The Knuckles Mountain has taken its name from a series of recumbent folds and peaks in the west of the massif which resembles the knuckles of the clenched fist when viewed from certain locations in the Kandy District. Knuckles Mountain Forest Range that covers an area of approximately 21,000 ha. is a part of the Central Highlands World Heritage site, declared in 2010. The Forest Range supports a rich biological diversity with 128 species of birds, 20 species of amphibians, 53 species of reptiles, 15 freshwater species and 31 mammal species. All species are not equally distributed throughout the range. Their distribution depends on multiple factors such as food availability, availability of nesting sites etc. This vary with climate, elevation and land cover.
The Knuckles Mountain Range lies in central Sri Lanka, in the Districts of Matale and Kandy. The range takes its name from a series of recumbent folds and peaks in the west of the massif which resemble the knuckles of clenched fist when viewed from certain locations in the Kandy District. Whilst this name was assigned by early British surveyors, the Sinhalese residents have traditionally referred to the area as Dumbara Kanduvetiya meaning Mist-laden Mountain Range (Cooray, 1984).
The higher montane area is often robed in thick layers of cloud. In addition to its aesthetic value, the range is of great scientific interest. It is a climatic microcosm of the rest of Sri Lanka as the conditions of all the climatic zones in the country are exhibited in the massif. At higher elevations there is a series of isolated cloud forests, harbouring a variety of flora and fauna. Although the range constitutes approximately 0.03% of the island's total area, it is home to a significantly higher proportion of the country's biodiversity. The isolated Knuckles range harbours several relict, endemic flora and fauna that are distinct from central massif. More than 34 percent of Sri Lanka's endemic trees, shrubs, and herbs are only found in these forests.