Agroforestry pp 217-243 | Cite as

Agroforestry Systems as Adaptation Measures for Sustainable Livelihoods and Socio-economic Development in the Sikkim Himalaya

Chapter

Abstract

The Sikkim Himalayan Traditional Farming Systems (TFS) show good examples of how indigenously managed small patches of cultivated production agroecosystems constitute a larger landscape management approach and how contribution of such agriculture by the small-scale marginal land has contributed to ecological, economical and food security while providing employment to over 80% of the population directly or indirectly dependent on them. Mountain food security is mostly dependent on small and marginal TFS which are dynamic and exhibit examples of indigenously managed farm-based, farm forest-based, Alnus-cardamom-based, forest-cardamom-based and Albizia-mixed tree-mandarin-based homegarden agroforestry systems.

Multipurpose tree density was remarkably high (198–284 ha−1) in agroforestry systems and contributes > 200 species of NTFPs which are sold in the weekly hatts (small movable markets) for earning cash. Indigenous soil fertility management through tree-based N fertilization of soil has proved beneficial with alder contributing 95–116 N kg ha−1 year−1 while Albizia contributing 14–22 kg N ha−1 year−1. Of the identified livelihood options, employment and remittances contributed 53% to household income, large cardamom contributed 29.20%, generating an average income of US$ 911 year−1 household−1, followed by livestock, which contributed 12%. The remaining sources of income were other cash crops, beekeeping, off-farm labour and employment under the MGNREGA, which together contributed only 4% of household income. Output to input ratios in the form of cash were clearly the highest in cardamom-based agroforestry and proved to be the most energy efficient and economically viable, as well as the most cost effective, among all agroforestry systems.

Climate variation in the region has contributed to an unpredictable or erratic rainfall pattern, drying up of local springs and streams, species migration to higher elevations, shift of sowing and harvesting period of crops, emergence of invasive species and incidence of diseases/pests in crops as well as in fodder species. Under such circumstances, promotion of homegarden agroforestry systems through community innovations and investments would be a successive strategy for adaptation, mitigation and livelihood security. At the wake of climate scenarios and the pressure of globalization, revitalization of small and marginal farms and production agroecosystems, which emphasizes diversity, synergy, recycling and integration, and social processes that value community participation and empowerment, proves to be perhaps one of the only viable options to meet present and future food needs and adaptation to climate change. The “Organic Mission” of the Government of Sikkim is expected to enhance farmers’ livelihood strategies, particularly in areas under high ecological, climatic and economic stresses and risks.

Keywords

Traditional farming systems Homegarden systems and practices Sikkim Himalaya Traditional knowledge systems Organic mission 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank The Mountain Institute India and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu Nepal for facilities. Partial grants for this research work were received from Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

