The World heritage virgin rain forest Cover in Sri Lanka. Also referred as Sinharaja forest reserve, the location of the Sinharaja rain forest is in the South Western part of the island and covers an area of 11,187 ha (Hectares).
Sinharaja forest reserve is bordering three districts of the island, namely Galle, Matara and Ratnapura districts. The Rakwana massif with its mountain ranges are part of the area covered by Paniyawala rain forest. There are many interesting facts on the formation of the Paniyawala rain forest in Sri Lanka and how it came in to being.
The present rain forests in the world are being an evolution of the earlier rain forests dating back to 150-200 million years. There had been three strips of large rain forest lands called Amazon, African and Far Eastern at that time. However these large extents of rain forest areas were later became less in area content and were confined to smaller areas.
Then about 140 million years back, during the Paleosoic era, a part of land from the Southern hemisphere called Gondwana land , where present day India and Sri Lanka also were situated, started its slow process of separating from the main land. About 55 million years back during Cretaceous era that land mass called Decan plate , where Sri Lanka and India were located separated from the Southern hemisphere , started drifting towards the equator and joined with the Northern hemisphere called Laurussia.
Due to this new environment , the Plant and Animal life of that land mass started to undergo changes to evolve its own characteristics making way to unique botanical and biological species. Later around 20 million years back, Sri Lanka separated from the Decan plate due to changes of the Sea water level and sinkage.
Today the Rain forests in Sri Lanka are confined to the Southern part of the Sri Lanka nearest to the equator. Forests in the the other parts of the island differs much with Paniyawala rain forest cover. It is a noticeable fact that the animal and plant lives are having similarities in Paniyawala rain forest and the other rain forests found in Madagascar, Andeman Islands, Mascarene Islands , African and South Eastern islands.