Role of agroforestry in soil and water conservation in dryland ecosystems

Agroforestry is the science of developing integrated self sustainable land use systems in which trees are grown on farm lands along with field

crops. It includes the introduction and/or retention of tree crops for timber and fodder, fruit trees, shrubs bamboos, canes and palms along with cultivated filed crops including pasture simultaneously or sequentially on the same piece of land and at the same time to meet the ecological and socio-economic needs of the people. A well planned and properly managed agroforestry programme substantially increase the yield of the land and maintains sustained productivity.

The following are the major agroforestry systems :

  • (1) Agrisilviculture (trees + field crops)
  • (2) Boundary plantation (trees on boundary + field crops)
  • (3) Block plantation (sequential blocks of trees and field crops).
  • (4) Energy plantation (trees + field crops during trees establishment period).
  • (5) Allay cropping (hedges of economic value + field crops).
  • (6) Agrihorticulture (fruit tree + field crops)
  • (7) Silvipasture (trees + pasture/animal husbandry)
  • (8) Forage forestry (fodder trees + pasture).

Besides above mentioned systems, two main practices are adopted with the object of intensifying farming on slopes alongwith reducing soil erosion and increasing moisture conservation. These are (i) sloping agriculture land technology (SALT), (ii) Biomass transfer technology (BTT).

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