Meaning of Agro-forestry
Agro-forestry is an old concept. Trees, crops and animals have traditionally been raised together on small farms throughout the World. This concept first derived in the temperate zone due to the small family farms, as a result trees, crops and animals become separately managed on a large scale in modern agriculture and forestry. In India also we exploited our natural resources and adopted this sectorial policy.
In our country the functional allocation on land is 46.4% for Agriculture and 22.7% area for forestry is not sufficient for meeting the multi ferrous requirement of growing population for food, fodder and fuel and other raw materials. The only answer appears to be to integrate the land used for agriculture and forestry in such a way as to maximize production of foods and services for diverse requirements rural communities.
Modern Agro-forestry establishes a symbiosis among agricultural crops tree species and livestock rising. In other words, these are complementary and beneficial to each other.
In short conventionally there had been separation between Agriculture and Silviculture. From immemorial on a limited scale a combination of food crops and forest crops had been adopted in land management by the farmers throughout the world, however due to steep rise in the demand for fuel wood and food, due to increase of population, present and early and urgent necessity to adopt the scientific approach on a large scale to the dual system of production or co-existence of forestry and farm council of research for FAO set Agroforestry in 1878 and it is a landmark in history in Agro-forestry. Growing of forest crops along with food grains in dual system has been extensively being adopted world over by the farmer.
Agro-forestry is defined as an efficient, integrated and sustainable land use system that combines Agricultural crops, Forest corps and / or Livestock together on the unit of farmland at the same time or in sequential manner. In an Agroforestry there are both ecological and economical interactions between the various components.
Agro-forestry is collective name for land used systems involving trees combined with crops and / or animals on the same unit of land.
It combines production of multiple outputs with protection of resources.
It places emphasis on the use of multiple indigenous trees and shrubs.
It is particularly suitable for low input conditions and fragile environment.
It is structurally and functionally more complex than mono culture (single crop culture) the cycle of Agroforestry system is always more than one year.