BENEFITS OF AGROFORESTRY SYSTEM :
a) Environmental benefits :
- Reduction of pressure on natural forests.
- More efficient recycling of nutrients by deep rooted trees on the site
- Better protection of ecological systems
- Reduction of surface run-off, nutrient leaching and soil erosion through impeding effect of tree roots and stems on these processes.
- Improvement of microclimate, such as lowering of soil surface temperature and reduction of evaporation of soil moisture through a combination of mulching and shading.
- Increment in soil nutrients through addition and decomposition of litter fall.
- Improvement of soil structure through the constant addition of organic matter from decomposed litter.
- It is also recognized that Agroforestry is perhaps the only alternative to meeting the target of increasing forest or tree cover to 33 per cent from the present level of less than 25 per cent, as envisaged in the National Forest Policy (1988).
- Agroforestry is known to have the potential to mitigate the climate change effects through microclimate moderation and natural resources conservation in the short run and through carbon sequestration in the long run. Agroforestry species are known to sequester as much carbon in below ground biomass as the primary forests, and far greater than the crop and grass systems.
b) Economic benefits :
- Increment in outputs of food, fuel wood , fodder, fertiliser and timber.
- Reduction in incidence of total crop failure, which is common to single cropping or monoculture systems.
- Increase in levels of farm income due to improved and sustained productivity.
- Agroforestry has significant potential to provide employment to rural and urban population through production, industrial application and value addition ventures. Current estimates show that about 65 % of the country’s timber requirement is met from the trees grown on farms. Agroforestry also generates significant employment opportunities.
C) Social benefits :
- Improvement in rural living standards from sustained employ¬ment and higher income.
- Improvement in nutrition and health due to increased quality and diversity of food outputs.
- Stabilization and improvement of communities through elimination of the need to shift sites of farm activities.