References

  1. Altieri MA, Kooohafkan P (2008) Enduring farms: climate change, small holders and traditional farming communities. Published by the third world network 131 Jalan Macalister 10400 Penang, www.twnside.org.sg http://www.fao.org/nr/water/docs/enduring_farms.pdf. Accessed 1 Dec 2016
  2. Bacon CM, Getz C, Kraus S, Montenegro M, Holland K (2012) The social dimensions of sustainability and change in diversified farming systems. Ecol Soc 17(4):41.  https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-05226-170441 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhutia DT (2015) Sikkim organic mission: journey of a fully organic farming state. Published by Sikkim Organic Mission, Food Security & Agriculture Development Department, and, Horticulture & Cash Crop Development Department, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok. www.sikkimorganicmission.gov.in, p 285
  4. Bhutia K, Pradhan Y, Avasthe R, Bhutia PT (2014) Agriculture in Sikkim: transition from traditional to organic farming. In: Avashe R, Pradhan Y, Bhutia K (eds) Handbook of organic crop production in Sikkim. Published by Sikkim Organic Mission, Government of Sikkim and ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Sikkim Centre, Gangtok, pp 1–20Google Scholar
  5. Brookfield H (2012) Farming in the Southeast Asian uplands: the trouble with generalization. In: Saxena KG, Liang L, Tanaka K, Takahashi S (eds) Land management in marginal mountain regions: adaptation and vulnerability to global change. Published by United Nations University, Dehra Dun, pp 1–10Google Scholar
  6. Chaudhury G (2016) Impact of hydropower on mountain communities in teesta basin of eastern Himalaya, India, pp 240–279. In: Gregory BG, Shroder JF Jr (eds) Mountain ice and water: investigations of the hydrologic cycle in alpine environments.  https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-63787-1.00006-8
  7. CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) (1995) Involving culture: a fieldworker’s guide to culturally sensitive development. Retrieved August 5, 2011, from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001204/120456eo.pdf
  8. FAO (2007) Sikkim Himalaya – agriculture: improving and scaling up of the traditionally managed agricultural systems of global significance. http://www.fao.org/nr/giahs/other-systems/other/asia-pacific/en/. Accessed 21 Feb 2015
  9. FAO (2010) “Climate-smart” agriculture policies, practices and financing for food security, adaptation and mitigation. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, RomeGoogle Scholar
  10. Freedman SM (1982) Human labour as an energy source for rice production in the developing world. Agroecosystem 8:125–136Google Scholar
  11. FSAD & HCCD (2010) State policy on organic farming. Sikkim Organic Mission, Food Security and Agriculture Development Department, and, Horticulture and Cash Crop Development Department, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok, p 28Google Scholar
  12. Jodha NS (1989) Mountain perspective and its utility: a framework for development strategies. Himal Rev Nepal Geogr Soc, vol XX–XXXIIIGoogle Scholar
  13. Koohafkan P, Altieri MA (2010) Globally important agricultural heritage systems: a legacy for the future. UN-FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  14. KPMG (2016) India economic survey 2015–16: key highlights. KPMG, Tax Flash News, 26 February 2016. https://home.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2016/04/KPMG-Flash-News-India-Economic-Survey-2015-16%E2%80%93Key-Highlights-3.pdf. Accessed 1 Dec 2016
  15. Kumar PS (2012) Impact of climate change and adaptation measures in dairy sector of Sikkim, pp 219–231. In: Arawatia ML, Tambe S (eds) Biodiversity of Sikkim: exploring and conserving a global hotspot. Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok, p 554Google Scholar
  16. Kumar BM, Nair PKR (2006) Tropical home gardens: a time-tested example of sustainable agroforestry. Environmental ExpertsGoogle Scholar
  17. Linger E (2014) Agro-ecosystem and socio-economic role of home garden agroforestry in Jabithenan District, North-Western Ethiopia: implication for climate change adaptation. SpringerPlus 3:154. http://www.springerplus.com/content/3/1/154 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Maikhuri RK, Semwal RL, Rao KS, Saxena KG, Das AK (2001) Indigenous techniques of agricultural soil fertility maintenance in the Central Himalaya ecology. Environ Conserv 7(1):15–20Google Scholar
  19. Mbow C, Van Noordwijk M, Luedeling E, Neufeldt H, Minang PA, Kowero G (2013) Agroforestry solutions to address food security and climate change challenges in Africa. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 6:61–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nair PKR (1993) An introduction to agroforestry. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pandey R, Meena D, Aretano R, Satpathy S, Semeraro T, Gupta AK, Rawat S, Zurlini G (2013) Socio-ecological vulnerability of smallholders due to climate change in mountains: agroforestry as an adaptation measure. Change Adapt Socioecol Syst 2:26–41Google Scholar
  22. Partap U, Sharma G, Gurung MB, Sharma E (2014) Large cardamom farming in changing climatic and socioeconomic conditions in Sikkim Himalaya, ICIMOD Working Paper 2014/2. ICIMOD, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  23. Rao KS, Saxena KG (1996) Minor forest products’ management: problems and prospects in high altitude villages of Central Himalaya. Int J Sust Dev World Ecol 3:60–70Google Scholar
  24. SAPCC (2015) Sikkim state action plan on climate change: report. Published by Governmnt of Sikkim. (www.moef.nic.in/sites/default/files/sapcc/Sikkim.pdf)
