Agro forestry and Environment
Farming is well known as a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions accounting for 24 per cent globally and India alone shares 6 per cent of global gas emissions. The climate smart technologies like crop management and land management have the latent to curtail these green house emissions. The cultivation and conservation of trees in agricultural practices or agroforestry, is an important climate-smart solution with additional socio- economical benefits for the farming community.
The knowledge centres like agricultural universities, research centre have advocated a wide range of practices including silvipasture (combining trees with pasture or livestock grazing areas), alley cropping (planting single rows of trees and growing crops in the alley ways in between), forest farming (the cultivation of shade-tolerant crops under the protection of a managed forest) etc., In recent years, the impact of climate change is dread some which results in complete crop failures and unrepairable land degradation. The practice of integrating trees in agricultural systems can diminish the risk of crop failures and land erosion issues. The choice of tree species is purely based on the land use classification and different from region to region. There is also no standard agroforestry model of for any state or country. The cropping systems either with one or few rows of tree species along with the agricultural crops has the potential of increasing crop productivity, improve soil enrichment, nutrient cycling, air purifying, maintenance of microclimate etc.,
Carbon sequestration is the process by which carbon is pulled from the atmosphere and stored elsewhere. In agricultural systems, carbon is stored above as biomass and below the ground in soil strata. But in the long-term agroforestry system, the tress tends to store equivalent or higher amounts of soil organic carbon (SOC) than neighboring natural forests. It was also found that there was a correlation between organic carbon concentrations, species richness, and tree density and that soil near trees tended to store more carbon than in soil farther away from trees. Thus agroforestry practices of growing tree crops along with agricultural crops is the ideal practice for reducing climate impact.
The agro forestry systems can improve and restore soil quality in degraded lands and problem soils. In developing countries like India, where smallholder farming is predominant, agroforestry practices could improve the standard of living through increased agricultural productivity while protecting environment by reducing carbon emissions. The silvipasture systems involving pasture crops and tress is having the leverage for the communities so as to feed their livestock and economic benefits from other land based practices. Thus the vital impacts of agroforestry could be visible in reducing climate pressure, improving soil quality and biodiversity resulting in sustainable livelihoods of local communities.