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Agroforestry


Agroforestry use of land for a combination of agriculture and forestry. In other words, the practice of growing tree crops or some other fast growing trees along with the main crop. Agroforestry is one of the important sustainable land management techniques, involving a combination of different agricultural, horticultural, forestry, and livestock practices. Sometimes it is closely related to community forestry and homestead forestry. Although it is a traditional practice, it may be designed on more realistic and dynamic models according to land, area, and ecological conditions. Agroforestry plays a vital role in supplying not only the daily necessities of man but also in maintaining ecological balance. It is more or less an alternative to shifting cultivation, forestry in the service of agriculture; forestry farming helps solve problems of hunger, and combat desertification. It lends a new emphasis to rural and suburban development, as a socio-economic enterprise in alleviating national problems of forest conservation. It creates employment opportunities and also ensures the best utilization of different soil strata. The system of agroforestry helps to maintain natural stability by providing mutual growth among the forest trees and crop plants.

Bangladesh has a long tradition of agroforestry practices. But management has always been extremely poor. Selection of plants, planting techniques, and also their utilization in most cases is poorly done, although the country is mostly dependent on the plants grown in and around human habitats. Because of the growing population, quick urbanization, and other forms of development efforts, the agroforestry practices are declining. It is reported that about 10% of homestead trees are being removed annually without replacement. Recently plantation of more tree species along the agricultural lands is being emphasized. Results of different investigations have suggested that the following trees may be grown: Babla, Acacia nilotica; Khair, A. catechu; Khair, A. catechuoides; Datepalm (Khejur), Phoenix sylvestris; Jackfruit (Kanthal), Artocarpus heterophyllus; Palmyra palm (Tal), Borassus flabellifer; Mango (Aam), Mangifera indica as the major trees and Shimul, Bombax ceiba; Silk cotton tree (Shimul), Ceiba pentandra; Coconut (Narikel), Cocos nucifera; Betel Nut (Supari), Areca catechu; Litchi (Lichu), Litchi chinensis and several species of bamboo as the minor trees along the crop lands in the Gangetic flood plain areas for fruits, timber, fuel, building materials and for some other economic products. For the high land of the tista floodplain, Neem, Azadirachta indica; Mango, Mangifera indica; Khair, Acacia catechuoides; Sissu, Dalbergia sisoo; Jackfruit, Artocarpus heterophyllus and some species of bamboo are recommended. The concept of agroforestry is now gaining popularity in Bangladesh. [Mostafa Kamal Pasha]

See also homestead plant.