Taungya is Burmas ward meaning hill cultivation, it was introduced into-India by Dr. Brandis in 1890 and the first Taungya plantation was raised in 1896 in north Bengal. It is practiced in Kerala, West Bangal, U.P., and to lesser extent in Tamil Nadu, A. P. Orissa and the north eastern hill regions. In southern India the system is called KUMARI, it is practiced in a areas with an assured annual rainfall of over 1200-1500mm.
This is a modified term of shifting cultivation in which labour is permitted to raise crop in an area but only side by side with the forest species planted by them. The practices consist of land preparation, tree planting, growing agricultural crop for 1 to 3 years until shade becomes the dense and then moving on to repeat the cycle in a different area.
Traditional Taungya consist of land preparation for tree plantation, growing agricultural crops for 1 to 3 years after the tree plantation and moving on to another area to repeat the cycle. There are three types of Taungya .
a) Departmental Taungya:
Under this, agricultural crops and plantation are raised by the forest department. By employing daily paid labours the main aim of raising agril. crops along with the plantation is to keep along with the land free of unwanted vegetation.
b) Leased Taungya:
The forest land is given on lease to the person who affects the highest money for raising Agril. crop for a specialized number of years and ensure care of tree plantation.
c) Village Taungya:
This is the most successful of all the three Taungya systems. Under this the people who have settled down in a village inside the forest for this purpose raise crops. Usually each family has about 0.8 to1.7 ha of land has raise trees and cultivate crops for 3 to 5 years.
Advantages of Taungya System:
i) Artificially regeneration of the forest is done at cheaper rate
ii) Problem of unemployment is solved to some extent
iii) Better utilization of land
iv) Remunerative to forest department
Disadvantages of Taungya System:
i) Creates certain legal problems
ii) Exploitation of hum in labour
iii) Danger of epidemic
v) Loss and soil fertility