Growth and yield of agricultural crops intercropped under three multipurpose trees (MPTs) in Mizoram, North-East India
Growth and yield of agricultural crops intercropped under three multipurpose trees (MPTs) in Mizoram, North-East Indiawca2014-2046 P C. Vanlalhluna 1,*Uttam K. Sahoo 2Soibam L. Singh 2 1Botany, Pachhunga University College (A constituent College of Mizoram University), 2Forestry, Mizoram University, India, Aizawl, India
A field study was carried out in Mizoram University campus to assess the growth behavior of three multipurpose trees (MPTs) viz. Gmelina arborea, Melia azadirach and Aluns nepalensis and their effect on three agricultural crops (ginger, turmeric and maize) over a 3-years period. The tree height and collar diameter were always higher in the intercropped plots than that of the sole crops. The canopy cover, litter fall and green biomass productivity were maximum in Gmelina arborea intercroped, followed by Aluns nepalensis and Melia azadirach. The soil pH and organic carbon show a significant (P<0.05) variation between the treatments with comparatively higher values in plots having species mixture than those of control treatment. The NPK level in general was maximum under tree-crop interaction than in sole crop (control). The yield of crops differed significantly (P<0.05) between the treatments and was influenced by tree association. Ginger (6.22 t.ha-1), turmeric (5.64 t.ha-1) and maize (7.07 t.ha-1) registered maximum yields under Alnus nepalensis. The distribution of above ground biomass (g/plant) on dry weight basis was much variable among the tree species and the biomass production was more pronounced in Gmelina arborea (16.03 g/plant) followed by Melia azadirach (16.00 g/plant) and minimum in Alnus nepalensis (15.06 g/plant). Above ground biomass of crops was always higher in tree-crop association. Maize registered higher density (47,295.85 plants.ha-1) under Alnus nepalensis, followed by ginger (45,850.53 plants.ha-1) and turmeric (42,523.05 plants.ha-1). Better finger size and yield were recorded in ginger and turmeric from intercropped plots than sole crops while yield of maize was higher under sole cropping. Land Equivalent Ratio (LER) was found maximum in Alnus nepalensis (2.54) intercrop plot, followed by Melia azidarach (2.50) and Gmelina arborea (2.13).