MULTIFUNCTIONAL AGROFORESTRY SYSTEMS IN INDIA

MULTIFUNCTIONAL AGROFORESTRY SYSTEMS IN INDIA

Land-use options that increase livelihood security and reduce vulnerability to climate and environmental change are necessary. Traditional resource management adaptations such as agroforestry systems, may potentially provide options for improvement in livelihoods through simultaneous production of food, fodder and firewood as well as mitigation of the impact of climate change. Livelihood improvement through natural resource management seeks to understand individual or household strategies through which long-term progress is made towards a better quality of life. Livelihood improvement is not just about the positive change towards better quality of life and human wellbeing, but it takes into account the local and global change which determines the livelihood. The adverse impact of climate change may be more severely felt by the poor, who are more vulnerable than the rich. Appropriate policy responses combining agro-ecosystems as key assets can strengthen adaptation and help build the resilience of communities and households to local and global change.

Steps to promote the mainstreaming of adaptation into livelihood improvement may potentially deliver better results when combined with adaptive management of natural resources and agro-ecosystems. There is a need for intensified conservation efforts as well as growing products and generating services in agro-ecosystems. Tree-growing in combination with agriculture (agroforestry systems) as well as numerous vegetation management regimes in cultural landscape (ethnoforestry systems), including individual farms, watersheds and regional landscape can be integrated to take advantage of the services provided by adjacent natural, semi-natural or restored ecosystems. Increasing the livelihood security and reducing the vulnerability call for societal adaptation. Such adaptations are possible when combined with traditional resource management systems. Agroforestry as a local adaptation, therefore, is a promising area of interest. The multifunctional agroforestry systems in India is a potential option for livelihood improvement, climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation in agro-ecosystems as well as yield of goods and services to the society.

There are several sacred trees and sacred groves valued by the people. India also has a long historical tradition of tree-growing on farms and around homes. Such traditions and indigenous ethics had and continued to have an impact and implications for tree-growing and ecological, economic and social well-being of the people. Sacred elements and traditional practices in cultural landscape of India also have a substantial livelihood and conservation value.
Agroforestry systems in India include trees in farms, community forestry and a variety of local forest management and ethnoforestry practices. A wider definition of agroforestry encompasses a variety of practices, including trees on farm boundaries, trees grown in close association with village rainwater collection ponds, crop-fallow rotations, and a variety of agroforests, silvopastoral systems, and trees within settlements. These systems have been presented as a solution to rising fuelwood prices in India resulting from increase in demand and decrease in supply of fuelwood due to forest degradation.

By – Ms. Izenti Reang
Department of Forestry
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College Of Bio-Medical Sciences & Hospital

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