Agroforestry – Concept, definition, objectives,social forestry

Concept of agroforestry

Agroforestry is collective name for land use systems involving trees combined with crops and/or animals on the same unit of land. Further it,

Combines production of multiple outputs with protection of resource base

Places emphasis on the use of multiple indigenous trees and shrubs

Is particularly suitable for low-input conditions and fragile environments

Involves the interplay of sociocultural values more than in most other land-use systems

structurally and functionally more complex than monoculture

Agroforestry definition

Agroforestry means practice of agriculture and forest/ horticulture tree on the same piece of land. However, the agroforestry has been defined by various workers working in the field of agroforestry.

Bene et al. (1977) defined agroforestry as a sustainable management system for land that increases overall production, combines agriculture crops, forest plants and tree crop and/or animals simultaneously or sequentially and applies management practices that are compatible with the cultural patterns of a local population.

According to Lundgren and Raintree (1982), agroforestry is a collective name for land use systems and technologies, where woody perennials (trees, shrubs, palm bamboos, etc.) are deliberately used in the same piece of land management units as agriculture crops and/or animals in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. In agroforestry systems, there are both ecological and economical interactions between the different components.

Objectives of agroforestry

In all agroforestry land management there are two essential and related aims such as
# The AFS should conserve and improve the site
# Optimize the combine production of tress, agricultural crops and animals

Attributes of agroforestry

There are three attributes

(1) Productivity

Most, if not all, agroforestry systems aim to maintain or increase production of preferred commodities as well as productivity Agroforestry can improve productivity in many different ways. These include: increased output of tree products, improved yields of associated crops, reduction of cropping system inputs, and increased labour efficiency.

(2) Sustainability

By conserving the production potential of the resource base, mainly through the beneficial effects of woody perennials on soils, agroforestry can achieve and indefinitely maintain conservation and fertility goals

(3) Adoptability

The word “adopt” here means “accept” and it may be distinguished from another commonly used word adapt, which implies “modify” or “change.” The fact that agroforestry is a relatively new word for an old set of practices means that, in some cases, agroforestry already been accepted by the farming community.

social forestry

Social forestry is the practice of forestry on lands outside the conventional forest area for the benefit of the rural and urban communities.

The term was coined by J.C. Westoby. It was first recognized as an important component of forestry for meeting rural needs in the interim report of the National Commission on Agriculture (NCA), 1976.

The objectives of social forestry adopted by the NCA were to fulfill the basic and economic needs of the community.

Social forestry includes within its scope the following:

  • a) Farm Forestry
  • b) Extension Forestry
  • c) Community Woodlots
  • d) Rehabilitation of Degraded Forests
  • e) Recreation Forestry

Difference between social forestry and agroforestry

Social forestryAgroforestry
1. Social forestry is a plantation made on lands outside conventional forest areas for the benefit of rural and urban communities, with objectives to supply fuel wood to divert cow dung from village hearths to village fields, small timber for housing and agricultural implements and fodder for cattle of the rural population, living far away from the forest area, protection of agriculture by creation of diverse ecosystem, and arresting wind and water erosion.1.Agroforestry is a sustainable Land management system that increases the overall production, combines agricultural crops, tree crops and forest plants and/or
animals simultaneously or sequentially, and applies management practices that are compatible with the cultural patterns of the local population.
2. It is thus the forestry of the people, by the people and for the people.2. Agroforestry is a system which is rather localized in its concept for managing the unit of land for maximizes production of
agricultural crop and forest trees complimentary with each other.
3. Planting of trees on massive scale is done on vacant land community land, roadside railway track and even degraded reserve forest.3. Agroforestry is practiced mostly in farmers‟ field/own land.
4. Trees and shrubs are to be used to harvest multiple products.4. It involves integration of two or more than
two components in a cultivated land.
5. Social forestry is a short rotation investment.5. Agroforestry is also short rotation forestry.

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