Assessing biodiversity surrounding the Heladhanavi Power Plant

Project type
Project status

Project title: Assessing the status of the biodiversity of the rainwater harvesting systems of Heladhanavi Power Plant and its surroundings

Location: Puttalam, Sri Lanka

Duration: August 2014 to January 2015

Project Background: In late 2014, IUCN Sri Lanka office was engaged by Lanka Transformers Limited (LTL) to assess the status of the biodiversity surrounding the rainwater harvesting systems of the abandoned Heladhanavi Power Plant (HPP) premises in the Puttalam district. This power plant generated electricity from heavy fuel oil and was located in a 40-hectare plot of land that contained different habitats, such as scrublands, grasslands, rainwater harvesting tanks and coconut plantations, which supported a diverse array of fauna and flora.  

The LTL wanted to have the biodiversity in their HPP premises assessed for potential future use of the land as the power plant operation is not considered viable. The company is exploring the possibility to use the land for an ecotourism business. 

Initially, a literature survey of road maps and publications on fauna, flora, climate, and geography etc. were carried out to familiarise with the territory and vegetation. The field work was undertaken in three field visits between August 4 and December 15, 2014. The project was completed in January 2015 with the submission of the study report titled Biodiversity survey of the Heladhanavi Power Plant, Puttalam.

Based on the findings of the assessment, a set of recommendations was provided for enhancing biodiversity in the HPP property and specific recommendations provided to mitigate wildlife-human conflict in the project area. The power plant was dismantled as planned and the owners are expecting to use the land for a tourism project.

Objectives of the project: 

The main objective of the project was to better understand the ecosystem and biodiversity of the land in order to decide on alternate uses of the land, preferably a nature-based tourism activity. The study entailed:

  1. Assessing and documenting terrestrial and aquatic habitat/ecosystem types found within the Heladhanavi property
  2. Assessing and documenting structure and composition of vegetation types within the Heladhanavi site
  3. Documenting species richness of vertebrate fauna and selected invertebrate fauna in the different habitats/ecosystems within the Heladhanavi property
  4. Identifying nationally threatened, endemic and invasive faunal and floral species found within the Heladhanavi property
  5. Identifying potential threats to key habitats, and providing recommendations to enhance the surrounding environment


  • A report titled, Biodiversity survey of the Heladhanavi Power Plant, Puttalam, covering ecosystems, habitats, and species found in HPP and recommendations to address potential threats to biodiversity within HPP— One important finding was the presence of the world’s smallest and largest mammal species within the site
  • Justification for the potential use of the old power plant property for nature-based activities 

Donor:  Lanka Transformers Ltd