Wilpita Wewa and Forest Reserve

Wilpita Wewa

Wilpita Wewa
, also known as Lenabatuwa Wewa (Sinhala: විල්පිට වැව, ලේනබටුව වැව), is an irrigation tank situated at the northeast edge of the Wilpita Forest Reserve (or Oliyagankele Forest Reserve; Sinhala: ඔලියගන්කැලේ රක්ෂිත වනාන්තරය) near Kamburupitiya in Matara District, Sri Lanka (Abeyawardana, 2004). The Wilpita Forest Reserve is considered the most diverse of the forest in the district as it has a high floral and faunal diversity with a high proportion of endemic species (Kumari et al., 2005). It is presently under the administration of the Department of Forest Conservation.

The Wilpita tank is mainly fed from the water sources that come from the Wilpita Forest Reserve and from a Bubula (a natural water spring) called Galagawa. The reservoir extends into an area of about 3,075 acres providing water to irrigate paddy lands of about 246 acres. The old Lenabatuwa Ambalama is located at the southern border of the tank.

The Wilpita Forest Reserve is a medium lowland tropical rainforest situated approximately 15 km north of Matara town and it covers an area of about 500 ha (Kumari et al., 2005; Samarakoon & Dissanayake, 2003). Topographically, the forest reserve is moderately hilly, and the altitude varies from 30-100 m (Samarakoon & Dissanayake, 2003). Climatically, the forest lies in the wet zone receiving an annual rainfall of 2,354 mm (Samarakoon & Dissanayake, 2003).

The forest is separated by its nearby Welihena Forest by the Wilpita Group of Rubber and Tea Plantations located in the northeast (Kumari et al., 2005). It has about 15 ha of closed canopy forest and 28.7 ha of planted trees (Kumari et al., 2005). The forest was declared a Strict Nature Reserve in 1939 [(Gazette Notification, No 8497) Kumari et al., 2005]. It was also part of several development programs such as the Man and the Biosphere program, the Matara Integrated Rural Development Program and the Participatory Forest Program of IUCN (Kumari et al., 2005). 


1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Ruhuna: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. ISBN: 955-575-073-4. p.64.
2) Kumari, N.U., Amarasigha, N.J. De S. and Guruge, W.A.H.P., 2005. Study of fish fauna in the streams of Oliyagankele Forest Reserve and in Lenabatuwa tank. Proceedings of the Third Science Symposium. Faculty of Science. University of Matara. pp.123-140.
3) Samarakoon, S.P. and Dissanayake, D.M.S., 2003. Ecology of woody plants of the undergrowth of Oliyagankele Forest Reserve» a tropical rainforest in Southern Sri Lanka. pp.115-127.

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This page was last updated on 11 September 2023

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