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AGROFORESTRY: PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES

Dr. Alok Kumar Patra
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    English

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Dr. Alok Kumar Patra
Dr. Alok Kumar Patra: is presently working as Associate Professor (Agronomy) in All India Coordinated Research Project on Integrated Farming System, Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology, Bhubneshwar 751 003, Odisha.

The origin of agroforestry practices, i.e. growing trees and shrubs with food and fruit crops and grasses is traditional and very old; but the science of agroforestry is new. Years of experience and experiments have shown that agroforestry as a land-use system is capable of yielding both food and wood and at the same time helps in conserving and rehabilitating the ecosystems. It has the capability to increase the overall productivity of land, maintain the nutrient balance in the soil and above all protect the nature. In the recent years, agroforestry has been recommended as a core subject in the curriculum of B. Sc. (Forestry) and B. Sc. (Agriculture) courses of the state agricultural universities. Keeping this in view, the book on has been written for the students. The common people, who love trees, would also find it worth reading. The book has been divided into sixteen s covering very comprehensive information on all aspects of agroforestry including history, concepts, classification, management, soil productivity, tree-crop interactions, multipurpose trees and their propagation, agroforestry for different agroclimatic zones, watershed and wasteland management through agroforestry, climate change adaptation and mitigation, diagnosis & design, experimental analysis, benefits and limitations, economics and extension of agroforestry. Definitions of agroforestry terminology, selected references and related web links are also added for the easy understanding and further study on the subject.

0 Start Pages

Preface Agroforestry, as an age-old land use system has been in practice for thousands of years by farmers all over the world. But only in recent years, it has been developed as a science to help farmers increase the productivity, profitability and sustainability of production on their land by combining the best attributes of forestry and agriculture. Today, agroforestry has established itself as a viable approach of integrated land management system not only for meeting the deficits of food, fodder, firewood and timber but also for ecological considerations like soil conservation, biodiversity preservation, watershed protection, wasteland management, carbon sequestration and mitigation of climate change effects. In this backdrop, agroforestry has been recommended as a core subject in the curriculum of the state agricultural universities. Keeping this in view, an effort has been made to write a textbook on agroforestry which would be useful to the students as well as the teachers. The common people, who love trees, would also find it worth reading. This book is primarily based on the syllabus of my course ‘Introduction to Agroforestry’ taught to under-graduate forestry students. This book has been divided into sixteen chapters covering all aspects of agroforestry including concepts, definition, history, benefits and limitations, systems classifications, soil productivity, tree-crop interaction, multipurpose trees and their propagation, agroforestry management, watershed and wasteland management through agroforestry, climate change adaptation and mitigation, agroforestry diagnosis and design, experimental analysis, economics and extension of agroforestry. Any suggestion to improve the contents of the book will be highly appreciated. I take full responsibility for any errors in this book. Any shortcomings may be intimated so that it will be taken care of in the next edition. In writing this book, the literature on agroforestry developed by various organizations and agencies like ICFRE, FAO, AFNETA, ICRISAT, ICAR, NRCAF, CAZRI, IGFRI, etc. is freely used. I extend my sincere thanks to the authors and editors of various books, journals and periodicals which have been used as reference material in this book. Every care has been taken to cite the bibliographic references. However, any omissions, misrepresentations, incorrect citations or other mistakes that may have occurred are regretted. The preparation of this book was not supported by any research grant, fellowship or other form of financial support. I am indebted to my friend Dr Ranjan Kumar Patra, Associate Professor (Soil Science), OUAT who has meticulously edited every word of the manuscript. I am also grateful to my colleagues in the AICRP on Agroforestry, AICRP on Integrated Farming System, College of Forestry, and College of Agriculture, OUAT, Bhubaneswar for their help in various ways during the preparation of this textbook. I express my gratitude to the New India Publishing Agency, New Delhi for bringing out the book timely and nicely. I am thankful to my wife Jharashree and daughter Prachurya for their constant support and encouragement. This book is dedicated to my parents who are a constant source of inspiration to me throughout my academic journey.

