Alternate Land-Use Systems or Sustainable Development

  • Shrikant Hiwale


The work was carried out to develop sustainable agri-silvi-horti production system of marginal lands. Aonla-based cropping system was found to be best suited for the rainfed areas of western India with maximum income, production, income generation, and improvement in soil fertility status.

Aonla with arable crops like Sesamum and maize are found to be the highest in production, LER (1.71), net return (Rs. 68,715/-), and B: C ratio of 7.92, respectively. Aonla + maize was found to be the most suitable for the semiarid area as maize is a traditional crop of the farmers of the region and also provides fodder for their cattle. Therefore, though the income is low, the technology is well adopted by the farmers. Adaptability of aonla is clearly established as despite the prevalent drought-like situation yield up to 55 q/ha. Was obtained followed by custard apple-based cropping system. There was overall improvement in soil health.

Increased growth and biomass production recorded in Neem + fodder jowar was the best. The system also resulted in improvement in soil fertility status. Agri-horti production system was found to be highly remunerative and the income started from 2 to 3 years of plantation.

Bioassay studies carried out with four tree species and nine test crops revealed that generally Neem was found to have a suppressing effect on most of the growth parameters, whereas fruit tree species of custard apple and aonla were found to have beneficial effect.

Studies on leaf litter fall and decomposition revealed that aonla produced the highest leaf litter than all the fruit tree species, whereas in silvicultural species, subabul was found to produce the highest leaf litter. Large amounts of nutrients were recycled by subabul followed by aonla.

Studies on soil moisture content carried out with the help of TDR meter at CHES, Godhra, indicated that during crop growth period, the moisture content in subabul soils was least and was maximum in custard apple moisture content in different system (5–17 %).

Staggered contour trench planting was found to be the best for reducing runoff and soil loss effectively. Runoff and soil loss was higher in custard apple and Neem; comparatively less runoff and soil loss was recorded in aonla.

Incidental PAR and higher LAI of the cropping system resulted in higher dry matter production and conversion coefficient. Maximum LAI, dry matter production, and conversion coefficient were recorded in subabul indicating that silvicultural species have more carbon accumulation than fruit tree species, where fruits act as vigorous sink for carbohydrates.

Root distribution studies carried out by excavation method revealed that maximum root biomass and aboveground biomass was recorded in subabul. Aonla produced maximum root depth and in Neem maximum horizontal root spread. Maximum root to crown spread ratio was recorded in subabul. Custard apple has very small but efficient root system both by weight and by spread. All the tree species have root system, which is within the canopy of the tree and hence will not interfere with the intercrops, and thus the competition between the species for water and nutrients reduced.

Studies on quality of charcoal produced by tree species revealed that the wood specific gravity was maximum in Neem. Percent charcoal production was highest in custard apple. Charcoal produced from aonla took maximum time to burn. Maximum ash was produced by 1 kg aonla charcoal. Though maximum percent charcoal was produced by custard apple, the amount of charcoal produced is very less compared to other tree species.

Sustainable resource management through horticulture-based farming systems attempted to demonstrate an ideal model for production utilization of resource-poor situations in semiarid areas of western India. Rainwater stored and recharged in down profile of the gullies is being utilized for life-saving irrigation at critical crop growth stages and also for establishment of new plantations. The tree component adds leaf litter to the soil, helping in recycling of the nutrients back to the soil. Apart from this, trees helped in reducing runoff losses and thereby soil erosion. The system has given higher economic return as compared to traditional system of maize + pigeon pea.


Tree Species Leaf Litter Soil Loss Marginal Land Leaf Litter Decomposition 
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Copyright information

© Springer India 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shrikant Hiwale
    • 1
  1. 1.Fruit CropsCentral Horticultural Experiment StationVejalpurIndia

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