Agroforestry systems are an age-old practice in the Indian Himalayan region. Agroforestry deals with the combination of tree species with crop plants, fisheries, animals, bee keeping, and so on, and it is based on the principle of optimum utilization of land. Agrihorticulture, silvihorticulture, hortipastoral, and silvipastoral systems are diversified land use options for agroforestry in the hill region. The study was conducted at experimental farm Hawalbagh (29o36′N and 79o 40′ E, 1250 m amsl) of Vivekananda Parvatiya Krishi Anusandhan Sansthan, Almora, India. Study in an agri-horti system revealed that ragi (Eluesine coracana) and soybean (Glysine max) during kharif (rainy season) and wheat (Triticum estivum) and lentil (Lens esculenta) during rabi (winter season) can be grown successfully with pecan nut (Carya illinoinensis) tree without significant reduction in the yield of the crop. However, grain yield of these crops was numerically higher in the field without pecan nut tree. In fruit-based agri-horti system four fruit crops, hill lemon (Citrus limon), pear (Pyrus communis), plum (Prunus domestica), and apricot (Prunus armeniaca) were planted with soybean in kharif and dual purpose wheat during rabi season. During initial years, no significant effect on grain yield was observed with the presence of different fruit trees. Green forage yield varied from 4600 to 5900 kg/ha in different treatments. In different treatments, ginger (Zingiber officinale) and turmeric (Curcuma longa), turmeric and taro (Colocasia esculenta), and two varieties of turmeric (Pant Pitabh and Swarna) were grown under Grewia optiva, Quercus leucotrichophora, Bauhinia variegata, and Celtis australis. Turmeric and ginger produced significantly higher yield (12.04 and 7.99 t/ha) under oak. The highest rhizome yield was obtained under Quercus leucotrichophora (11,738 kg/ha) followed by Bauhinia variegata. Pant Pitabh gave significantly higher yield (10,860 kg/ha) than swarna. Improved systems with five tree species, that is, Grewia optiva, Quercus leucotrichophora, Bauhinia retusa, Melia azedarach, and Morus alba and four grasses, that is, Setaria kazugulla, Setaria nandi, Congo signal, and Broad leaf paspalum (Paspalum spp.) were tested under the silvipastoral system. Quercus leucotrichophora yielded (10,675 kg/ha) significantly higher green biomass than others, and the lowest green biomass was harvested from Grewia optiva. Among grasses, Setaria nandi produced the highest green forage (6234 kg/ha). Thus, in hilly terrain, planting of interspatial woody perennials, with least negative influences on the agronomic crops, seems productive in agroforestry system for settled farming. Therefore, agroforestry is a set of land use alternative, which if developed for resource poor farmers, can provide increased values and reduced risks and it should be made more popular in the rural areas.
Part of the book: Sustainability of Agroecosystems
Climate is most important factor affecting agriculture, and issues related to climate and its implications have attracted attention of policy makers globally. The farm sector, particularly marginal ecosystems in mountains are vulnerable because of unpredictable variation and severe sink limitations. Efforts to impart resilience to farm and its allied sector are an urgent need. The climatic parameters play very important role to determine type of crops, cattle rearing and the life style adopted by the people. Moreover, weather has a significant impact on crop growth and development. Weather plays a vital role and affects the production and productivity of the crops. According to an estimate, weather contributes 67% variation in productivity and rest of the factors (soil, nutrient and management practices etc.) accounts for 33%. Therefore, there is a need of in-depth analysis of each meteorological parameters and identification of their trend over the years in order to identify and adapt suitable agriculture practices, better adaptable crops, varieties and their duration, time of field preparation, sowing time and irrigation as per the climatic conditions of the region. This will lead farming community to plan strategies of agriculture operation to obtain optimum yield. The climatic data from the meteorological observatory of ICAR-VPKAS, Hawalbagh located at mid hill condition (1250 m amsl) were analyzed for different periods (annual, seasonal, monthly, weekly). It was revealed that rainfall is decreasing over the years but significant (P < 0.05) decrease was recorded at mid hills. The maximum temperature is increasing significantly (P < 0.05) during post-monsoon and winter season however decreasing in monsoon season whereas minimum temperature is decreasing round the year. These changes in rainfall and temperatures are affecting production and productivity of the crops, as hills are largely rainfed. In terms of crop water demand, there is no need to apply irrigation during the rainy season except the transplanted rice. However, during the winter season as there is more than 60% of water deficit to irrigate the crops. The proper understanding of climate is necessary to bring sustainability in hill agriculture by adjusting crop sowing window and other operations as per suitability of the climate.
Part of the book: Agrometeorology