Climate Change Centre

Sri Lanka, being an island nation, is particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change. Irreversible changes to ecosystems are already visible in many parts of the country. There is a dearth of scientific knowledge on climate change adaptation and mitigation options in Sri Lanka. In order to address this, Dilmah Conservation has established Sri Lanka’s first climate change research station at Dilmah Tea’s Queensbury Estate in Nawalapitiya.

Climate change presents multiple adverse socio-economic and environmental challenges that will culminate in catastrophic effects both locally and globally. Changes in rainfall patterns and temperatures are already contributing majorly to food insecurity. Tea plantations situated in Sri Lanka’s wet zone region are amongst the first places expected to be impacted by climate change.

Research conducted at the climate change centre at Dilamah’s Nawalapitiya Estate will focus not only on the tea sector, but also form a platform where leading experts on climate science can exchange ideas and contribute the climate change adaptation and mitigation in Sri Lanka.

Through the climate change centre Dilmah Tea hopes to create a self-sustaining institution that will utilize clean energy, environmentally friendly water treatment, and contribute to biodiversity enrichment, and public education and awareness.

key research areas:

  • Analysing precipitation trends, patterns and scenarios
  • Impact on biodiversity in montane forests and transitional forests
  • Impacts on wildlife populations and habitats
  • Impacts on regions affected by intense drought
  • Impacts on regions affected by intense flooding
  • Analysing the impact of climatic variation on tea growing regions
  • Models and data on carbon sequestration on tea estates in the hill country
  • National level temperature variation patterns
  • National level climate change models

The Dilmah Conservation Climate Change Advisory Committee comprises of the following distinguished individuals:

  • Mr. S. Premalal (Director General- Meteorological Department)
  • Dr. Shiromani Jayawardena, Deputy Director- Climate Change Research- Meteorological Department
  • Prof. P. Wickramagamage, Prof. Emeritus – Geography Department. University of Peradeniya
  • Dr. B.V.R. Punyawardena, Head Agroclimatalogy and Climate Change Division- Department of Agriculture
  • Professor W.A.J.M. De Costa, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya
  • Prof. S.P. Nissanka, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya
  • Dr. Erandathie Lokupitiya, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo
  • Dr. Mahlon P. Rambukkange, Faculty of Geography, University of Peradeniya
  • Prof. Sarath Kotagama, Prof. Emeritus- Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, Member of Dilmah Conservation Advisory Panel
  • Dr. Lareef Zubair, Project Leader- FECT/ University of Colombia
  • Mr. Dilhan C. Fernando, CEO- Dilmah Tea Company PLC/ Dilmah Conservation
  • Mr. Asanka Abayakoon, Secretarial Support- Dilmah Conservation

Ongoing projects

Public live weather feed from queensberry weather station.

Climate change and tea ecosystems research

Identifying crop management packages to increase the climate resilience of tea crops

Assessment of the impact of weather patterns and the terrain factors on tea Productivity

Upcoming projects

Dilmah Conservation will be releasing a booklet on how you can help fight climate change from home. Stay tuned!

Climate change and sustainability- Awareness raising and capacity building workshop series

Tropical rain forests and changing climate-Establishment of a permanent forest monitoring plot near Climate change center.

Introducing novel technologies for better conservation management of Agricultural landscape-Understanding landscapes’ capacity for resilience

  • Objectives

    The main objective is to facilitate local research on climate variability and its consequential effects on species, ecosystems and man-made systems such as large scale agricultural areas including tea plantations.

    The specific objectives which are to be addressed in the short-term will be:

    • Change in the composition and dynamics of wildlife species (especially those endemic to the island) in mountain habitats and transitional zones under weather changes contributing to climate change
    • Monitoring and modelling the impacts of fragmentation and land use change on wildlife populations and habitats
    • Modelling changes in wildlife population, pest and disease outbreaks and habitats under future climate scenarios
    • Modelling impacts of climate change on tea plantations in the hill country
  • Progress

    Climate Education

    Lecturing about Climate
    Educating Students about Climate Change

    Dilmah’s Climate Change Research Station in Nawalapitiya played host to a group of 70 school children from the Craighead Tea- Estate school for a workshop aimed at educating students about climate change. The workshop was conducted in Tamil by Mr. Vasanthakumar from the Sri Lanka Meteorological department who discussed current climatic trends and how they have impacted Sri Lanka and outlined which mitigation and adaptation measures are available to us to combat climate change.

