Agro forestry practice is very old but the term is definitely new and for the last three decades it has taken scientific approach. In a scientific definition agro forestry is a collective name for land use systems and technologies where woody perennials i.e. trees, shrubs, bamboos etc. are deliberately used on the same piece of land management unit as agricultural cross and or animals. Agro forestry there is both ecological and economical interactions between the different components.
In other words, agro forestry is a marriage of both crop production and forest where the object is to obtain yield of grains, fodder, fuel wood, fruit, wood and other benefits. Thus, agro forestry system yields almost everything which people need. Sustainable land management, conservation and increase in productivity are important aims of agro foresting.
Advantages of Agro forestry:
(i) An Agro forestry system helps to increase the tree cover. It also makes available to people the required quantity of timber fruit, fuel wood, fodder etc. for which they traditionally depend on forests. Thus, this system helps in reducing the pressure on forests and helps in conservation of forests.
(ii) Agro forestry is sustainable, environmentally safe and economically attractive land use option, which is making contributions towards supply of timbers of industries, meet the local demand of fuel wood, fodder and bio-energy, conserving biodiversity, environment, diversification of agricultural practices and generating employment for socially disadvantaged sections of the population.
(iii) Agro forestry systems also maintain soil fertility through recycling of nutrients and prevent soil erosion.
(iv) These systems are also capable of meeting the demands of raw materials of several agricultural and forest based industries eg- paper and pulp mills, sports goods, furniture, saw mills etc.