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Concept, Definition, Importance

Agroforestry: Concept

• Agriculture + Forestry = Agroforestry (should have

been Agriforestry).
• A form of extension forestry beyond forest
• Involves dynamic land use planning.
• Normally involves two or more species of plants
(or plants and animals), at least one of which is a
woody perennial
• Always has two or more outputs.
• The cycle of an agroforestry system is always
more than one year.
• Even the simplest agroforestry system is
structurally, functionally, and socio-economically
more complex than a mono-cropping system.
• An alternative land use system.
• Maximizes production and productivity of land.
• A sustainable land use system.
Agroforestry: Definition

Agroforety has been defined as a sustainable land

management system which increases the yield of
the land, combines the production of crops and
forest plants and/or animal simultaneously or
sequentially on the same unit of land and applied
management practices that are compatible with the
cultural practices of the local population (King and
Chander, 1978)
Agroforestry: Some more definitions
• "A sustainable management system for land that increases
overall production, combines agricultural crops, tree crops
and forest plants and/or animals simultaneously/or
sequentially and applies management practices that are
compatible with cultural patterns of local population".

• "Agroforestry is a collective name for land-use systems and

technologies in which woody perennials including trees,
shrubs, bamboos etc. are deliberately combined on the same
land-management unit with herbaceous crops or animals
either in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal
Agroforestry: Some more definitions

• "Agroforestry is a land-use that involves deliberate retention,

introduction, or mixture of trees or other woody perennials in
crop/animal production field to benefit from the resultant
ecological and economical interactions".

• "Agroforestry is a dynamic, ecologically based, natural

resource management practice that, through the integration
of trees on farms and in the agricultural landscape, diversifies
and sustains production for increased social, economic and
environmental benefits".
Agroforestry: Importance
• Meeting the needs of the farmer
– Increased farm income on sustainable basis for long term
– Supplies food, fodder, fuel and timber
– Leaf fodder from trees in hilly, semi-arid and arid regions
– The estimated fodder requirement in India is 882 million tonnes;
availability is only 434 million tonnes.
– Estimated domestic consumption of fuel wood 235 million m3 of which
only 40 million m3 comes from forest.
With turmeric With wheat

With fodder
Fig fruits as vegetable

Timber production With aloe as medicinal plant

• Conserving soil and water
– Annual soil loss is 16.4 t/ha/yr against permissible limit of 4.5 t/ha/yr
– Tree species reduce wind velocity and prevent wind erosion of soil.
– Tree cover checks run-off of water and suspended sediments.
– Deep rooted trees along contour and hedges with cover crops help in
soil stabilization and prevents land slides in hilly areas.

• Maintenance of soil fertility
– Tree foliage used as mulch and green manure
– Growing Leucaena for three years on a sandy soil improves the soil
fertility considerably.
– Breaking of impermeable layers in certain soils.

Subabul tree in alley

Subabul tree
• Controlling salinization and waterlogging
– Shade of tree restricts evaporation and reduces upward movement of
ground water to the soil surface.
– Tree species like Eucalyptus, Acacia nilotica, Prosopis cineraria are
helpful for reclammation of waterlogged soil as they act as bio-
– Strong deep rooted trees assist in reclammation of alkaline soils by
penetrating buries ‘caliche’ layers created by improper irrigation.
– Trees like Prosopis juliflora (Mesquite, Vilayati babul) and grass species
like Diplachne fusca (Karnal grass) are tolerant to saline and alkaline
soil conditions and are useful for reclammation of these soils.
Prosopis juliflora

Prosopis juliflora for reclammation of alkaline soil

Karnal grass
• Positive environmental impact
– Moderation of microclimate in vicinity of trees
– Wind breaks protect the field crops form strong wind, loo, cold wave etc.
– Maintians balance in oxygen-carbon-di-oxide, atmospheric temperature
and relative humidity.

• Alternate land use for marginal and degraded lands

– Economic and profitable use of marginal lands
– Sustainable land use system in low and erratic rainfall areas such arid
and semi arid regions.
– Trees and grasses of agroforestry system can use off season rains
gainfully and also protects the soil from erosion