Weedy diversity of subsistence agriculture and their traditional uses in cold arid region of India
In Ladakh, a cold arid region, subsistence agriculture has been in practice and is associated with livestock rearing in very small-scale stone-built terrace farming. Due to poor resources, public distribution systems, import/mutual exchange of plant materials and higher labour cost, high-altitude default organic farming has become a complex activity where weeds have become a recurrent problem. Moreover, they have become an integral part of fodder resources under small-scale stone-built terraced farming in barren ecosystems for enriching straw with supplementary weedy stuff. As a result, cropped areas suffer severe weed pressure as it requires 4-5 weedings under high-altitude solar radiation. An intensive survey revealed that the majority of weeds constituted of Amaranthaceae, Asteraceae, Poaceae and Fabaceae families, and they varied attitudinally. In this region, weeds are the major associated plant species, limiting the performance of crops in terms of seed quality and yields significantly. Hence, weed menace is overlooked in crops that impact the invasive weedy species to move upward to high altitudes under climate change. Conversely, people across this region have identified many of the weedy species for their day-to-day consumption as green leafy vegetables and for medicinal uses under the harsh climate of the cold arid region. This article describes the weedy species identified in crops and their utilization under low-land holding subsistence agriculture.
Cold arid region, Ladakh, Subsistence agriculture, Weedy diversity, Weed utilization
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