 
1 Introduction

Agroforestry is a new name for a set of old practices. The general concept of agroforestry is to integrate trees and agriculture so as to create a more diversified landscape, while providing the producers with new environmental and economic benefits. In other words, agroforestry is a method of farming that allows trees and shrubs to grow along with crops and/or livestock, therefore blending agriculture and forestry in the same production system. In fact, man's association with forest is much older than with agriculture. First man was a food gatherer and hunter in forests. Then he realized that the seeds of the fruits he collected germinated, grew into plants and bore the fruits again and thus man started to cultivate foods. Man's desire to live in a community created settled agriculture. The pressure on the agricultural lands has increased manifolds due to the increasing population, expansion of urban area and the industrialization process. The environment has also been disturbed. Soil is losing its productivity and the biodiversity is threatened. Farming community is trying all means to increase the land productivity. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are applied in higher proportion, causing environmental pollution hazards. Under all these circumstances agroforestry has shown that besides sustainable agriculture it can also help promote a better environment. Trees have always played an important role in mankind's survival. This relatively young science known as agroforestry was brought from the realm of indigenous knowledge into the forefront of agricultural research three and half decades ago and was promoted widely as a sustainability-enhancing practice that combines the best attributes of forestry and agriculture.

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2 Agroforestry Systems and Their Classification

The words ‘system’, ‘sub-system’ and ‘practice’ are commonly used in agroforestry literature. In a broad sense, a system is defined as a group of associated elements forming a unified whole and working together in a well defined regular relation for a common goal. An agroforestry system refers to a type of agroforestry land-use that extends over a locality to the extent of forming a land utilization type of the locality. Sub-system and practice are lower-order terms in the hierarchy with lesser magnitudes of role, content and complexity. However, these terms are used loosely, and almost synonymously. Classification of agroforestry systems is necessary in order to understand and provide a practical framework for evaluating systems and developing action plans for their improvement. Any classification scheme should satisfy the following criteria (Nair, 2008).

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3 Social Forestry

The word 'social forestry' was coined by Westoby and used in the ninth Commonwealth Forestry Conference at New Delhi in 1968. In India the term was first used by the National Commission on Agriculture, Government of India in 1976, to denote tree raising programmes to supply firewood, small timber and minor forest products to rural population. Prasad (1985) defined social forestry as forestry outside the conventional forests which primarily aims at providing continuous flow of goods and services for the benefit of people. This implies that the production of forest goods for fulfilling the needs of the local people is social forestry. Thus, conceptually it deals with the people to produce goods such as fuel, fodder, small timber, etc. to meet the needs of local community particularly the underprivileged section (Shah, 1988).

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4 Agroforestry and Soil Productivity

Management approaches to soil, including problems of soil degradation and low soil fertility, have recently undergone major changes. The earlier concept was to concentrate on achieving high levels of production from the more fertile areas, leaving the marginal lands for extensive use only. Steeply sloping and highly drought-prone areas were mostly left without any cultivation as production from these areas was hardly cost effective. Soil constraints were to be overcome by inputs like improved crop varieties, fertilizers, chemical control of pests and diseases, and the use of irrigation. The approach of use of newly developed high yielding crop varieties, improved agronomic management practices, use of chemical fertilizers, efficient water management and timely plant protection measures has been successful in achieving large increases in crop productivity in recent years. On the other hand, continuous application of fertilizers at higher rates leads to environmental problems. Yield responses to fertilizers have declined because of soil physical degradation and micronutrient deficiencies. Above all, large numbers of poor farmers simply can neither afford high levels of fertilizers and other purchased inputs, nor do they have the capital to take on the risk involved in their use. Increasing the area under irrigation has also run into severe constraints in the form of limits to available freshwater resources.

