Spatial assessment of climate change effects on crop suitability for major plantation crops in Sri Lanka

P. M.S. Jayathilaka, Peeyush Soni*, Sylvain R. Perret, H. P.W. Jayasuriya, Vilas M. Salokhe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change is the main global challenge of this century; it is therefore imperative to identify its effects on agriculture in developing countries. This research makes spatial assessment of climate change effect on major plantation crops in Sri Lanka, with emphasis on crop suitability of tea, rubber, and coconut. Geo-referenced maps of spatial and temporal changes in crop suitability and production potentials are generated and compared. Data pertaining to six agro-ecological zones under the study area are analyzed for a period of 1980-2007. Crop suitability maps are generated amalgamating yield maps and climatic factors maps using AHP in multi-criteria analysis under two time frames of 1980-1992 and 1993-2007. Percent change in crop suitability and crop yield classes is calculated based on five crop suitability and five crop yield classes during two time frames. Dynamics of climatic parameters and crop yield are recognized using geo-referenced maps. The suitability maps of the two time frames are compared to identify the changes with each crop in conjunction with changes in the prevailing climate and yield. Geographic shift of suitability, yield, and climate classes are examined. Net gain or loss in crop production is quantified. Long-term annual rainfall significantly decreased in mid-country wet zone, whereas the mean temperature of the study area increased by 1. 4°C. Results clearly showed that the climate and yield can be meaningfully related to the crop suitability and management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


  • Agro-ecological zone
  • Climate change
  • Coconut
  • Crop suitability
  • Crop yield
  • GIS
  • Plantation crop
  • Rubber
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change


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