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Development of an Agriculture Sustainability Index (ASI) Using Multi Criteria Geospatial Modelling: A Case Study of Kotmale Catchment Area, Sri Lanka

  • Dissanayake DMSLB
    Division of Spatial Information Science, Graduate school of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan Department of Environmental Management, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, Mihintale 50300, Sri Lanka
  • MORIMOTO Takehiro
    Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1, Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan


<p>Agriculture is playing a larger role in the commercial and rural development by earning foreign currency and rural livelihood. But unsustainable agricultural practices have led to socioeconomic and environmental issues in developing countries. In particular, Sri Lanka has been known as an agricultural country since the colonial period, and it has matured after its independence. The agricultural land located in the mountainous areas of Sri Lanka has become dilapidated due to poor agricultural techniques, coupled with the physical properties of the area and socioeconomic factors. Ensuring the sustainability of agriculture is essential in the mountainous areas of Sri Lanka because more than 66% of its labor force engages, both directly and indirectly, in domestic and commercial agriculture.</p><p></p><p>To support sustainable agricultural planning, this study primarily aims to assess the sustainability of agriculture in Kotmale Catchment Area (KCA) in Sri Lanka using geospatial techniques. The area is located in Central Highland (CH) of Sri Lanka and covers 572 km2 with its altitude ranging from 681-2,505 m above the Mean Sea Level (MSL). Its latitude coordinates are 7°6'32.80"N and 6°47'33.12"N, and its longitude coordinates are 80°50'21.26"E and 80°34'31.34"E. Both primary and secondary data were collected, and an online survey was also conducted to gather experts' opinion on suitability factors. The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), combined with Multi-Criteria Decision Making (MCDM), were the methods employed for the land suitability assessment with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) standard. Thirteen factors have been analyzed under three criteria, i.e., environmental, social, and economic, in AHP and MCDM. Finally, agriculture-related policies have been reviewed.</p><p></p><p>I found out that 48% of agricultural lands in KCA are highly suitable (S1) for future farming; suitable agricultural land is mainly located in the lower part of the catchment. 46.5% of tea land, 69.8% of paddy land, and 58.8% of the home garden were presented by S1 class. However, 51.5% of chena land comes under N1 class (currently not suitable) which is required to apply some remedial methods. Highlighted policy violation has been not observed paddy and home garden, but some minor issues are presented by tea and chena land.</p><p></p><p>The novelty of this research has been achieved by using two approaches: socio-economic data have been used to build a socially accepted ASI, and land related policies have been crosschecked with results of AHP and MCDM to establish policy-oriented approach. The findings of this study can be used as proxy indicators for agriculture planners and decision-makers to ensure the agricultural sustainability of KCA. Moreover, the selected criteria, factors, attributes, and policy of this research can be adjusted accordingly based on the available data to increase its applicability in other areas.</p>



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