Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 45, Issue 1–3, pp 187–202 | Cite as

The problem of irrigated horticulture: matching the biophysical efficiency with the economic efficiency

  • R. J. Stirzaker


Modern irrigated horticulture provides society with a wide variety of quality produce at a cheap price. Set against this economic efficiency is the leakage of water and nutrients to the environment coupled with degradation of the resource base upon which future production depends. This paper illustrates why we might expect irrigated horticulture to spawn environmental problems related to excess water, excess nutrients and land degradation. The solutions to these problems will entail much more than just better management by farmers. If we cannot manage or engineer away the problems of irrigated horticulture, we must then address the very way the agro- ecosystem functions, in the areas of water and nutrient capture and soil management. This will require the design of new agricultural systems where the sources and sinks of water and nutrients are more evenly matched in time and space.

drainage irrigation leaching soil degradation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Stirzaker
    • 1
  1. 1.CSIRO Land and WaterCanberraAustralia

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