Taungya System of Cultivation

Taungya System of Cultivation

    • The taungya system was used primarily as an inexpensive means of establishing timber plantations but is finally a recognized AF system.
    • The taungya (taung = hill, ya = cultivation) is a Burmese word coined in Burma in 1850. The system was introduced to India by Brandis in 1890 and the first taungya plantations were raised in 1896 in North Bengal.
    • It was introduced to S Africa in 1887 and was taken to Chittagong and Sylhat (Now in Bangladesh) in 1870.
    • In India it started in 1896 in North Bengal. In 1890, it was introduced to Coorg in Karnataka. Regular plantation however started in North Bengal in 1911 for raising Sal plantations and in 1912, extended for raising Teak. In 1923 it was adopted in UP for raising Sal plantations.
    • It is still practiced in the states of Kerala, West Bengal, Orissa, Karnataka and the north-eastern hill region.
    • This is a modified form of shifting cultivation in which the labour is permitted to raise agri-crops in an area but only side by side with the forest species planted by it. The practice consists of land preparation, tree planting, growing agricultural crops for 1-3 years, until shade becomes too dense, and then moving on to repeat the cycle in a different area. A large variety of crops and trees, depending on the soil and climatic conditions, are grown in India. In fact this system was introduced to raise forest plantations, but finally became recognized agroforestry system.
Types of Taungya:
i. Departmental Taungya: Under this, agricultural crops and plantation are raised by the forest department by employing a number of labourers on daily wages. The main aim of raising crops along with the plantation is to keep down weed growth.
ii. Leased Taungya: The plantation land is given on lease to the person who offers the highest money for raising crops for a specified number of years and ensures care of tree plantation.
iii. Village Taungya: This is the most successful of the three taungya systems. In this crops are raised by the people who have settled down in a village inside the forest for this purpose. Usually each family has about 0.8 to 1.7 ha of land to raise trees and cultivate crops for 3 to 4 years.

Table 3.1: Trees and crops grown in Taungya

Tree crop Associated agricultural crops

Shorea robusta, Tectona grandis

Acacia catechu, Dalbergia sisso,

Eucalyptus spp. Populus spp.

Maize, paddy, sorghum, pigeon-pea, soyabean, wheat, barley, chick-pea, rape-seed and miscellaneous
Andhra Pradesh (AP)

Anacardium occidentale,

Tectona grandis, Bombax ceiba, Bamboo, Eucalyptus spp.

Hill paddy, groundnut, sweet potato
Kerala Tectona grandis Bombax ceiba Eucalyptus spp. Paddy, tapioca, ginger, turmeric, etc.
Shorea robusta, S assamica Paddy
Tamil Nadu

Tectona grandis, Santalum album

Tamarindus indica, Acacia nilotica

Acacia mearnsii ,Ceiba pentandra

Cashew, Rubber, Bamboo

Millet, pulses, groundnut, cotton
Andaman and Nicobar Islands Pterocarpus dalbergioides Sugar-cane, maize
Maharashtra Tectona grandis, Acacia nilotica Sunhemp, jute, mesta, sunflower, castor etc.
Tripura Shorea spp., Schima spp., Michelia spp. Paddy, maize etc
West Bengal

Tectona grandis, Shorea robusta

Schima wallichii, Cryptomeria japonica, Quercus spp. Michelia doltsopa

Paddy, maize, millets, turmeric, ginger, lady’s, finger, pineapple, sunhemp
Karnataka Tectona grandis, Santalum album, Cassia siamea Paddy, tapioca, etc.

Advantages of Taungya:
    • Artificial regeneration of the forest is obtained cheaply;
    • Problems of unemployment are solved;
    • Helps towards maximum utilization of the site;
    • Low cost method of forest plantation establishment;
    • In every case, highly remunerative to the forest departments;
    • Provision of food crops from forest land; and
    • Weed, climber growth, etc. is eliminated.
Disadvantage of the Taungya:
    • Loss of soil fertility and exposure of soil;
    • Danger of epidemics;
    • Legal problems created;
    • Susceptibility of land to accelerated erosion increases; and,
    • It is a form of exploitation of human labour

Last modified: Wednesday, 17 October 2012, 10:33 AM