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Mapping of Potential Growing Areas of Priority Fruit Crops in Sri Lanka by Using

Geographic Information System


Perera, M.T.D.S.
Department of Soil and Water Resource Management,
Faculty of Agriculture,
Rajarata University of Sri Lanka

ABSTRACT

A study was carried out with the objective of mapping of potential areas of three selected priority fruit
crops in Sri Lanka. Three selected fruit crops were Pineapple, Rambutan and Durian. In this exercise
the entire Island was considered as the study area. The evaluation of land in terms of the suitability
classes was based on the method as described in FAO guideline (1981) for land evaluation and this
was carried out using Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

The essence of land suitability evaluation is to compare or match the requirements of potential
suitability for fruit crops with the characteristics of each kind of land. Land unit is obtained by
overlaying of selected theme layers, which are unique information of land qualities for which the fruit
crop suitability is based on. The selected theme layers for this study include great soil group,
landform, elevation and agro ecological data. Theme layers were collected from the existing maps and
existing information. Spatial and attribute data of above mentioned layers were encoded in a GIS
database to create thematic layers. By overlaying the layers, produced a polygonal layer for each fruit
crop. Land suitability classes identified by matching the crop requirements by using Simple Limitation
Approach (SLA) in order to produce a tentative land suitability maps.

Tentative suitability maps were field checked and compared with actual boundaries which were
ascertained using GPS readings. There were occasions where the predicted boundaries are falling line
with actual boundaries, but at sometime few occasions were observed that the predicted one is not in
agreement with the actual situation. Thus the study revealed that prediction of suitable areas for
selected fruit crops can be performed using data layers such as soils, rainfall, elevation and agro-
ecological zone but additional inputs would be a necessity to improve the accuracy levels.

Key words – Land evaluation, Geographic Information System (GIS), Suitability classes, FAO
guideline, Soil series, Boundary lines, Geographic Positioning System (GPS), Digitized layer, Simple
Limitation Approach (SLA)