The Dung Beetle Project, for which WNPS is sponsoring the scientific research component, aims to build an environmental quality model using dung beetles as a biological indicator. This model will be an important validation tool to determine the healthiness of tea and other agricultural landscapes.
Following the WNPS announcement in June 2021 that D.L. & F. De Saram had come on board as a main sponsor of the Dung Beetle project, we are pleased to confirm that the project is making good progress since it got underway in July 2021.
Ms. Rumeshika Perera and a group of 3 rd year students from University of Sabaragamuwa, under the supervision of Prof. Enoka Kudavidanage, have already undertaken 1 st field trials in Balangoda, Rathnapura District. The research team have placed traps and subsequently collected specimens in many different land-use types, including natural and plantation forests, home gardens, and tea plantations. Site selection pre-visits have also been carried out in Nuwara Eliya district to allow for further data collection in plantations with different management practices, from fully organic to those which use chemical pesticide and fertilizer.
As part of the community outreach aspect of this project the students’ group has also undertaken village questionnaire surveys to understand the level of knowledge and awareness there is currently about the value of dung beetles in enriching soils naturally. Following the questionnaire, the group took the opportunity to educate the community where needed.
The project is expected to take 2 years in total to complete, and the remaining 17 months will include additional field surveys for sample collection and observations, data analysis, thesis writing, and building the environmental quality model.
WNPS would again like to thank project sponsor D.L. & F. De Saram, without whose contribution this valuable project would not have been possible. Thanks is also extended to Prof. Enoka Kudavidanage, Ms. Rumeshika Perera and the students of University of Sabaragamuwa who are carrying out the research works. And finally, appreciation is given to the property owners who have given permission for field trials to be conducted within their land.