In this article, we will discuss Agroforestry. So, let’s get started.
- Agro forestry is a land use system that integrates trees, crops and animals in a way that is scientifically sound.
- It integrates trees and shrubs on farmlands and rural landscapes to enhance productivity, profitability, diversity and ecosystem sustainability.
- It is a dynamic, ecologically based, natural resource management system that, through integration of woody perennials on farms and in the agricultural landscape, diversifies and sustains production and builds social institutions.
- Economic Value: It meets almost half of the country’s fuelwood needs, about two-thirds of the small timber demand, 70-80% of the plywood requirement, 60% of the raw material for the paper pulp industry, and 9-11% of the green fodder needs.
- Tree products and tree services also contribute robustly to rural livelihoods.
- Fruit, fodder, fuel, fibre, fertiliser, and timber add to food and nutritional security, income generation, and work as insurance against crop failure.
- Carbon Sequestration: Agroforestry or tree-based farming is an established nature-based activity that can aid carbon-neutral growth.
- It enhances tree cover outside forests, works as a surrogate for natural forests sequestering carbon, keeps the pressure off natural forests, and helps increase farmers’ income.
- Lower Consumption of Fertilisers: Nitrogen fixing trees grown in the agroforestry systems are capable of fixing about 50 -100 Kg Nitrogen/ha per year – one of the most promising components of the agroforestry system.
- The leaf litter after decomposition forms humus, releases nutrients and improves various soil properties, it also reduces the fertiliser needs.
- Due to lower requirement of chemical fertilisers agroforestry can supplement organic farming.
- Ecology Friendly: Use of lesser chemicals will also help in mitigating anthropogenic effects on climate.
- Agroforestry helps in erosion control and water retention, nutrient recycling, carbon storage, biodiversity preservation, and cleaner air and helps communities withstand extreme weather events.
- Global Climate Goals: Agroforestry can also help India meet its international obligations on –
- Climate – creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030 and net-zero by 2070.
- Desertification – achieving 26 million hectares of Land Degradation Neutrality by 2030, thus, meeting 9 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
- Better Agriculture Yields: Higher yields of crops have been observed in forest-influenced soils than in ordinary soils.
- Appropriate agroforestry systems improve soil physical properties, maintain soil organic matter and promote nutrient cycling.
- Agroforestry will also help in generation and promotion of sustainable renewable biomass based energy.