Agroforestry Point Wise Notes for Competitive exam


• National forest policy –1988

• Geographical area should be under forest and tree cover – 33%

• Forest area of hilly districts is 38.85% compared to desired 66%.

• National agricultural policy – 2000

• International centre for research in agroforestry or world agroforestry centre located in Nairobi, Kenya.

• ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya established in the year 1978.

• National research centre for agroforestry – Jhansi (1988).

Agroforestry is a sustainable land management system that increases overall production, combines agricultural crops, tree crops and forest plants and/or animals simultaneously or sequentially and applied management practices that are compatible with cultural patterns of local population.

• In agroforestry there are ecological and socio-economic interactions between different components.

• Agroforestry involves two or more species of plants, at least one of which is a woody perennial.

• An agroforestry system has always two or more outputs.

• Cycle of an agroforestry system is always more than one year.

• Agroforestry system is structurally, functionally, socioeconomically more complex than monocropping.

• Agroforestry is a form of multiple cropping which satisfies three basic conditions.

1) There exists at least two plant species that interact biologically.

2) At least one of the plant species is a woody perennial.

3) At least one of the plant species is managed for forage, annual or perennial crop production.

Social forestry is planting trees to help the poor people to improve their living and meeting their routine requirements of fuelwood and fodder.

Farm forestry includes bund planting and field boundaries by farmers themselves.

Farm forestry includes integration of farming with forestry practices on the farm to benefit agriculture. This concept originated for making agriculture economically viable.

Farm forestry includes practice of rising small woods on the farm in addition to normal cultivation to derive indirect benefits like protection of crops against high winds, control of erosion, meeting demands of fuel, small timber, grazing, fodder and leaf manure.

• Programmes to promote commercial tree growing by farmers on their own land is farm forestry.

Community forestry, a form of social forestry, refers to tree planting activities undertaken by a community on community land or panchayat land.

Community forest is a tree dominated ecosystem managed for multiple uses.

Khejri or semi – Prosopis cineraria

  • Aswattha – Ficus religiosa
  • Palasa – Butea monosperma
  • Varuna – Crataeva roxburghii

Kangeyam tract of Tamil Nadu – Acacia leucophloea + Cenchrus setigerus

• Ravines of Yamuna, Chambal for rearing of milk producing jamunapari breed of sheep and goat – trees/shrubs/bamboos + grasses

Semiarid area of Tamil Nadu – scattered khejri or mehndi trees + jowar, bajra, chillies

• Common practice in Rajasthan – plantation of khejri trees for various uses.

• Coastal areas – Casuarina equisetifolia + crops (for cash and to generate small timber).

Live hedges – Mehndi, Agave sisalana, Euphorbia sps.

• Leaves of Pongamia glabra and Sesbania grandiflora are cut annually and applied as green manure to paddy fields.

• In MP and UP application of green manure to paddy field was common.

• In western ghats Terminalia leaves harvested, spread on land, burnt and then paddy, ragi and millets were sown.

Multistory homesteads or home gardens were in existence in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Assam and other North Eastern states as an important agroforestry practice.

Water erosion > salinisation > terrain deformation

• Annual soil loss is 16.35 tonnes/ha.

50 mha area is degraded due to mining activity.

• Extent of degraded forests in the country is > 40 mha.

• Maximum area under wastelands is in Rajasthan (arid and semi arid regions) followed by Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

• By the end of this century crop land per head decrease by 19% due to population explosion.

• There is slight scope to increase food production by increasing the area under cultivation.

Advantages due to agroforestry

  • Microclimate improvement due to trees particularly shelterbelts and windbreaks.
  • Feed for livestock from trees.
  • Food for man from trees as fruits, nuts.
  • Enhanced food production from crops associated with trees due to nitrogen fixation, better access to plant nutrients (trees with deep roots bring nutrients to surface), improved availability of nutrients due to high CEC of soil and its organic matter and mycorrhizal associations.
  • Enhanced sustainability of cropping systems through soil and water conservation by controlling soil erosion and runoff.
  • Improvement of soil moisture retention in rainfed croplands due to improved soil structure and microclimate effect of trees.
  • Reducing flood hazards by controlling runoff, improvement of infiltration.
  • Improvement in water drainage from waterlogged or saline soils by growing trees with high water requirements.
  • Ethanol is produced from fermentation of high carbohydrate fruits.
  • Oils, latex, resins available from trees.
  • Building materials for shelter construction.
  • Provides shade for people, livestock and shade loving crops.
  • As fencing
  • Windbreaks and shelterbelts
  • Raw material for paper and pulp industry
  • Wood for agricultural implements
  •  Fibre for weaving

Planning commission (1989) divided country into 15 agroclimatic zones on the basis of climate, soil type, topography, water resources, irrigation facilities.

ICAR classified India into 20 agro ecological regions and 60 sub regions based on crop growing period, soil groups, geographical boundaries etc.

• On the basis of structure agroforestry systems can be grouped in nature of components and arrangement of components.

• Based on nature of components 

Agri-silviculture = trees + crops 

Boundary plantation = trees on boundary + crops 

Block plantation = block of trees + block of crops 

Energy plantation = trees + crops during initial years 

Alley cropping = perennial hedges + crops 

Agri-horticulture = fruit trees + crops 

Agri-silvi-horticulture = Trees + Fruit trees + crops 

Agri-silvi pasture = Trees + crops + pasture or animals 

Silvi-olericulture = Trees + vegetables 

Horti-pasture = fruit trees + pasture or animals 

Horti-olericulture = fruit trees + vegetables 

Silvi pasture = trees + pasture/animals 

Forage forestry = forage trees + pasture 

Shelterbelts = Trees + crops

 Wind-breaks = trees + crops 

Live fence = shrubs and under trees on boundary 

Silvi or Horti sericulture = Trees or fruit trees + sericulture 

Horti-apiculture = Fruit trees + honeybee 

Aqua-forestry = Trees + fishes 

Homestead = multiple combination of trees, fruit trees and vegetables etc.

• In alley cropping fast growing legumes that coppice vigorously are intercropped with crops.

Agroforestry for eroded lands:

Woody species: Acacia nilotica, Azadirachta indica, Butea monosperma, Dalbergia sissoo, Pongamia pinnata, Prosopis juliflora, Ziziphus mauritiana

Grasses: Cenchrus ciliaris, Cynodon dactylon, Dichanthium annulatum, Saccharum munja

Legumes: Stylosanthes, Melilotus etc.

Medicinal Species: Aloe vera, Jatropha curcas

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