Agroforestry: A Decade of Development by H. A. Steppler, P. K. R. Nair

By H. A. Steppler, P. K. R. Nair

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05 * Maize crop seriously affected by drought during early growth. Source: Kang et al, 1984. Alley farming thus appears to be a low-cost, sustainable agricultural technology and an attractive alternative to the prevailing shifting cultivation and bush-fallow system. 32 AGROFORESTRY: A DECADE OF DEVELOPMENT Multi-level plantations and homegardens Multi-level plantations and homegarden systems, common in smaller landholdings and designed to increase food production, are fairly analogous to a rain forest with a multilayered canopy.

Ottawa: IDRC. Chandler, T. and D. ). 1979. International cooperation in agroforestry. Proceedings of an Expert Consultation, Nairobi: ICRAF. , J. T. A. Navaro. 1984. Report of the External Review Panel of the International Council for Research in Agroforestry, September-December, 1984. Nairobi: ICRAF. P. 1976. Losing ground: Environmental stress and world food prospects. New York: Norton and Co. M. R. Nair. 1986. An evaluation of the structure and function of some tropical homegardens. Agricultural Systems 21: 179-210.

Similarly, agroforestry systems should avoid belowground competition for water and nutrients by ensuring that component species have non-overlapping root systems. The incorporation of deciduous trees such as Dalbergia sissoo into agroforestry systems can often be very useful. The natural abscission of leaves during autumn enriches the soil while the availability of solar radiation under the tree increases. Growing short-duration, high-yielding crops during this period of abundant sunshine and nutrients will be very productive.

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