Horton Plains : Sri Lanka's Cloud-forest National Park

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Title Horton Plains : Sri Lanka’s Cloud-forest National Park
Author Rohan Pethiyagoda
Summary

With an average elevation of 2100 meters, Horton Plains is Sri Lanka’s loftiest national park. It is also part of the recently-declared UNESCO Central Highlands World Heritage Site. Bordered by Kirigalpotta and Totupolakanda, Sri Lanka’s second and third-highest peaks, the Park offers unparalleled scenery and opportunities for trekking through a pristine tropical montane cloud forest. Despite its small size (just 31 square kilometers – 12 square miles), its unique landscape and attractions such as the World’s End escarpment and Baker’s Falls, have made it Sri Lanka’s most-visited national park.

Horton Plains, however, offers more than just scenery. Its is a center of remarkable biological richness and endemism even within Sri Lanka, which itself is part of a Global Biodiversity Hotspot. Dozens of plants and animals found here can be seen nowhere else. Although big-game abounds (night-time sightings of leopards are commonplace), what make the site special are its smaller, more subtle rarities both plant and animal.

Embellished with almost 500 photographs and 100 specially commissioned drawings, Horton Plains: Sri Lanka’s Cloud-forest National Park is intended to help you identify all the animals and most of the plants you are likely to see in and around Horton Plains, and to find others that demand more effort or keener eyes. It is also intended to help readers understand the history of this remarkable plateau and the fragility of its ecosystem; and appreciate the urgent need for science-based conservation actions that alone can save it from the multitude of threats that confront it .

The twelve authors each bring their own specializations and years of experience in exploring aspects of the biodiversity of the plains, whether the ecology of its cloud frosts, biodiversity , climate of history. Many of the plants and animals illustrated here had never been photographed before. What is more, several species new to science, ranging from frogs to freshwater crabs, were discovered only in the course of the research that led to Horton Plains: Sri Lanka’s Cloud-forest National Park. The landscape too, is illustrated as never before, with unique aerial photographs and satellite imagery.

This indispensable companion will enormously enrich your experience of this jewel among Sri Lanka’s justly-famous national parks.

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