What is Agroforestry?

According to International Council for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) “Agroforestry is a system of land use where woody perennials are deliberately used on the same land management units as annual agricultural crops and or animals, either sequentially or simultaneously, with the aim of obtaining greater outputs on sustained basis”. In other words Agroforestry encompasses promotion of components like woody perennials, crops, livestock and other natural resources in temporal and spatial sequence which ultimately alters livelihood options and sustainability. Agroforestry is an age old practice followed in some form or the other in different parts of the world.

What is Rotational Agroforestory?

It is a traditional shifting cultivation in which trees and woody species of natural regeneration are rotated (5 to 40 years) with the cultivation of annuals (1-3 years). Improvements in rotational agroforestry or shifting cultivation can be made by substituting improved natural fallows such as multispecies tree gardens. These improved fallows may also serve as woodlots, home gardens and compound farms.

What are the advantages of Agroforestry?

Agroforestry has several advantages which can be summarized as follows :

·    Conserves soil by improving the soil structure.

·    Conserves environment by fixing carbon dioxide (CO2) and releasing oxygen (O2).

·    Provides fruit, fodder, timber and fuelwood.

·    Increases nutrient status of the soil.

·    Enhances the efficiency of nutrient cycling.

·    Increases the organic matter content of the soil.

·    Helps in maintaining the ground water table.

·    Protects the crop from detrimental effects of wind.

·    Helps in improved animal production through better quality fodder.

·    Helps in development of cottage industries; and

·    Brings deep seated nutrient on the soil surface.