Synthesis and Way Forward: Agroforestry for Waterlogged Saline Soils and Poor-quality Waters
The development of salt-affected soils has been considered to be an adjunct of irrigated agriculture since time immemorial. The social, economic, and environmental costs being high for the on- and off-farm reclamation techniques, agroforestry is now emerging as a potential tool not only for arresting salinity but also for other environmental services like adaptation to climate change, sequestration of carbon, and restoration of biodiversity. Recent research and developmental efforts, though experimentally in small plots or under microsite conditions in catchments, have demonstrated that trees can be successfully established through appropriate site preparation, careful species selection, post-planting care especially during the earlier and other critical stages of development. The multienterprise models involving the integration of agroforestry with other enterprises like fisheries/dairying should improve productivity vis-à-vis income generation. Special commitment would be required by governments on the insurance, legal, and institutional arrangements and also the collaboration between ecologists and land managers for the large-scale promotion of agroforestry on salt-degraded lands.