Traditional agroforestry systems and practices of Assam

Ulman, Dr. Yashmita ; Kumar, Dr. Awadhesh ; Sharma, Dr. Madhubala

Abstract

Agroforestry is an age-old practice in Assam, the Northeastern state of India. But the documentation of such traditional practices is very meagre. Assam has six agro-ecological zones. This paper attempts to present the different types of traditional agroforestry systems practiced in North bank plains of agro-ecological zone of Assam. The documentation was done through direct observations. A questionnaire survey was done of 500 households in 250 villages distributed across four districts (Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Sonitpur and Darrang) of Assam. Altogether 11 types of traditional agroforestry systems are recorded. Homegarden is the most common agroforestry system in all the four districts followed by aquaforestry and commercial crops trailed on support trees. The least common agroforestry system is Machilus-based agroforestry system and this system is not recorded from Darrang and Sonitpur districts of Assam. The choice of species and their planting pattern are influenced by their tradition, usage pattern and need of the agroforestry system’s owner. These traditional agroforestry systems are a part of their traditional knowledge which is intervened with their traditions and culture. It is a blend of time-tested knowledge of indigenous species, their compatibility and species planting pattern such that the yield is maximized. So, the documentation of these environment-friendly traditional practices is essential to advocate climate-smart and sustainable approach in agriculture.

Keyword(s)

Assam, Aquaforestry, Areca-based cropping, Live fence, Machilus-based agroforestry

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