IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


18th April, 2024 Environment


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  • Brazilian scientists found that a small leaf litter frog in the Atlantic rainforest emits ultrasonic sounds to deter predators.


  • Agroforestry is an intensive land management system that optimizes the benefits from the biological interactions created when trees and/or shrubs are deliberately combined with crops and/or livestock.

Types of Agroforestry in India

There are five basic types of agroforestry practices today: windbreaks, alley cropping, silvopasture, riparian buffers, and forest farming.

  • Windbreaks: Windbreaks are rows of trees or shrubs planted in a line to reduce the force and velocity of wind, thereby protecting crops, livestock, buildings, and soil from wind erosion and damage.
  • Alley Cropping: Alley cropping, also known as agroforestry alley cropping, is an agricultural technique where rows of trees or shrubs are planted alongside or between rows of crops. This system combines the benefits of both agriculture and forestry, enhancing soil fertility, biodiversity, and overall productivity.
  • Silvopasture: Silvopasture is a land-use system that integrates trees or shrubs with livestock grazing. It involves the simultaneous management of trees, forage, and livestock on the same piece of land, providing multiple benefits such as improved animal welfare, enhanced forage quality, and carbon sequestration.
  • Riparian Buffers: Riparian buffers are vegetated areas of land adjacent to water bodies, such as rivers, streams, and lakes. These buffers consist of trees, shrubs, grasses, and other vegetation, serving to protect water quality, prevent erosion, and provide habitat for wildlife.
  • Forest Farming: Forest farming, also known as agroforestry or forest-based agriculture, is a sustainable land-use practice that involves cultivating crops, herbs, mushrooms, or other agricultural products within a forest or woodland environment. It aims to mimic natural forest ecosystems while providing food, fiber, medicinal plants, and other products.

Steps taken

  • National Agroforestry Policy (2014): India formulated a comprehensive policy framework to promote agroforestry, emphasizing the integration of trees with agriculture and livestock farming to enhance productivity and sustainability.
  • Research and Development: The government has invested in research and development initiatives to develop suitable agroforestry models, crop-tree combinations, and sustainable land-use practices tailored to different agro-climatic regions of the country.
  • Capacity Building: Efforts have been made to build the capacity of farmers, extension workers, and other stakeholders through training programs, workshops, and knowledge-sharing platforms to promote awareness and adoption of agroforestry practices.
  • Financial Incentives: Various financial incentives, subsidies, and support schemes have been introduced to encourage farmers to adopt agroforestry, including subsidized tree saplings, credit facilities, and income-generating opportunities through carbon trading and non-timber forest products.
  • Partnerships and Collaborations: The government has fostered partnerships and collaborations with research institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society groups, and private sector entities to facilitate the implementation and scaling up of agroforestry initiatives across the country.

Issues of agroforestry in India

  • Challenges in Smallholder Adoption: Smallholder farmers face barriers to agroforestry adoption, including long gestation periods, lack of incentives, investment capital, and weak market linkages. Overcoming these challenges requires creating an enabling environment.
  • Water Availability Concerns: Water availability is a recurrent concern for smallholders, especially during the sapling stage.
  • Limited Awareness and Adoption: Despite its potential benefits, awareness and adoption of agroforestry practices remain limited among farmers, extension workers, and policymakers, leading to underutilization of this sustainable land-use approach.
  • Land Tenure and Ownership: Unclear land tenure systems, fragmented landholdings, and conflicting land-use policies pose challenges to the widespread adoption of agroforestry, as farmers may hesitate to invest in long-term tree planting without secure land rights.
  • Access to Finance and Inputs: Smallholder farmers often face challenges in accessing finance, quality tree saplings, and necessary inputs for agroforestry, such as irrigation facilities, fencing materials, and soil amendments, limiting their ability to establish and maintain agroforestry systems.

Way ahead

  • Choosing Suitable Species: Selecting native species that fit multiple criteria is crucial for sustainable agroforestry. Decision support tools like 'Jaltol' and 'Diversity for Restoration' aid in identifying appropriate species for specific regions and objectives.
  • Financial Support and Market Linkages: Smallholders lack systemic support and lucrative market linkages for financing the transition to agroforestry. Payment for ecosystem services (PES) and ecosystem credits could incentivize farmers, but implementation requires detailed assessments and consideration of regional variabilities.
  • Inclusive Adoption: Agroforestry adoption at scale must include smallholders, who own most of India's agricultural land. Securing land tenure and ensuring economic viability are essential for empowering smallholder farmers.
  • Modus Vivendi for Resilient Livelihoods: Agroforestry could serve as a modus vivendi among conservationists, agro-economists, and policymakers, fostering healthy ecosystems and resilient livelihoods. Creating an enabling environment is crucial for rapid uptake by smallholders.

"Modus vivendi" is a Latin phrase that translates to "way of living" or "mode of life" in English. It refers to an arrangement or agreement reached between parties with differing views or interests, allowing them to coexist or work together peacefully despite their differences.

Source: https://epaper.thehindu.com/ccidist-ws/th/th_international/issues/79719/OPS/GASCLC56G.1+GRQCMFTM1.1.html


Q) Match the following types of agroforestry practices with their descriptions:


A) Windbreaks

B) Alley Cropping

C) Silvopasture

D) Riparian Buffers

E) Forest Farming


1. Rows of trees or shrubs planted alongside or between rows of crops to enhance soil fertility and overall productivity.

2. Land-use system integrating trees or shrubs with livestock grazing, providing benefits like improved animal welfare and carbon sequestration.

3. Rows of trees or shrubs planted in a line to reduce wind force and protect crops, livestock, and soil from erosion.

4. Vegetated areas of land adjacent to water bodies, serve to protect water quality, prevent erosion, and provide wildlife habitat.

5. Cultivation of crops, herbs, or other agricultural products within a forest or woodland environment, aiming to mimic natural forest ecosystems.


A) A- 5, B-1, C-2, D-4, E-3

B) A- 3, B-1, C-2, D-4, E-5

C) A- 2, B-3, C-21, D-4, E-5

D) A- 2, B-1, C-3, D-4, E-5

Answer: B