for five volunteers representing different organisations (schools, village level government and fisheries cooperative societies) from the Kalpitiya area. These trainers were also provided with guide materials for mangrove conservation. Four field visits have been carried out with these trainers.


Target beneficiaries

Tamil speaking community of Sri Lanka.


500 copies of the book titled "Kandalum Soolalum" .

Accomplishments and challenges

  •  Already, 410 copies of the book have been distributed among stakeholders. A book launch, with key government personnel, helped publicise the book.
  • The database is provided free of charge for use in research.
  • Grama Niladhari (village headman) disseminates the knowledge he gained at the training programmes to his villages; teachers use it in their schools and fisheries leaders use it to encourage mangrove conservation among fishing communities. Grama Niladhari also uses the knowledge gained to evaluate development initiatives along the coastal belt.
  • The Grama Niladhari also uses the knowledge gained to evaluate development initiatives along the coastal belt.


Contributions to cross-cutting themes

Communications: A valuable publication on mangroves.

Lessons Learned

Validated information is invaluable in raising conservation consciousness.

Project Facts






1st Aug 2011 to 31st Mar 2012

MFF Grant Amount

LKR 340,000.00

Implementing Partner

Mr M H Nusry

Marine and Coastal Reseources Conservation Foundation (MCRCF)
5/5 Hill Street, Kalpitiya 6136
Tel: + 94 32-2260480

"A publication on mangroves in Tamil language was a long felt need and are happy that we were able to fulfil this need". Mr M M Nusry

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