Agroforestry for Ecological Restoration of Salt-Affected Lands

  • S. R. Gupta
  • J. C. Dagar


Nearly, 1 billion hectares of arid and semiarid areas of the world are salt-affected and remain barren due to salinity or water scarcity. In India, about 6.75 Mha lands are either sodic or saline; 6.41 Mha land is degraded due to waterlogging. Secondary salinization and waterlogging are on the increase in the canal-irrigated as well as nonirrigated areas. The critical ecosystem services such as the maintenance of soil fertility, carbon sequestration, biomass production, and the regulation of soil water flows are essential for restoration of salt lands. Studies have shown that salt-affected lands can be restored satisfactorily by using appropriate planting techniques and integrating trees with crops, forage grasses, oil-yielding crops, aromatic and medicinal crops, and flower-yielding crops. Biodrainage has been found to be effective in controlling waterlogging and salinity in irrigated canal command areas. The salt-tolerant tree species reclaim salt lands, along with the increase in the size of carbon sink in the plant-soil system and improving soil microbial activity. The integration of salt-tolerant trees with naturally growing grasses is a viable land use option for improving the biological productivity and fertility of highly sodic soils. The soil microbial biomass has been found to be a useful indicator of soil degradation and improvement under salt stress. Biosaline agroforestry has the potential to address climate change mitigation and adaptation needs on salt-affected soils. Agroforestry practices increase soil carbon storage, potentially reduce nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) emissions, and help maintain production at landscape level. Implementing practices to build up soil carbon stocks could lead to considerable mitigation, adaptation, and development benefits. This paper gives an overview of agroforestry systems of salt-affected and waterlogged areas, carbon sequestration, and the role of agroforestry in climate change mitigation.


Soil Organic Carbon Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Carbon Sequestration Agroforestry System Exchangeable Sodium Percentage 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Financial support to Dr J.C. Dagar, Emeritus Scientist, CSSRI, Karnal, from Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi, India, is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks to Professor Narender Singh, Chairperson Department of Botany, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra, for providing necessary facilities in the department to SRG.


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© Springer India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyKurukshetra UniversityKurukshetraIndia
  2. 2.ICAR-Central Soil Salinity Research InstituteKarnalIndia

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