Soil erosion in disturbed forests and agricultural plantations in tropical undulating terrain: in situ measurement using a laser erosion bridge method

Journal of Water and Climate Change jwc2019063.
The rapid growth of agricultural plantations and climatic extremes has raised concerns pertaining to enhanced soil erosion. Soil erosion studies are still relatively limited in Malaysia. In this study, soil erosion in four sites such as high conservation value forests (HCVFs), logged forest (LF), mature oil palm (MOP), and mature rubber (MR) within the Kelantan River Basin was measured. A total of 3,207 measurements were conducted via the Modified Laser Erosion Bridge in all sites over 1 year. Results of soil erosion are 87.63, 25.45, 8.44, and 5.90 t ha−1 yr−1 for the HCVF, LF, MOP and MR, respectively – classified as very severe (HCVF), very high (LF), moderate (MP) and slight (MR) according to the Indian condition classification. Steep slope gradient (significant positive correlation to erosion) and logging are the main factors attributed to the high erosion rates. This is to be further explored in the future and more detailed studies should be conducted on the HCVF and LF areas, respectively. Mitigation measures and sustainable agricultural practices should be planned to control and reduce soil erosion.

Sediment clues in flood mitigation: the key to determining the origin, transport, and degree of heavy metal contamination


This study seeks to identify sediment sources, quantify erosion rates, and assess water quality status via sediment fingerprinting, the Modified Laser Erosion Bridge (MLEB) method, and various pollution indices (PIs), respectively, in the humid tropics (Malaysia). Geochemical elements were used as tracers in sediment fingerprinting. Erosion rates were measured at 3,241 points that encompass high conservation value forests (HCVFs); logged forests (LFs); mature oil palm (MOP); and mature rubber (MR) plantations. Annual erosion rates were 63.26–84.44, 42.38, 43.76–84.40, and 5.92–59.32 t ha−1 yr−1 in the HCVF, LF, MOP, and MR, respectively. Via sediment fingerprinting, logging and agricultural plantations were identified as the major contributors of the sediment. PIs also indicated the highest level of pollution in those catchments. This study highlighted three main messages: (i) the feasibility and applicability of the multiproxy sediment fingerprinting approach in identifying disaster-prone areas; (ii) the MLEB as a reliable and accurate method for monitoring erosion rates within forested and cultivated landscapes; and (iii) the adaptation of PIs in providing information regarding the status of river water quality without additional laboratory analyses. The combination of these approaches aids in identifying high-risk and disaster-prone areas for the prioritisation of preventive measures in the tropics.
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