    Research on Weather/Climate, and Environment in Tea Ecosystems in Sri Lanka

    Name of the Principal collaborative party or organization: DC and FECT
    (Foundation for Environment, Climate, and Technology)

    Dr Lareef Zubair and FECT (Foundation for Environment, Climate, and Technology), with 20 years of experience researching Sri Lanka’s climate and its changes, are key architects of Dilmah Conservation’s climate monitoring initiatives. Their project aims to use climate data to model the changing climate’s impact on the tea sector in Sri Lanka, while compiling climate data that is freely accessible to researchers. As at now, the collaborative project has:

    Highlights/ Progress

    1. Set up Davis Weather Stations, constantly accruing data on climate variables, and Air quality monitors at the Queensberry estatehere is already apparent correlation between air quality variance in Norachcholai and Queensberry (Research – Dr Zubair)
    2. Compiled and linked historical tea production data with climate data
    3. Begun an ongoing database of climate data – which will expand to a nationwide climate monitoring system
    Tea Production Graph since 1970
    Climate of Dilmah Research Centre Queensbury
    A Map of Sri Lanka with Marked Locations

    Related Articles

    A climate-adaptive, eco-friendly crop management package for tea to increase its resilience to climate change

    Name of the Principal collaborative party or organization:
    Prof. Janendra De Costa - Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya
    Prof. Devika De Costa - Department of Agricultural Biology, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya

    The broad objective of the above adaptive research programme is to introduce a crop management package to increase the resilience of tea crops to climate change and other biotic and abiotic stress factors. The overall management package has two components. One component focuses on the nursery stage and includes certain selected measures to produce a vigorous seedling for planting in the field. The second component focuses on introducing certain selected management practices in the field to improve the climate resilience/stress resilience of established tea crops.

    Highlights/ Progress

    1. The research work is spread across the tea fields in all seven estates belonging to Upper Kahawatte Plantations Ltd. located in the Nawalapitiya region.
    2. The ongoing filed treatments of the proposed management package has initiated with 12,500 nursery cuttings since April 2018 at Kataboola Estate.

    Assessment of the impact of weather patterns and the terrain factors on tea productivity in selected locations of Sri Lanka

    Name of the Principal collaborative party or organization:
    Dr.Erandathie Lokupitiya
    Department of Zoology and Environment Sciences, Faculty of Science
    University of Colombo

    The ultra-sensitivity of tea crop and its yield towards the climatic factors such as the increase in temperature, soil moisture deficit and saturation vapour pressure deficit in the low elevations are well proven over the past century. Hence the tea industry in Sri Lanka is clearly vulnerable to predicted climate changes, and greater economic, social and environmental problems. Which is why studying about effect of weather patterns and terrain factors on tea productivity has given a priority under our Climate change research center.

    Highlights/ Progress

    1. The climate change research centre will form a platform for the youth of today to undertake climate related research. It will act as a resource hub and educational facility.
    2. Field work is currently being carried out by Ms. Dharshani Perera who is an undergraduate student at the University of Colombo Sri Lanka.
    3. Begun an ongoing database of climate data – which will expand to a nationwide climate monitoring system
    Discussion of Stakeholder
    Workshop for Climate Research

    Upcoming workshop series

    Capacity building and awareness raising has been identified as one of the key areas to be addressed under DCCCCRA portfolio. Hence a series of trainings/ workshops have been proposed aiming different levels of the available stakeholder network with the objective of “Raising awareness and concerns about climate change and promoting mitigation, strategies for adaptation and preparedness“. The specific goals of the proposed programme are further described as follows

    • Integration of climate risk information when planning projects to build resilience for conservation, urban development, and disaster risk reduction (climate proofing).
    • Strengthen institutional and technical capacities for effective climate change adaptation
    • Awareness raising among the decision makers in the agriculture and allied sectors
    • Awareness and preparedness on climate induced Natural disaster

    This workshop series is designed in collaboration with Dr. Shiromani Jayawardana from Meteorology Department and Dr. B. V. R. Punyawardana from Department of Agriculture Sri Lanka. Its target audiences will be school students, and secontire officers in related government and non-governmental organizations.

    The series will commence in September 2018

  • Partners

    • Meteorological Department
    • University of Peradeniya
    • University of Colombo
    • Department of Agriculture
    • FECT (Foundation for Environment, Climate and Technology)
    • Forest Department