While India has a world-first national policy for agroforestry, aka trees on farms, farmers in different agro-climatic zones need help with which trees to grow. A new book is now here to help.
“With multiple research initiatives underway, a lot of scientific knowledge on different species of agroforestry has been generated. Promising Agroforestry Tree Species in India is an assemblage of useful knowledge,” said Trilochan Mohapatra, secretary of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education and director-general of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. “This book will be useful for farmers, planners, forest officials, and teachers and students of agroforestry.”
India stands at the forefront of global efforts to promote research and education in agroforestry so that more trees are planted on agricultural land. With the decline of the world’s natural forests and increasing variations in weather patterns brought about by climate change, scientists, farmers and governments are turning to trees to help make agriculture more resilient, decrease pressure on forests and increase carbon storage.
Agroforestry has traditionally been practised in India and other countries for centuries, but the world’s second-most populous nation became the first — and up until now, the only — government with a national policy on agroforestry, which was launched in 2014. The new publication, which compiles characteristics of useful trees, will complement the policy and speed up its adoption throughout the country.
“The National Agroforestry Policy of India was followed by a sub-mission on agroforestry with an investment of about USD 147 million by the Federal Government. It mainstreamed agroforestry into the agricultural agendas of state government,” said Javed Rizvi, director of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in South Asia. “Given that research in agroforestry has significantly developed in India in recent years, we saw a need to consolidate the massive amount of information about each tree species. The new publication outlines botanical characteristics, propagation for differing agroforestry systems and climatic zones, and cultural appropriateness.”
Promising Agroforestry Tree Species in India is an outcome of a long-term collaboration between the Central Agroforestry Research Institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and the World Agroforestry Centre. The book identifies 25 agroforestry species based on their usefulness for timber, fuel, fodder, fruit, biofuel, raw material for industrial use and medicinal ingredients.
“Trees used in agroforestry systems are vital,” said Dr Om Prakash Chaturvedi, director of the Institute. “They reflect farmers’ choices as well as market demand. The Central Agroforestry Research Institute and All India Coordinated Research Project on Agroforestry identified important agroforestry tree species, which have been adopted by the National Agroforestry Policy and are expected to increase farmers’ use of agroforestry.”
Chaturvedi OP, Handa AK, Uthappa AR, Sridhar KB, Kumar N, Chavan SB, Rizvi J. 2017. Promising agroforestry tree species in India. Jhansi, India: Central Agroforestry Research Institute; New Delhi, India: World Agroforestry Centre South Asia Regional Program.
About the Central Agroforestry Research Institute
The Central Agroforestry Research Institute is one of the national institutes under the umbrella of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Its mission is to improve the quality of life of rural people through integration of perennials in agriculture landscapes for economic, environmental and social benefits.
About the Indian Council of Agricultural Research
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s mission is to harness the power of science and innovation for food security, food safety and farmers’ prosperity and enhance the natural resources base to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.
About the World Agroforestry Centre
The World Agroforestry Centre is a centre of scientific excellence that harnesses the benefits of trees for people and the environment. Leveraging the world’s largest repository of agroforestry science and information, it develops knowledge practices for farmers’ fields through to the global sphere to ensure food security and environmental sustainability.