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Notes on Agroforestry

Agroforestry - Definitions, Objectives, Potential and Distinction between Agroforestry and Social Forestry

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Source: ICAR Web

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Concept of Agroforestry:

  • Agroforestry is an age-old practice.
  • Farmers in warmer regions have a tradition of growing food crops, trees, and animals together.
  • Trees and forests are integral to Indian culture.
  • Rishis who evolved Hindu philosophy lived in forests in harmony with nature.
  • Planting trees was practiced alongside agriculture crops.
  • "Krishishukti" by Maharishi Kashyap classified suitable areas for tree planting.
  • Traditional foresters and agriculturists focused on monoculture production.
  • Recent forest area reduction led to resource scarcity.
  • Shortage of wood increased commodity prices.
  • Farmers started planting trees on their lands to meet shortages.
  • Agroforestry is a collective name for land use systems involving trees, crops, and/or animals.
  • Agroforestry combines production of multiple outputs with protection of the production base.
  • It emphasizes the use of indigenous trees and shrubs.
  • Suitable for low-input conditions and fragile environments.
  • Involves sociocultural values more than other land-use systems.
  • Structurally and functionally more complex than monoculture.


  • Agroforestry is a relatively new name for old land use practices.
  • Different definitions proposed worldwide.
  • Accepted as a land use system.
  • Bene et al. (1977) defined agroforestry as a sustainable management system.
  • King and Chandler (1978): "Agroforestry is a sustainable land management system."
  • Nair (1979) defines agroforestry as a land use system that integrates trees, crops, and animals.
  • Lundgren and Raintree (1982) define agroforestry as a collective name for land use systems.
  • Agroforestry systems have ecological and economical interactions between components.

Objectives of Agroforestry:

  • Two essential aims: conserve and improve the site, optimize combined production.
  • Three attributes: productivity, sustainability, adoptability.

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