The island of Sri Lanka is free from serious natural hazards such as volcanic activity and earthquakes resulting from climatic extremes, but there are impacts of many natural disasters, such as landslides, floods and droughts, the intensity and frequency of which are increasing due to human interventions. Some areas of Sri Lanka are also periodically subject to cyclones that occur due to climatic conditions and geographical locations. Land degradation denotes all natural or anthropogenic processes that diminish or impair productivity of land. This occurs mainly through soil erosion, loss of organic matter and nutrients in the soil; salinization and large scale land degradation in Sri Lanka. Its manifestations today are heavy loss of soil, siltation in the water bodies, reservoirs and coastal waters, unplanned settlements, loss of arable land leading to declining productivity in agricultural lands and intensification of impacts of natural hazards such as flooding and landslides. Land degradation is a major problem in Eastern Coastal Area from Kalmunai MC, Karaitivu and Nintavur Divisional Secretariat Divisions (DSDs) of Ampara District. However, there is a considerable spatial heterogeneity exists within this area in terms of land use, topography, land management and socio-economic conditions. Therefore, land degradation assessment studies are very important for the sustainable development of the area. Considering the above background, this study was conducted with the objectives of developing a land degradation assessment model using a GIS based approach.
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