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Water, Air, & Soil Pollution: Focus

, Volume 5, Issue 1–2, pp 89–101 | Cite as

Sustainability of Current Agricultural Practices in The Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

  • B. Y. Aminuddin
  • M. H. Ghulam
  • W. Y. Wan Abdullah
  • M. Zulkefli
  • R. B. Salama
Article

Abstract

Cameron Highlands is a mountainous region with steep slopes. Gradients exceeding 20 are common. The climate is favourable to the cultivation of tea, sub-tropical vegetables and flowers (under rain-shelter). Crop production is sustained by high fertiliser and manure applications. However, agriculture in this environment is characterised by high levels of soil erosion and environmental pollution. A study on the sustainability of these agro-ecosystems was conducted. Results indicated that soil loss was in the range of 24–42 ton/ha/yr under vegetables and 1.3 ton under rain-shelter. Sediment load in the vegetable sub-catchment reached 3.5 g/L, 50 times higher than that associated with flowers under rain-shelter and tea. The sediments contained high nutrient loads of up to 470 kg N/ha/yr. The N, P and K lost in runoff from cabbage farms was 154 kg/season/ha, whereas in chrysanthemum farms it was 5 kg. In cabbage farms, the N, P, and K lost through leaching was 193 kg/season/ha. The NO3–N concentration in the runoff from the cabbage farms reached 25 ppm but less than 10 ppm in runoff from rain-shelters. Inorganic pollution in the rivers was within the acceptable limit of 10 ppm. The sustainability of the agro-ecosystems is in the order of tea { > } rain–shelter ≫ vegetables.

Keywords

agricultural pollution environment highland nutrient loss sustainable agriculture soil loss 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. Y. Aminuddin
    • 1
  • M. H. Ghulam
    • 1
  • W. Y. Wan Abdullah
    • 2
  • M. Zulkefli
    • 1
  • R. B. Salama
    • 3
  1. 1.Strategic, Environment and Natural Resources Research CentreMARDIKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.MARDI Research Station Cameron HighlandsTanah RataMalaysia
  3. 3.CSIRO Land and WaterPO WEMBLEY

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