Environmental sustainability is the key to development and growth of a country. Sustainability is focused on the ability of the planet’s renewable resources to sustain life in general and human development in particular. Sustainable development is most commonly known as the development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. To make this concept a reality, the Agenda 21 of the 1992 Rio Declaration urged countries to “develop the concept of indicators of sustainable development” in a way that would “contribute to a self-regulating sustainability of integrated environment and development systems.” The Millennium Development Goals also captured the importance of environmental sustainability to the development of nations. Despite some progress towards meeting this goal, there is still considerable global and local challenges that threaten the development and environmental gains achieved. Though long-term sustainability of environment and natural resources depend on their ability to provide benefits to people and the country environmental related pressures have destabilized the base for growth and development of many nations.
Sri Lanka ranked as a global biodiversity hotspot exhibits a wide array of ecosystems with a diversity of species considered to be the richest per unit area in the Asian region. Although it has an exceptional degree of endemism, only about 14% of land area is under legal protection. Deforestation, forest degradation, loss of biodiversity continues despite conservation efforts. In the context of Sri Lanka’s development, the Human-Elephant Conflict is a noteworthy issue. Though Sri Lanka has the highest density of elephants among the Asian elephant range states, the protected areas are insufficient in size and quality to sustain the country’s elephant population. While considering the above issues it is obvious that the future sustainable development of Sri Lanka relies on its biodiversity and natural resources.