  25. SBAP (2012) Sikkim biodiversity action plan. Sikkim Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Project (SBFP), and Forest Environment and Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok, p 150Google Scholar
  26. Sharma G (2001) Productivity and nutrient dynamics of age series of Alnus-Cardamom agroforestry in the Sikkim Himalaya. PhD thesis. GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development Sikkim Unit; North Bengal University, Darjeeling, p 200Google Scholar
  27. Sharma G (2012) Climate change and sustainability of traditional farming systems in Sikkim Himalaya, India. In: Saxena KG, Linag L, Tanaka K, Takahsashi S (eds) Land management in marginal mountain regions: adaptation and vulnerability to global change. United Nations University, Dehra DunGoogle Scholar
  28. Sharma G (2016) Tradable bioresources of Sikkim. Sikkim Biodiversity Board, Government of Sikkim, and The Mountain Institute India, Abhilasha Development Area, Gangtok, p 241Google Scholar
  29. Sharma G, Dhakal T (2011) Opportunities and challenges of the globally important traditional agriculture heritage systems of the Sikkim Himalaya. In: Arrawatia ML, Tambe S (eds) Biodiversity of Sikkim: exploring and conserving a global hotspot. Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok, pp 381–403Google Scholar
  30. Sharma G, Rai LK (2012) Climate change and sustainability of agrodiversity in traditional farming of the Sikkim Himalaya. In: Arrawatia ML, Tambe S (eds) Biodiversity of Sikkim: exploring and conserving a global hotspot. Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok, pp 193–218Google Scholar
  31. Sharma HR, Sharma E (1997) Mountain agricultural transformation processes and sustainability in the Sikkim Himalayas, India, Mountain Farming Systems’ Discussion Paper 97/2. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  32. Sharma E, Sharma R, Singh KK, Sharma G (2000) A boon for mountain populations: large cardamom farming in the Sikkim Himalaya. Mt Res Dev 20:108–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Sharma G, Sharma E, Sharma R, Singh KK (2002a) Performance of an age series of Alnus-cardamom plantations in the Sikkim Himalaya. Biomass, productivity and energetics. Ann Bot 89:261–272CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  34. Sharma G, Sharma R, Sharma E, Singh KK (2002b) Performance of an age series of Alnus-cardamom plantations in the Sikkim Himalaya. Nutrient dynamics. Ann Bot 89:273–282CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. Sharma E, Sharma R, Sharma G, Rai SC, Sharma P, Chettri N (2008) Values and services of nitrogen-fixing Alder based Cardamom agroforestry systems in the Eastern Himalaya. In: Snelder DJ, Lasco RD (eds) Smallholder tree growing for rural development and environmental services: lessons from Asia. Springer, Guildford, pp 393–409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sharma G, Sharma R, Sharma E (2009) Traditional knowledge systems in large cardamom farming: biophysical and management diversity in Indian mountainous regions. Indian J Tradit Knowl 8:17–22Google Scholar
  37. Sharma G, Sharma R, Sharma E (2010) Impact of altitudinal gradients on energetics and efficiencies of N-fixation in Alder-Cardamom agroforestry systems of the Eastern Himalayas. Ecol Res 25:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sharma G, Partap U, Sharma E, Rasul G, Awasthe RK (2016a) Agrobiodiversity in the Sikkim Himalaya: sociocultural significance, status, practices, and challenges, ICIMOD Working Paper 2016/5. ICIMOD, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  39. Sharma G, Honsdorfur B, Singh KK (2016b) Comparative analysis on the socio-ecological and economic potentials of traditional agroforestry systems in the Sikkim Himalaya. Trop Ecol 57(4):751–764Google Scholar
  40. Sharma G, Uma P, Dahal DR, Sharma DP, Sharma E (2016c) Declining large -Cardamom production systems in the Sikkim Himalayas: climate change impacts, agroeconomic potential, and revival strategies. Mt Res Dev 36(3):286–298.  https://doi.org/10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-14-00122.1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sinclair FL (1999) A general classification of agroforestry practice. Agrofor Sys 46:161–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Singh JS (2006) Sustainable development of the Indian Himalayan region: linking ecological and economic concerns. Curr Sci 90(25):784–788Google Scholar
  43. Tambe S, Arrawatia ML, Ganeriwala AK (2012) Managing rural development in the mountain state of Sikkim, India: experiences, innovative approaches, and key issues. Mt Res Dev 32(2):242–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tambe S, Sherpa PN, Bhutia NT, Arrawatia ML, Pradhan S, Nepal DR (2013) Enhancing the hydrological contribution of mountain ecosystems: environmental change adaptation experiments from the Sikkim Himalaya. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation: success stories in mountain ecosystem management. SAARC Forestry Centre, Thimphu, p 77Google Scholar
  45. Toledo VM, Carabias J, Mapes C, Toledo C (1985) Ecología y Autosuficiencia Alimentaria. Siglo Veintiuno Editores, MexicoGoogle Scholar
  46. Verhelst T, Tyndale W (2002) Cultures, spirituality, and development. In: Eade D (ed) Development and culture: selected essays from development in practice. Oxfam GB, Oxford, pp 1–24Google Scholar
  47. Wells S (2011) Pandora’s seed: the unforeseen cost of civilization. Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  48. Zimmerer K, Bassett T (2003) Political ecology: an integrative approach to geography and environment development studies. Guilford, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Mountain Institute-IndiaBeow Dr. Dhakals ClinicGangtokIndia
  2. 2.International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)KathmanduNepal

Personalised recommendations