Short notes on Agro-Forestry

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Agro-forestry is an essential part of social forestry in which an individual farmer undertakes tree-farming and grows fodder plants, grasses and legumes on its own land. Here forest is considered as a crop and agro-forestry becomes a part of the crop- combination and crop-land use.

As the main objec­tive of the agricultural crops is to provide food grains to human beings and fodder to cattle similarly forest crops supply wood, energy, grass, fodder and fibres for different purposes. Agro-forestry is a technique which not only provides food fuel wood, fodder and items of daily use to the people but helps in promot­ing forest conservation and maintaining ecological balance.

It can be well compared with the multi- cropping farming system. Forestry Departments and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research jointly undertake agro-forestry research in order to develop suitable systems of land management which involve integration of silviculture with horticulture, agricul­ture, animal husbandry etc. Agro-forestry, thus, in­tegrates agri-silviculture, agri silvi-pastoral system, and multipurpose tree pro­duction system.

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Under the agro-forestry a farmer uses his degraded or useful land to plant trees for his domes­tic use or for commercial use. Such land may be of his own or obtained on lease basis under s forestry programme. Agro-forestry thus inv both small and big farmers in afforestation.

It is a scheme which may fetch additional income farmers, improve his economic condition and vide him employment during lean agricultural son. It is, thus, a subsidiary programme to like dairy farming, pisciculture, sericulture culture and horticulture etc.

Like other programmes of forest devilment it also could not attain its desired object The programme was utilised by big farmers absentee land owners to plant commercial trees eucalyptus to save their land from dispossess1 throwing dependent agricultural laborers out employment, helping the cause of industrialists ting in big towns and generating profits with m mum investment (even seedlings are obtained free cost from the forest department).

The program therefore, instead of helping the cause of poor weaker section is making rich richer as penned in case of Green Revolution. The diversion good agricultural land from food and comer crops may create another problem of scarcity off stuffs and industrial raw material. The program therefore, needs reorientation and new approach plugs these loopholes so that it could meet its desired objectives.

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