It is hard to know how much Sri Lankan forest has been cut down as fuel shortages force people to use firewood to cook: inspectors have halted deforestation patrols because they cannot fill up their vehicles.

A deep financial crisis has left Sri Lanka struggling to pay for oil and cooking gas imports for fuel and power generation, threatening to put further pressure on its forests, which cover 17 per cent of the country compared to nearly 40 per cent three decades ago.

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