Dry Zone Ecosystems

Also called dry Mixed-Evergreen Forests or Moist Deciduous Forests. These forests are the most widespread forests in the island, that characterize the lowland dry zone at elevations less than 600m where average rainfall is only 1400- 2000 mm with a distinct dry season of three to six months between April/May and September.

Monsoon Forests are the climax communities of the Dry Zone and consist of two poorly defined layers of evergreen and semi deciduous species of trees. The canopy stratum reaches to about 18 meters with some rare , mostly semi deciduous emergents , which reach to about 25m.. The sub canopy is dominated by Weera( Drypetes sepiaria)
Monsoon forests provide catchment protection to ancient and modern irrigation tanks in the Dry Zone.


  1. Weera (Drypetes sepiaria)
  2. Grey Langun
    (Senmopithecus entellus)
  3. Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus)
  4. Satinwood (Chloroxylon swietenia)
  5. Leopard (Panthera pardus)
  6. Crested serpent Eagle (spilornis cheela)
  7. Welang (Pterospermum canescens)
  8. Blue Faced Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus viridirostris)
  9. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus Paradiseus)

These forests consist of economically important and some, valuable species of timber, like Satinwood ,(Chloro xylon swietenia),Ebony (Diospyros ebenum),Trincomalee Wood (Berrya cordifolia )., Palu (Manilkara hexandra) and Ceylon Oak (Schleichera oleosa). However, the number of endemic species in this eco system is markedly lower than that in the Wet Zone.

There are around 244,000 ha of Monsoon Forest left in large patches in the dry Zone.Hurulu Forest reserve, Wasgomuwa, Wilpaththu and Yala National parks , as well as Ritigala Strict Nature Reserve.

However, even this forest type is under threat from Slash and Burn Agriculture
(Chena cultivation), encroachments and illicit felling of timber. In fact some species of timber, like satinwood and Ebony are considered to be over exploited.

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