Kanneliya – Dediyagala – Nakiyadeniya (KDN) Biosphere Reserve – කන්නෙලිය-දෙදියගල-නාකියාදෙණිය ජෛවගෝල රක්ෂිතය
|Size||5,139 ha of Core area and 5000 ha of buffer zone|
|Main attractions||Hiking Trails|
Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya or KDN is a forest complex in southern Sri Lanka. The forest complex was designated as a biosphere reserve in 2004 by the UNESCO. The KDN complex is the last large remaining rainforest in Sri Lanka other than Sinharaja. This forest area has been identified as one of the floristically richest areas in South Asia. The forest complex is situated 35 km northwest of city of Galle. The rain forest is a major catchment area for two of the most important rivers in southern Sri Lanka, the Gin and Nilwala Rivers. This biosphere reserve harbours many plants and animal species endemic to Sri Lanka.
Kanneliya – Dediyagala – Nakiyadeniya (KDN) Biosphere Reserve is a major catchment area for two of the most important rivers in the region, the Gin and Nilwala Rivers, which feeds numerous rivers and streams. They drain into the Indian Ocean near the world famous coral reefs of the Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary. There are high proportion of endemism among the 234 identified woody tree spaces, with 141 being endemic to Sri Lanka. Totally there are 301 plant types can be found at Kanneliya forest reserve. Some 133 faunal species with 59 birds. 14 amphibians 32 butterflies, 7 snakes, 10 mammals . Several conservation programs held in Kanneliya for project this forest. Along with the new conservation initiative this forest seems to have got a reasonable regeneration and rich bio diversity as mentioned above.
Though vehicle traffic is not allowed, several hiking treks have been developed. These treks range from easy to moderate and each one covers some unique locations situated inside the forest.
- Cave Trail – distance : 1.5 km, time 1 hour
- Anagimala Ella Trail – distance : 2.3 km, time 3 hours
- Giant Creeper (Yodha Puswela) Trail – distance : 2.3 km, time 3 hours
- Narangas Ella Trail – distance : 5.2 km, time 6 hours
- Giant Nawada Tree Trail – distance : 5.2 km, time 3 hours
- Kabbale Mountain Trail – 5.5 km, time 6 hours – considered the most difficult trek from all.
All trail start from the Kanneliya information centre at Udugama, Galle.
Map of Kanneliya – Dediyagala – Nakiyadeniya (KDN) Biosphere Reserve and Other Places of Interest
The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites.
Zoom out the map to see more surrounding locations using the mouse scroll wheel or map controls.
Travel Directions to Kanneliya – Dediyagala – Nakiyadeniya (KDN) Biosphere Reserve
Route from Colombo to Kanneliya
Route from Galle to Kanneliya
|Through : Southern Expressway – Pinnaduwa Exchange – Udugama Road|
Distance : 150 km
Travel time : 3 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
|Through : Udugama Road|
Distance : 42 km
Travel time : 1 hour
Driving directions : see on google map
KDN  : In the shadow of Sinharaja
By by Sajitha PREMATUNGE
If you think that Sinharaja, a World Heritage Forest, is rich in biodiversity, think again. Kanneliya Forest Reserve is like the sadly underestimated son living in the shadow of a larger than life father. Sinharaja has revelled in the glory of limelight for long. It is interesting to note that, although Kanneliya is home to similar plants and animals as that of Sinharaja, in terms of biodiversity per unit area it is far superior to Sinharaja. In fact, forests like Kanneliya is a major reason for Sri Lanka being considered as one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world. Kanneliya is a tropical low land rain forest situated about 35 km northeast of Galle, covering a total of about 5305.9 ha. It is the largest of the three conjoined forest complex – Kanneliya- Dediyagala- Nakiyadeniya – otherwise known as KDN. The high endemicity of the forest reserve is due to the forest type – Lowland Rain Forest – to which 17% of the wetzone lowland endemic flora is confined. Getting there is half the battle. If you are the kind of person who hates sitting on a vehicle for long hours, do not be put off. Because in spite of the leeches as well as leech repellent, Kanneliya is a treat for the nature lover. A panoramic view of the KGN complex can be seen from the Kabbale Mountain Peak. The Gin River is the main and the biggest water way of Kanneliya forest reserve. There is no need to over burden yourself with large water containers, because drinking water from streams is quite safe. Small streams provide pristine clear water to fauna, flora and the weary traveller alike.
About 301 plant species are found in the Kanneliya rain forest. Plants like Hadawaka, Hora, Doona, Na, Gong Diva – the smallest member of the ficus family – Kapuru Kurundu – wild relative of cinnamon – Domba Keena, Okeiiya, Kekuna, Etamba, Godapara, Wal dooriyan, Hadawaka and Pitcher plants are found in abundance in Kanneliya. Gal Karandha, common in Kanneliya (Humboldtia laurifolia) is an excellent example of a symbiotic relationship. It has a hollow stem, with a small opening, in which ants live. The Blue Butterfly lays eggs near the entrance to the hollow stem.
The excreta of the butterfly provides a source of food for the ants, while ants provide protection for the eggs. Plants like Kanabadulla – the latex of which is a strong irritant – and Thaapasa Bulath – which is used by locals to stop bleeding can be seen only few feet from the trail. In fact Kanneliya is home to a large numbers of medicinal plants such as Weniwelgeta, Kudahedaya, Maha hedaya, Kothala Himbutu and Rasakinda as well as endemics such as Stemonoporus Kanneliyansis and Wal Del. There are a high proportion of endemics among the 234 identified woody plant species, with 141 being endemic.
Fifty_nine bird species, including scarce endemic species such as the Serendib Scops Owl are residents at Kanneliya. Amphibians, butterflies, snake species and mammals in addition to rare and endemic fish and reptile species can be seen in Kanneliya. Grizzled Indian, Layard’s Striped Squirrel and the endemic Purple-faced Leaf Monkey are examples for mammals that make Kanneliya their home. Endemic lizards include the Rough-nosed Horned and Hump-nosed Lizard, while butterflies include Tree Nymphs and Commanders. Seventeen endemic snake species can be found in Kanneliya. Types of snakes found in Kanneliya include blind snakes, shield-tailed snakes, pythons and boas, cobras, vipers and pit vipers. Gin Ganga, Udugam Oya, Nannikitha Ela and several waterways provide habitats to endemic and other fish in Kanneliya of which 20 species are endemic. An easy five km hike will bring you to Narangas Ella. The same trail also covers the cave, the Giant Navada tree and the giant creeper.
The Kanneliya Forest Reserve has been subjected to selective logging from 1940 to 1988, when it was suspended. Land hunger resulting from increasing population is also another threat. Fortunately, the Forest Department, under the guidance of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has developed a plan to manage and develop the forest, conducting awareness programs and creating awareness through their information centre. A circuit bungalow of the Forest Department is also available. Kanneliya although relatively less known than its bigger counterpart – Sinharaja is a biological treasure, that maybe home to plants that are yet to be identified. Consequently, visitors to this forest reserve should also bear in mind the responsibility to preserve its natural state while sightseeing.