In 1983, together with colleagues, Dr. Ranil Senanayke, the originator of Analog Forestry, began testing its concepts on the ground at Belipola. At that time Belipola was an abandoned tea estate, with tall grasses, old tea bushes, and few trees and mostly degraded soils. The intention was to create something that looked and acted like the long standing forest gardens in the punaragamas, using knowledge and concepts of systems ecology, keystone species, edge effects, emergent species, and creative design. With the help of a hard- working and dedicated team, the Belipola Arboretum was created and the concept of Analog Forestry was born. In its first 20 years, Belipola was a hive of activity, as a training and research venue, to a living forest garden production site.
Today over 60 species of birds, an array of mammals such barking deer, monkeys; wild boar, porcupine, mongoose and amphibians have also made their home here. Currently Belipola managed by Rainforest rescue international and become a social enterprise by providing many jobs for the villagers. Uva Forest Garden Products (UFGP) focuses on offering agricultural products from the ecological farm at Belipola. The farm is recognized as organic by the Good Market Participatory Guarantee System (PGS).
In early 2015 Belipola was start up programs for community based service tourism. It has provided us and our community with so much enrichment, connection and joy. Since 2014 Belipola has been hosting guests and volunteers at the center. We take an educational approach to visiting. Everyone gets to experience the forest for its aesthetics, but also to learn about the issues facing forests and landscapes in our area. We teach the basics of Analog Forestry and organic farming to everyone who visits Belipola and people often learn about trees, plants, biodiversity, forest garden processing and they get to eat from the bounty of the forest.