Successful Agroforestry Models for Different Agro-Ecological Regions in India
Agroforestry is an effective land use system which contributes to food, nutritional and environmental security. Besides its multifarious use as food, fuel, fodder, fibre, and timber, it enables smallholder farmers to optimize their land use. Agroforestry has a significant potential to provide employment and additional income to farmers as well as to increase the forest/tree cover to meet specific national targets. ICRAF defines agroforestry as the practice and science of the interface and interactions between agriculture and forestry, involving farmers, livestock, trees and forests at multiple scales. Agroforestry is one of the most multi-disciplinary sciences which deals with a whole gamut of important aspects of human life. The most comprehensive definition of agroforestry explains it as the interaction of agriculture and trees, including the agricultural use of trees. This includes trees on farms and in agricultural landscapes, farming in forests and at the forest margins and tree-crop production, including cocoa, coffee, rubber and oil palm. Interactions between trees and other components of agriculture may be important at a range of scales: in fields (where trees and crops are grown together), on farms (where trees may provide fodder for livestock, fuel, food, shelter or income from products including timber) and landscapes ( where agricultural and forest land uses combine in determining the provision of ecosystem services). At national and global scales, forestry and agriculture interact ecologically and through policies relating to land use and trade and are important with respect to climate change and other environmental concerns. Agroforestry embraces an agro-ecological approach putting emphasis on multi-functionality and the management of complex systems and polycultures rather than focusing exclusively on monoculture. We use the word 'tree' inclusively, to refer to trees and shrubs, all woody perennials, palms and bamboo. We also use the word 'agriculture', inclusively, to refer to human activity, carried out primarily to produce food, fibre and fuel by the deliberate and controlled use of plants and animals.