Agro forestry was one of the components of social forestry. Agro forestry is a scheme of growing woody perennials along with the regular crops. The technique is kind tree and crop combinations and not simply replacing crops by trees as done in farm forestry.
The advantages/objectives of agro forestry are:
• It helps in diversifying farmer’s income for non-crop options.
• It helps in better land management particularly for protection against soil losses and soil erosion because of fallowing.
• Trees also provide minor forest products particularly fodder and firewoods which are socially relevant in subsistence farming & rural economy.
• Trees can also support minor timber based cottage industry like wood carving & cane and also industries like lacs and apiculture etc.
• In agro-forestry the species are not chosen arbitrary but on the basis of symbiotic relationship e.g. some of the combinations which are popular in India are teak-turmeric, teak-coffee, coconut-pepper etc.
• Agro-forestry is not just limited to combining trees with crops.
The example of non crop combination are :
1. aqua-silvi practices - fisheries with coconut plantation on bandh
2. silvi-pastural combination- grasses along with trees
3. aqua-agro-silvi combination- rice field, a small pond at bandh and tree plantation.
Agro forestry is one of the most promoted and much preferred components of agriculture diversification and agri modernization. Forest based landuse are not only act for land management particularly along the slope & marginal land but also important for large ecological objectives, increasing tree cover and carbon stock. Agro forestry is necessary component of any watershed based development program.
Thus forest based agriculture diversification is part of second green revolution and evergreen revolution.
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