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5 Tree-Crop Interactions in Agroforestry

Agroforestry systems are not simply systems where trees and crops or animals give useful products to the farmers, rather systems where trees and crops and/or animals interact. Interaction literally means influence or mutual or reciprocal action. So component interaction refers to the influence of one component of a system on the performance of other component as well as the system as a whole. In agroforestry systems, trees are grown in close proximity to crops and pasture. Their performance would largely depend on their ability to share various growth resources in a given environmental situation. Various interactions take place between the woody trees and herbaceous plants (crops or pastures) which is referred to as tree-crop interface. These interactions take place through the media of soil and microclimate and may exert favourable or adverse effects on the crop. Study of interaction helps to know how the components of agroforestry utilize and share the resources of the environment, and how the growth and development of any of the components will influence the others. Interaction occurs both above and below the ground and includes a complex set of interactions relating to radiation exchange, the water balance, nutrient budget and cycling, shelter and other microclimatic modifications. The success of an agroforestry system relies heavily on exploitation of the component interactions. In an ideal relationship, production of trees as well as crops or grasses in combination could be comparable to their sole performance. Agroforestry could be even more advantageous if the production of associated components is increased due to influence of trees. This is possible because trees are capable of improving productivity of soil in many ways. A large number of trees are known to fix nitrogen symbiotically. Nevertheless, instances of crop inhibition in association of trees are not uncommon. Such inhibitions are primarily caused by shade effect as well as competition for belowground resources such as nutrients and water. In some cases inhibitory effect may also result from allelochemicals secreted by some of the tree species.

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6 Multipurpose Trees for Agroforestry

Farmers have been growing trees for different purposes for thousands of years. Tree species that are grown to provide more than one significant function are called multipurpose trees. These functions may be productive such as producing fuelwood, timber, fibre, fodder, food, medicine, etc. and/or protective such as soil conservation, shade, shelterbelt, microclimate amelioration, land sustainability, biodiversity preservation, etc. All trees are multipurpose; some, however, are more multipurpose than others. Tree species can be multipurpose in two ways. A single tree can provide more than one function. For example, Gliricidia sepium is grown as living fences that provide fuel, fodder and green manure for agricultural crops - all at the same time. Trees of the same species, when managed differently, can provide different functions. For example, Leucaena leucocephala is managed so that some trees will mainly yield wood while others mainly produce leaf fodder. Farmers can grow multipurpose trees (MPT) in various combinations with other crops, as in agroforestry, in block plantations of trees or in naturally regenerating tree farms. In certain cases, multipurpose trees are grown and managed for only one purpose. For example, Gliricida sepium is grown only to provide shade in coffee plantations. The same species may be planted in some other places and is managed differently for a very different use.

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7 Tree Propagation and Nursery Management

Trees that provide materials for propagation are called mother trees. Selection of mother trees is important because the young trees will be expected to inherit the favourable characteristics from the mother tree, such as fast growth, upright or spreading shape of the tree crown, good flowering and fruiting, and tolerance of diseases or pests. There may be sexual propagation by seed or vegetative propagation by using other parts of the tree. The genetic make-up of the seeds differs due to recombination of the genes, resulting in seedling variation. Thus, all the seedlings may look like the mother tree in some respects, but no two seedlings are the same. In case of vegetative propagation through cutting, layering, grafting or budding, the genetic make-up of the young tree is exactly the same as that of the mother tree. Consequently, all new trees grown vegetatively from one mother tree have the same set of gene pairs and therefore the same characteristics; they form a so called clone. Differences between plants of a clone can only be caused by different growing conditions.

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8 Agroforestry Management

Agroforestry is a land use system that involves two or more plant species at least one of which must be a woody perennial. When perennial woody and herbaceous components are grown together on the same piece of land their performance would largely depend on their ability to share various growth resources in a given environmental situation. Due to difference in growth pattern and resource requirement of the components in agroforestry situation, a close interactive relation is obvious. Thus, careful management practices for the components are required to establish a successful agroforestry system. The characteristics of the trees and crops, and their interactions, can be modified with good management practice in order to take advantage of the positive characteristics and minimize the effects of the negative ones. Effective and efficient agroforestry management may be divided into two groups - tree management and agricultural crop management.

