Assessing agricultural vulnerability to climate change in Sri Lanka

Type Journal Article - Sri Lanka Journal of Food and Agriculture
Title Assessing agricultural vulnerability to climate change in Sri Lanka
Volume 1
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 85-92
Climate change is a global phenomenon having its impact and consequences on environmental changes as well as livelihood adaptations. Vulnerability is defined as the degree to which a system is susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change. The objective of this study was to improve the understanding of the vulnerability to climate change that occurs spatially with time to make investment decisions. Analysis was undertaken for 22 districts in Sri Lanka. Indices were formulated based on those developed by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity. Identification of the functional relationships between indicators and vulnerability were done. All cross sectional data were collected from secondary sources for a 30-year period from 1977 to 2007. Districts were compared in terms of the vulnerability indices. Chi-squares test was employed to find out associations. Badulla was the most exposed district to climate-related events in 1977 and Nuwara-Eliya was the least. In 2007, Kurunegala was the most exposed district and the least was Matara. In 1977, Colombo was the most sensitive district while Mannar was the least sensitive while in 2007, Gampaha was the most sensitive district and Trincomalee was the least. In terms of the adaptation capacity, Jaffna district had the highest capacity in 1997 and Anuradhapura had the lowest. In 2007, Batticaloa District showed the highest adaptation capacity while Anuradhapura showed the lowest. Colombo as the most vulnerable district in 1977 and it remained the same over a 30- year period from 1977 to 2007. Nuwara Eliya and Polonnaruwa had emerged as the least vulnerable districts in 1977 and 2007, respectively. The Chi-square test revealed that the ranking of districts has no concordance with the overall vulnerability. Although the results were not statistically significant, this analysis has provided a sound theoretical base for analyzing vulnerability to climate change. Availability of data for more indicators would have resulted in a more accurate judgment. However, it can be suggested that more attention has to be paid to the most vulnerable areas by launching Government development programmes aiming livelihood and infrastructure improvement. Vulnerability status of the districts must be considered in future policy formulations of the Sri Lankan Government.

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