Mirijjawila Botanic Gardens

The site of the new botanic garden, at Mirijjawala near Hambantota is characterized by scrub jungle and dry zone vegetation. It’s of sufficient size (300 acres) to accommodate both the immediate and the long term needs of a new 21st century garden development and has sufficient water available in the Baragam wila nearby to maintain the site. Rain water harvested within the sites can also be used wherever possible. The main purpose of the new garden is to showcase dry and arid zone plants (ex-situ conservation). The garden will also provide opportunities for ecotourism and economic development in this area and model dry zone landscape improvement. These objectives will be achieved when the garden opens officially to the public. The benefits of conserving dry zone habitat and its distinctive vegetation are largely long term, though no less significant for that. The rich agro-biodiversity in the Island’s farming systems is experiencing many threats due to unplanned land use, pollution, fragmentation and alteration of farming systems. The garden can play a role in ex-situ conservation of some of the more important components of agrobiodiversity found in the dry zone. The garden will also be a source of expertise, particularly in the longer term where Diploma courses and other formal educational provision in Floriculture and Herbal industries will become more important – and popular - within the educational curriculum. Future courses in biodiversity and conservation will also benefit from having a national resource to draw upon, a location for student volunteers (national and international programme potential) and a place where research projects can be carried out too.

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