Sri Lanka has many more government ministers than other countries. There is a separate Ministry of Botanical Gardens and Public Recreation. Since 1912 the Botanical Gardens had been under supervision of the Department of Agriculture, before a separte Department of national Botanic Gardens was established in 2006. The department is involved in nature conservation, too. It is responsible for ex-situ conservation of Sri Lankan plants. Indeed Botanical Gardens are a key factor in conserving floral gene pools.
Peradeniya near Kandy, besides Bogor on the island of Java, is tropical Asia’s most renowned Botanical Garden and one of the touristic highlights of the country. Hakgala Botanical Gardens near Nuwara Eliya became a profitable institution, too. The department plays a role in attracting tourists to Sri Lanka, since floriculture is part of the island’s rich natural and cultural heritage.
Sri Lanka’s most prominent Botanical Garden, Peradeniya, has plants from different climate zones and from all over the world, Hakgala is situated in the highlands and Gampaha in the wet zone. Recently, a dry zone Botanical Garden of 120 hectares size has been added at Mirijjawala near Hambantota. The main purpose of the new garden is ex-situ conservation of Sri Lanka’s dry and arid zone plants. Iit can be expected to open soon, to showcase dry zone vegetation also to the public, to domestic as well as foreign visitors. It is hoped to stimulate the local economy.
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