Design and Development of Agroforestry Systems in Low Rainfall Regions of India for Combating Climate Change
Design and Development of Agroforestry Systems in Low Rainfall Regions of India for Combating Climate Changewca2014-1370 Murari M. Roy 1,* 1Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, Jodhpur, India
Climate change, the greatest global challenge, is already a reality for the farmers of arid regions of India. It is increasing the pressure on already scarce resources and if proper measures are not taken, migration towards the cities will soon reach new heights. Given the fragility of the resource base in arid regions, agriculture is a high risk activity. Climate change poses formidable challenges to the animal husbandry sector as well. Agroforestry with livestock integration is a practice in these regions and offers a great scope in combating ill effects of climate change.
Tree growing in hot arid region is basically concerned with the management of trees for conservation and for limited production objectives like wood for fuel; poles and fencing material; leaves for livestock fodder; and pod/seeds for many types of use in human diet. Agroforestry with suitable tree species in different arid land forms thus assumes much significance for desertification control and ecosystem services.
Agroforestry systems combining tree/shrub, crop, grass and livestock have great scope and role in optimizing land productivity and environmental protection, more so from the angle of climate change. More adoption of agroforestry in the region is recommended for maintenance of productivity and sustainability in this region. The characteristics of trees which are generally considered to be environmentally beneficial are on account of their ability to utilize incoming solar radiation throughout the year; to enrich micro sites by depositing litter in the topsoil for its subsequent utilization by crops/grasses; to modify the microclimate, which can bring about favorable effect on the soil and associated plant species. The appropriate combination and management of tree/shrub (both forest and fruit), crops, grasses and livestock units (in mixed herds) will make agriculture a profitable and risk free proposal in light of emerging climate change challenges in the region.