Agroforestry pp 477-496 | Cite as

Enhancing Fodder Productivity on Salt-affected Lands in Arid and Semiarid India

  • Ranjana Arya


Soil salinity/alkalinity is an important factor adversely affecting the soil health and plant productivity under arid environment. In India, 6.73 m ha area is reported to be salt-affected out of which about 50% (2.98 mha) occurs in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, and Punjab. Salient findings of research done on lithic, calcid, coarse sandy to loamy sand salty soils in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and silty black highly saline soils of Little Rann of Kachchh in Gujarat to find out suitable plant species and planting practice to increase the production are discussed. Shrubs of genus Atriplex performed well with FYM and nitrogen. These produce nitrogen-rich fodder used for sheep and goat in Rajasthan. The indigenous multipurpose halophytic tree, Salvadora persica, maintained 66.7–85.2% survival after 10 years. Gypsum + 9g N treatment gave best growth and biomass results. While on black soil, wheat husk (WH), FYM, and urea gave best results. Acacia ampliceps (Australian tree) recorded 76% survival on gypsum-treated deep alkali soils (60–75 cm depth) and yielded two-fold biomass (12–5.43 kg tree−1 for gypsum treated and 8.1–3.9 kg tree−1 for untreated trees on deeper and shallow soils) at the age of 5 years. Its growth was much faster with WH and FYM on black soil, but it suffered under drought and extreme hot conditions where Acacia bivenosa was more suitable. Suaeda nudiflora from mud flats and seashore adapted well (55–80% survival) on sandy saline soil after 72 months. Colophospermum mopane (a south central African tree) maintained 89% overall mean survival after 5 years (86.5% in control and 92.1% on circular dish mound, CDM). Overall, plants on CDM recorded a mean 1.45 kg green biomass yield plant−1 which is 5.9% more compared to control plants (1.37 kg), the difference was 9.1% for leaf and 5.2% for branch component. Roots penetrated nodulated CaCO3 layer. Double-ridge and circular dish mounds enhanced the survival of all the plant species by providing protection from waterlogging and less salty environment. Crescent-shaped drainage trenches helped in leaching. Plantation activities improved the site condition and promoted growth of indigenous vegetation. Natural germination of S. persica was observed on sandy soil in Rajasthan to an extent that it suppressed the growth of Prosopis juliflora. All the exotic species adapted well, flowered, and produced viable seed resulting in natural germination. They did not suppress the growth of indigenous salt-tolerant grasses such as species of Sporobolus and Chloris.


Salt-affected soils Arid and semiarid Survival Biomass Gypsum Nitrogen Urea Wheat husk Mound practices 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arid Forest Research InstituteJodhpurIndia

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