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Kottawa Forest

Kottawa Forest Reserve (Arboretum), which is situated about 19 km northeast of Galle, is a small (15-hectare), isolated patch of low country rainforest displaying all of the features of a typical wet evergreen rainforest. Tall trees with buttressed trunks and overlapping leaf canopies struggle upwards to reach any available sunlight and prevent the sun from penetrating to the forest floor. As trees are the dominant plant species, Kottawa is considered a climax community, which is a healthy sign for the forest's longevity. Any vegetation that does grow is dominated by Dipterocarpus species and tree ferns, while orchids and mosses inhabit the tree bark.

There are over 170 tree species identified in the area of which about 100 species are endemic to Sri Lanka. Seventy or so bird species have also been recorded, including 12 endemics such as the Yellow-fronted Barbet, Brown-capped Babbler, Spot-winged Thrush, Sri Lankan Spurfowl and Grey Hornbill. It is also a good place to spot some of the island's beautiful butterflies (e.g. Birdwing, Tree Nymph, Clipper, Blue Oakleaf), as well as the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Toque Macaque and Giant Squirrel, which dominate the forest canopy. Among the reptiles are some of Sri Lanka's non-venomous snakes and endemic agamid lizards. The unpolluted streams that traverse the forest harbour a variety of fish including many endemic species.

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