Bundala National Park.


INTRODUCTION.

Bundala National Park is an internationally important wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala harbors 197 species of birds, the highlight being the greater flamingo, which migrate in large flocks.Bundala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1969 and redesignated to a national park on 4 January 1993.In 1991 Bundala became the first wetland to be declared as a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka. In 2005 the national park was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, the fourth biosphere reserve in Sri Lanka.The national park is situated 245 kilometres (152 mi) southeast of Colombo.



Physical features.

The area mainly underlain with hornblende-biotite gneiss of the eastern Vijayan series.The low country dry zone climate prevails in the area. The area have an average relative humidity of 80%. The national park contains five shallow, brackish lagoons with salt pans in three. They are Bundala lagoon of 520 hectares (2.0 sq mi), Embilikala lagoon of 430 hectares (1.7 sq mi), Malala lagoon of 650 hectares (2.5 sq mi), Koholankala lagoon of 390 hectares (1.5 sq mi), and Mahalewaya of 260 hectares (1.0 sq mi). The Koholankala and Mahalewaya are almost totally developed for salt production. The climatic conditions are tropical monsoonal, with a mean annual temperature of 27 °C (81 °F). Annual rainfall ranges from 900–1,300 millimetres (35–51 in), with dry period persists from May to September.The elevation of the park ranges from sea level to 10 metres (33 ft).The park was affected by 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.Due to protection from sand dunes the park received very little damage.



Flora.

The ecological areas of the national park contain seven terrestrial habitat types and six wetland types.The dry thorny shrubs and herbs being the most abundant plant life. A total of 383 plant species belonging to 90 families have been recorded from the park. "The Phytoplankton in all the lagoons is dominated by blue-green algae" including species such as Macrocystis, Nostoc, Oscillatoria. Hydrilla is in abundance in lagoons such as Embilikala and Malala. Water hyacinth, water lilies, and Typha angustifolia reed beds are found in the marshes and streams. The vegetation mainly consists of Acacia scrubs including Dichrostachys cinerea, Randia dumetorum, Ziziphus sp., Gymnosporia emarginata, Carissa spinarum, Capparis zeylanica and Cassia spp. The trees of the forest are Bauhinia racemosa, Salvadora persica, Drypetes sepiaria, Manilkara hexandra (Palu in Sinhalese), and less common Chloroxylon swietenia, Azadirachta indica, and Feronia limonia. Halophyte plants thrive in the national park's environmental conditions. Salicornia brachiata and Halosarcia indica are examples of salt-tolerant plants. In the small degraded patch of mangrove found at the Bundala lagoon area, Lumnitzera racemosa trees are widespread.The strip of Palu tree Manilkara hexandra forest on the sand-dunes east of Bundala village is a unique type of forest in Sri Lanka.



Source - wikipedia.

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