An Introduction to Agroforestry
This article deals with giving an introduction to agroforestry along with its benefits. For ease of understanding, the benefits of agroforestry are further divided into two group viz., short term benefits of agroforestry and long term benefits of agroforestry.
The concept of agroforestry is not new and is in practice for quite a long time. It is the integrated and self-sustained land management system that involves the growing of agricultural crops deliberately along with the trees or woody components. It may also include rearing of livestock along with cropping of trees. Common thing in both cases is that the agricultural and forestry activities are carried out on the same piece of land with the aim to meet not only the ecological needs of a region but also socio-economic needs of the people. The importance of agroforestry lies in the fact that there is both ecological and economic interaction between different components.
An agroforestry system is more preferable than growing trees in isolation because the crops bring the revenue for the farmers when the trees are too young to earn something for them. In addition to this tress brings more stability against harsh climatic parameters like intense rains, winds and help in reducing soil erosion. More benefits of agroforestry are discussed in next section.
Benefits of Agroforestry
There are numerous benefits of agroforestry ranging from providing food security to fuel and fodder availability to the livestock. Fruits shelter and shade provided by agroforestry system are some notable outcomes of this system. A detail idea regarding benefits from agroforestry is presented below.
Short Term Benefits of Agroforestry
- Less attack of pests and diseases on regular crops due to lack of favorable host plants in the presence of trees.
- Regular income
- Short term crops meets the need of food and fodder supply
- Less soil erosion.
- Increased activity of soil microorganisms.
- Water table is sustained.
Long Term Benefits of Agroforestry
- Overall stability to the ecosystem
- The soil and crop productivity is increased.
- The socio-economic living being of the farmers is increased.
- Continuous nutrient recycling.
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