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9 Agroforestry for Different Agroecological Zones

Ecology of a place is influenced by a number of biotic and abiotic factors. An agroecological zone is broadly homogeneous in climatic and edaphic factors, but not necessarily contiguous, where a specific crop exhibits roughly the same biological expression. On the other hand, the characteristics of an agroecological zone influence the crops and cropping patterns of the zone. Thus, there are considerable variations in the types and management practices of agroforestry systems being followed in different agroecological zones. AGROFORESTRY FOR HUMID AND SUBHUMID TROPICS Humid and subhumid tropical regions have much variation in biological, social and economical parameters. The characteristics of humid tropics include high mean annual rainfall of more than 1500 mm, dry season of less than four months in a year and mean annual temperature of more than 22oC. Rainfall usually exceeds the evapotranspiration. However, demographic pressure has caused excessive deforestation and overgrazing which developed soil related problems like low soil fertility, low organic matter, high acidity and high rainfall erosivity. The agroforestry practices designed for this region should aim for improved fallows, soil fertility improvement and conservation, food production, etc. Thus, the common agroforestry systems in this zone are taungya, homegardens, alley cropping, plantation-crop combination, windbreaks, silvipastoral systems and various intercropping systems. Shifting cultivation is a common practice in tropics which should be discouraged as it causes environmental degradation and ecological imbalance, soil erosion and soil nutrient loss.

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10 Agroforestry for Watershed Management

A watershed is a geohydrological unit or all the land and water area bounded by a divide which contributes runoff to a common point. Watershed is considered to be synonymous with ‘catchment basin’ and ‘drainage basin’. In watershed management approach, development is not only confined to agricultural lands but also covers the area, starting from the highest point of the land to the outlet of the natural stream. Watershed management becomes increasingly important as a way to improve livelihood of people while conserving and regenerating their natural resources. Watershed management is the process of creating and implementing plans, programmes and projects to sustain and enhance watershed functions that affect the plant, animal and human communities within a watershed boundary. It implies the judicious use of all the resources i.e. land, water and vegetation in an area to prevent soil erosion, improve water availability and increase food, fodder, fuel and timber on sustained basis.

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11 Agroforestry for Wasteland Development

India shares 17.4% of the world population, while its land is only 2.4% of the total geographical area of the world. Naturally, the pressure on the land is often beyond its carrying capacity. Therefore, the productive lands, especially the farmlands in India are in the constant process of various degrees of degradation and are fast turning into wastelands. At present, approximately 63.85 million hectare area of the land is lying as wastelands in India (NRSA, 2005). Out of these lands, about 50% lands are such non-forest lands, which can be made fertile again if treated properly. In the last 50 years India’s lush green village forests and woodlots have been deforested to the maximum. To restore this ecological imbalance by developing the degraded non-forest wastelands, Government of India had created the Department of Wasteland Development during July, 1992 under the Ministry of Rural Development, which has been subsequently reorganized and renamed Department of Land Resources, with a broader mandate. National Wasteland Development Board was established in 1985 mainly to tackle the problem of degradation of lands, restoration of ecology and to meet the growing demands of fuelwood and fodder at the national level. The Board was reconstituted in August, 1992 and was made responsible for development of wastelands mainly in non- forest areas in totality by involving local people at every stage of development. It aims at creating a scenario where the Government acts as a facilitator and the people at the grass root level become the real executioner of the programme. The degradation of environment in the fragile Indian subtropical ecosystem is basically attributed to the following factors.

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12 Agroforestry for Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation

Human societies over the ages have depleted natural resources in different ways and degraded their local environments. Indiscriminate cutting down of trees and accelerating the construction works lead to global warming and climate change. Climate scientists believe that human-induced deforestation is responsible for 18-25% of climate change. Accumulation of greenhouse gases in the lower atmosphere is the main cause of global climate change. The concentration of these gases in the earth’s atmosphere is increasing, mainly due to deforestation and the combustion of fossil fuels which release carbon dioxide. The earth receives heat energy constantly from the sun through radiation. Some of the heat is absorbed and some is reflected. Carbon dioxide works like an invisible blanket that wraps around the earth and traps the heat inside, similar to the function of a greenhouse. A greenhouse is a structure that is used in colder climates to grow plants. Even when outside temperatures drop below freezing point, greenhouses are still warm enough inside to grow plants. Greenhouses are made of glass, which allows solar radiation to enter. The heat is trapped inside the greenhouse, allowing plants to grow all the year round. Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere insulate it like a greenhouse, leading to a gradual warming of the earth’s atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas, but there are others as well, including methane and nitrous oxide.

