Environmental, Technical, and Resources Challenges Facing Agroforestry: A Case of Sustainable Land Management in Malaysia

Zaleha Othman (1), Arfan Shahzad (2), Subramanian A/L Sri Ramalu (3)
(1) Othman Yeop Abdullah Graduate School of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
(2) Malik Firoz Khan Noon Business School University of Sargodha Pakistan, Pakistan,
(3) School of Business Management, College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Malaysia


Sustainable Land Management (SLM) plays a crucial role in mitigating land degradation and fostering food security. While previous research has primarily concentrated on SLM's scientific application, there remains a lack of insight into the specific challenges encountered in agroforestry practices. Addressing this knowledge gap, our qualitative research employed a multimethod approach, integrating Gioia methodology with case studies, to investigate the obstacles within agroforestry. We utilized diverse data sources, including surveys, interviews, and field observations. A total of ninety-eight respondents contributed to the survey, the results of which underwent descriptive analysis. Furthermore, we conducted three focus group interviews involving stakeholders from government bodies and private plantation sectors. Our findings indicate that agroforestry stands as a vital strategy for food security. However, its implementation faces several barriers, notably environmental challenges such as climate change impacts and soil fertility degradation. Technical hurdles, including deficiencies in expertise and knowledge, were significant, as were constraints in resources like land availability, labor force, and financial investment. Two primary conclusions were drawn from our research: Agroforestry is substantially beneficial for food security, yet it encounters several challenges that restrict its full potential within the agriculture industry. Consequently, there is an urgent need to address the environmental, technical, and resource-related challenges to optimize the advantages of agroforestry in achieving sustainable land management and bolstering food security.

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Zaleha Othman
zaleha@uum.edu.my (Primary Contact)
Arfan Shahzad
Subramanian A/L Sri Ramalu
Author Biographies

Zaleha Othman, Othman Yeop Abdullah Graduate School of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

Professor. Dr. Zaleha Othman is a Professor of Sustainability. She possesses a Ph.D. in ethics and corporate governance, a master’s in business law, and a Degree in Accountancy. She completed her postdoctoral at Cass Business School, London (UK). Her areas of research are sustainability, corporate governance, ethics, and accounting fraud. She is a prolific qualitative researcher and has more than 30 research projects, funded by international and national agencies.  She produced about sixty publications, which include Scopus journals, peer-reviewed journals, and proceedings, and co-authored several chapters in books. Frequently presented at international conferences and national events on topics related to her research fields. Frequently invited as speaker and workshop facilitator on qualitative research, and Sustainability (ESG), both at the International and National level. Also been appointed as an internal and external examiner in several higher education institutions. She received several awards including the UUM Excellence Service Award in 2017 and Best Research Award OYAGSB in 2019. Previously received articles of Merit Award, in 2016, 2013 (Malaysian Institute of Accountants), and 2022 UUM award for MOOC Development. Editor board members in several Scopus journals such as Public Integrity (Q2), The Qualitative Report(Q1), and GBMR (Mycite).

Arfan Shahzad, Malik Firoz Khan Noon Business School University of Sargodha Pakistan

Professor. Dr. Arfan Shazad is a Professor of Management at Malik Firoz Khan Noon Business School University of Sargodha. Previously working at Othman Yeop Abdullah Graduate School of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from AIOU University in Pakistan, a Master of Science (Information Technology) Degree from Universiti Utara Malaysia, and a Doctor of Business Administration degree from University Utara Malaysia. His fields of study are E-Business, Management Information Systems, quantitative methods, advanced quantitative research, Global Business, and data analysis to MBA/MSC/DBA/Ph.D. He has successfully supervised more than ten PhD, and DBA students, and more than 10 master’s and MBA students. He has published more than 60 research papers in international peer-reviewed and indexed journals of Scopus and ISI. He was appointed to the editorial board of several international journals. He has conducted training on data analysis using SmartPLS 3.0 and SPSS in Malaysia, Thailand, and Pakistan for postgraduate students/Faculty. He also has experience in developing a curriculum, a modern way of conducting classes, building a research network, and establishing a strong network with alumni. Before joining academia, Prof. Dr. Arfan was Chief Technology Officer at R & D SerindIT.com, Malaysia, handling ICT infrastructure projects from 2006-2013 of value USD 1 million per year and continued to work with an erstwhile company as a consultant for ICT infrastructure from 2013 to 2014.

Subramanian A/L Sri Ramalu, School of Business Management, College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia

Professor. Dr. Subramaniam Sri Ramalu is a Professor of Organizational Behavior and Leadership. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), UK. Prior to joining Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) in 2006, Prof. Subramaniam worked for several multinational companies in a managerial capacity. He is a Certified Professional Trainer and a Member of the Malaysian Institute of Management. He is also a Certified Trainer of the Human Resources Development Fund, an agency under the Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia. He has held various administrative positions at the University. His current position is Director of the Postgraduate Studies Unit, College of Business, Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM). Also a deputy dean of Othman Yeop Abdullah Graduate School of Business, UUM. In recognition of his leadership in academics, he has been admitted as a Certified Executive Academy Teaching and Learning Professional by The European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), an accreditation body for business schools based in Brussels, Belgium. He also attended the Global Executive Workshop for Higher Education Management and Administration at Michigan State University, USA. His research interests include leadership, organizational behavior, and human resource management. He has successfully supervised 15 doctoral students and more than 20 Master students. To date, he has completed 16 research projects and published more than 60 articles in both local and international journals. He also serves as an editor and board member in several international journals and is frequently invited to review articles for reputable journals such as the Journal of Global Mobility, the International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, and the Journal of Management & Organization.

Othman, Z., Shahzad, A., & Ramalu, S. A. S. (2024). Environmental, Technical, and Resources Challenges Facing Agroforestry: A Case of Sustainable Land Management in Malaysia. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 24(1), 63–76. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v24i1.633

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