Potential of Agroforestry

Potential of Agroforestry

    The different aspects in which agroforestry hold viable potentials to meet the demands of ever- growing human and livestock population. are as follows:
    i) Meeting the demand of food, fuelwood & fodder
    • Enhanced food production from crops associated with trees through nitrogen fixation, better access to soil nutrients brought to surface through deep tree roots, improved availability of nutrients due to high cation-exchange capacity of the soil and its organic matter and mycorrhizal associations
    • Food for man from trees as fruits, nuts and cereal substitutes
    • Fodder for meeting rural needs
    ii) Water conservation
    • Improvement of soil-moisture retention in rainfed croplands and pastures.
    • Regulation of stream flow, reducing flood hazards and a more even supply of water through reduction of run-off and improvement of interception and storage in infiltration galleries.
    • Improvement in drainage from waterlogged or saline soils by trees with high water requirements- biological requirements.
    iii) Fuelwood and energy
    • Fuel-wood for direct combustion
    • Pyrolytic conversion products such as charcoal. oil and gas
    • Ethanol produced from fermentation of high-carbohydrate fruits
    • Oils, latex and other combustible saps and resins
    iv) Shelter from trees
    • Building materials for shelter construction
    • Shade trees for people, livestock and shade-loving crops
    • Wind-breaks and shelter-belts for protection of settlements, crop lands, pastures and roadways
    • Fencing: live fences and fence posts
    v) Raw material for industries
    • Raw material for pulp and paper industry
    • Tannins. essential oils and medicinal ingredients
    • Wood for agricultural implements and various crafts
    • Fibre for weaving
    vi) Cash benefits
    • Direct cash benefits from sale of tree products
    • Indirect cash benefits from increased productivity
    • More income per unit of land than monoculture
    vii) Increased yield and maximized production:
    Combining agriculture crops with trees helps in increasing the productivity of the land by:
    • Utilizing available solar radiations throughout the year and thus enhancing total productivity
    • Many leguminous tree species fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and return much more in leaf fall than they take from soil.
    • Leaves of tree species could be used as green manure and help the farmer to increase soil productivity at optimum levels over a long period of time.
    viii) Diversified products:
    • Several trees, shrubs, herbs and climbers yield a substantial quantity of food materials which are used by rural poor and particularly by tribal.
    • About 213 species of large and small trees, 17 species of palm, 128 species of shrubs, 116 species of herbs, 4 species of fern and 15 species of fungi are known to yield edible/food material.
    • Thus, by adopting agroforestry one can get diversified products viz. fuel, fodder, fruits, fibre, timber, etc.
    • Tree and agriculture crop production system is more productive and is capable of meeting almost all the demands of timber, fodder, fruits, fiber and firewood.
    ix) Utilization of wasteland and degraded land:
    • In India approx 100 million ha area is under different kinds of waste land.
    • These lands can be gainfully utilized for the cultivation of trees.
    • Once the area is vegetated, ecological restoration process starts by means of leaf litter decomposition etc., which leads to improvement in soil condition.
    • Once the soil is improved, this land can be utilized for agricultural production.
    x) Employment opportunities:
    • Unemployment is the country‚Äôs main problem.
    • Agroforestry systems increase the employment opportunities.
    • Plantation, including seed collection and nursery raising generate employment of about 200-500 man days/yr.
    • Wood based industries such as saw milling, furniture, sports goods, pulp and paper, Match splints, bamboo and cane furniture, etc. are the important sectors where rural youth get employment.
    xi) Carbon sequestration services and its influence on climate change:
    • One of the most important contributions of agroforestry in general is to respond to climate change through sequestration of carbon in above ground plant biomass and below ground biomass in the soils.
    xii) Potential reduction in the rate of deforestation:
    • Agroforestry reduced the annual rate of deforestation to a great extent.
    • The ready availability of fuel wood in own farm reduces the burden on the natural forests.
    • The time that household/family members especially women would have spent walking long distances in search of fuelwood in forests can be saved.
    xiii) Improved soil health
    • Trees improve physico-chemical properties of soil.
    • The trees biomass also provide favourable environment for soil microbes and fauna which in turn break down the biomass and release plant nutrients.
    xiv) Agroforestry as a habitat for wild species
    • Agroforestry can enhance connectivity and landscape heterogeneity in multi-functional conservation landscape.

Last modified: Monday, 30 July 2012, 10:36 AM