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13 Agroforestry: Diagnosis and Design

In agroforestry systems the various components like tree, crop and pasture exist in different proportions and orientations. It is difficult to find out which agroforestry system is the best suited for a given land situation. Similarly, it is to be decided which technologies are required for refinement and improvement of the existing agroforestry practices. But without sufficient knowledge of the existing system in a particular land situation, it is very difficult to set the research priorities for modification and development of this system. Diagnosis and Design (D & D) is a systematic and objective methodology developed by International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) to initiate, monitor and evaluate agroforestry programmes. D & D is based on the philosophy that knowledge of the existing situation (diagnosis) is essential to plan and evaluate (design) meaningful and effective programmes in agroforestry research for development. The methodology plays a strategic role in all the phases of the agroforestry research process. D & D in agroforestry is unique and it has been specially developed for the following purposes.

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14 Design and Analysis of Agroforestry Experiments

Agroforestry systems are more complex than the agricultural systems. The long-term nature of trials involving woody species and the varying objectives of agroforestry trials demand that adequate caution be exercised in their design. Several characteristics of the trees like slow growth, long term effects on their surroundings, long life, age of trees, the area over which the influence of trees extend, etc. complicate the issue of designing experiments for these systems. Agroforestry experiments are often established on marginal sites which include sloping lands, and sites with infertile and degraded soils. It is thus difficult to find homogeneous sites of such problem areas, especially sloping lands where plots along contour lines are long and linear. Germplasm of many agroforestry tree species are usually collected from different origins which lack uniformity. Therefore, experimental materials in an agroforestry experiment may not be of uniform quality. There are several features of agroforestry systems that require some modification of the methods usually used in agricultural experiments. Important issues related to agroforestry experiments include

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15 Economics of Agroforestry

Economic analysis provides a rational basis for making decisions in allocating scarce resources among various options to achieve competing goals. If resources were not limiting, there would be no need for economic consideration. PRINCIPLES OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS Optimization criteria The additional return obtained from using one additional unit of an input should be considered to optimize net income from several possible production options. If option ‘x’ gives a higher return to land than other options, then additional units of land should be allocated to option ‘x’.

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16 Agroforestry Extension

Agricultural extension is a term that has long been used to describe a non-formal educational system aimed at improving the livelihood of farmers. Extension education aims at three main types of behavioural changes in relation to knowledge (things known), attitudes (things felt) and skills (how to implement the things). This can be achieved through persuasion and motivation for the changes. The core activities in extension are education and training. Extension is now being regarded as a much wider task of integrating indigenous and new skills and techniques, derived from study or research, into an overall framework of discussion and cooperation between the people and the extension organisation. The extension worker is primarily engaged in the ‘selling’ of ideas to bring about changes in the knowledge, attitudes and skills of the individual. Functions of extension in a broader sense include

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17 End Pages

Selected References Abrol, I.P. and Dhruva Narayana, V.V. 1990. (Eds.). Technologies for wasteland development. ICAR, New Delhi. Ahmed, P. 1991. Agroforestry: a viable land use of alkali soils. Agroforestry Systems 14: 23-37. Akachuku, A. E. 1985. Cost-benefit analysis of wood and food components of agrisilviculture in Nigerian forest zone. Agroforestry Systems 3: 307-316. Alavalapati, J. R. R., Luckert, M. K. and Gill, D. S. 1995. Adoption of agroforestry practices: a case study from Andhra Pradesh, India. Agroforestry Systems 32: 1-14. Anderson, D. 1987. The Economics of Afforestation. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA. Armson, K. A. 1977. Forest Soils: Properties and Processes. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada. Arnold, J. E. M. 1983. Economic considerations in agroforestry projects. Agroforestry Systems 1: 299-311. Arnold, J. E. M. 1987. Economic considerations in agroforestry. In: Steppler, H. A. and Nair, P. K. R. (Eds.). Agroforestry: A decade of development. ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya. Baker, F. W. G. 1992. Rapid propagation of fast-growing woody species. CAB International, Wallingford, U. K. Balasubramaniyan, P. and Palaniappan, SP. 2001. Principles and Practices of Agronomy. Agrobios India, Jodhpur. Bandopadhyay.1997. A Text Book of Agroforestry with Application. Vikash Publishing House Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.

 
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