Integration of agricultural crops/grasses and/or animal with woody perennial simultaneously or sequentially in a unit of farm land is known as agroforestry. Agrisilviculture and agrihorticulture are most popular and accepted systems out of four major systems, which are grouped based on their structure as agrisilviculture, agrihorticulture, silvipasture and agrisilvipasture. The system provides various farm needs like food, fodder, fuelwood, timber etc. There are several forms in which trees are planted in agriculture lands with arable crops. For examples; intercropping with woody perennials, bund plantation, hedgerow intercropping, scattered tree, tree planted as windbreaks/shelterbelts and home garden/homestead.
Institute has been working on various aspects of agroforestry like tree-crop interaction, soil fertility improvement, system productivity in terms of food grain, fuel wood, fodder and timber etc., pest and disease interaction, tree management, agrotechnique growth behavior of trees under rainfed and irrigated ecosystem, evaluation of crops for shade tolerance, development of soil quality index, assessment of biomass and carbon stock and economics of the systems. During first five years of its establishment, the main focus of research was on system productivity with various multipurpose trees and crops, compatibility of the crop combinations, density optimization of trees, root management for minimizing belowground competition, Nutrient dynamics and pest & disease interaction.
Institute identified and developed prominent agroforestry systems for irrigated as well as rainfed conditions for different agroclimatic region. The systems have important multi-purpose tree species (MPTS) such as Poplar (Populus deltoides), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus treticornis), Neem (Azadirecta indica), Shisham (Dalbergia sisoo), Teak (Tectona grandis), Bamboos (Bambusa spp.), Karanj (Pongamia pinnata), Jatropha (Jatropha curcas), Siris (Albizia procera), Anjan (Hardwickia binata) and Ailanthus. A number of crops (cereals, grasses, legumes, oil seeds) and medicinal & aromatic plants have been evaluated as intercrops under different agroforestry systems. Number of fruit trees and their varieties has been introduced in different agroforestry systems.
Natural Resource & Environment Management
In basic & strategic research effect of microclimate change and shade level, ecophysiology and regeneration studies were conducted at the institute. In order to assess the contribution of agroforestry in soil conservation, a soil quality index (SQI) for assessing soil health of different agroforestry systems is being developed.
The institute is working on assessment of carbon sequestration potential of agroforestry system existing on farmer’s field in different agro-climatic regions through simulation model (CO2Fix model), mapping of agroforestry area using GIS and Remote Sensing (RS) technique and study on thermotolerance. GIS and RS techniques for computing area under agroforestry system have been developed. Mapping of agroforestry area in 12 agro-climatic Zone has been completed and the total area under agroforestry in these zones was estimated to be 23.25 million ha of total geographical area (267.66 million ha).
ICAR-CAFRI initiated three agroforestry based watershed development projects in the Bundelkhand region. These are located at Garhkundar-Dabar in Tikamgarh district of M. P. (2005), Domagor-Pahuj at Babina Block (2008) and Parasai-Sindh (2011) both in Jhansi district of U. P. The experiences so far indicate that adoption of the technology can not only arrest runoff, soil & nutrient erosions and drinking water crisis but increase irrigation facilities by at least 1/3rd and agroforestry development can enhance biomass production by 3 folds besides drought proofing. The base flow and ground water recharge could be increased by least three and two times, respectively
ICAR-CAFRI initiated three agroforestry based watershed development projects in the Bundelkhand region. These are located at Garhkundar-Dabar in Tikamgarh district of M. P. (2005), Domagor-Pahuj at Babina Block (2008) and Parasai-Sindh (2011) both in Jhansi district of U. P. The experiences so far indicate that adoption of the technology can not only arrest runoff, soil & nutrient erosions and drinking water crisis but increase irrigation facilities by at least 1/3rd and agroforestry development can enhance biomass production by 3 folds besides drought proofing. The base flow and ground water recharge could be increased by least three and two times, respectively.
Tree Improvement, Post-Harvest & Value Addition
Tree Breeding and Improvement work concentrated on Neem (Azadirachta indica A. Juss), Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo Roxb.), Kardhai (Anogeissus pendula), Babul (Acacia nilotica) and Biofuel species (Jatropha curcas and Pongamia pinata) with the following objectives, viz.
- Exploration, collection, evaluation, characterization, multiplication and conservation of germplasm
- Studies on genetic variability present in nature
- Study mode of pollination/reproductive biology
- Standardization of vegetative propagation techniques; Identification of elite types and Establishment of seed orchards of elite types
Institute collected large number of germplasm of important agroforestry species from various parts of the country. It includes 220 accessions of Neem, 32 of Shisham, 63 of Babul, 16 of Kardhai, 138 of Karanj and 284 of Jatropha. In Jatropha oil content ranged from 22.79 – 40.31 per cent on seed basis, and in Karanj it ranged from 30.28 to 39.43 per cent. Institute has registered accessions of different agroforestry species with NBPGR. It includes Neem (178), Shisham (36), Acacia nilotica (24), Jatropha (152) and Karaj (40).
Institute conducted work on Jatropha and Karanj under promotion of biofuels. Institute identified suitable trees for gum and resin in different agro-climatic regions for development of agroforestry.
To promote livelihood opportunities for the farmers, introduced lac based agroforestry system for the semi-arid Bundelkhand region on palas and ber trees which are very common in this region. Success of lac cultivation in katki crop (rainy season) was observed in the region. The preliminary results indicate good possibility to promote lac cultivation in the region.
HRD, Technology Transfer & Refinement
Institute is giving due emphasis on Human Resource Development by organizing summer / winter schools; training programmes (agriclinic & agribusiness, cultivation of Jatropha & Karanj, natural resource management and agroforestry development under IWMP scheme), short courses, capsule courses, Kisan Gosthis, Kisan Melas, training to rural women and children, farmers training camps, training to resource perso nnel, etc. Institute organized Women Farmers’ Day on 15th October, 2018.
ICAR-CAFRI, Jhansi organized three days’ training on (a) Livelihood Security through Agroforestry and organic farming and (b) Natural Resource Management and development of watershed through agroforestry for farmers and field functionaries of Bundelkhand region under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna-Watershed Development, State Level Nodal Agency, Govt. of U.P., Lucknow.