The potential land suitability assessment for tea is a crucial step in determining the environmental limits of sustainable tea production. The aim of this study was to assess land suitability to determine suitable agricultural land for tea crops in Sri Lanka. Climatic, topographical and soil factors assumed to influence land use were assembled and the weights of their respective contributions to land suitability for tea were assessed using the Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) and the Decision-Making Trail and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL) model. Subsequently, all the factors were integrated to generate the potential land suitability map. The results showed that the largest part of the land in Sri Lanka was occupied by low suitability class (42.1%) and 28.5% registered an unsuitable land cover. Furthermore, 12.4% was moderately suitable, 13.9% was highly suitable and 2.5% was very highly suitable for tea cultivation. The highest proportion of “very highly suitable” areas were recorded in the Nuwara Eliya District, which accounted for 29.50% of the highest category. The model validation results showed that 92.46% of the combined “highly suitable” and “very highly suitable” modelled classes are actual current tea-growing areas, showing the overall robustness of this model and the weightings applied. This result is significant in that it provides effective approaches to enhance land-use efficiency and better management of tea production.
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