, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 111-123

Live fencing practices in the tribal dominated eastern ghats of India

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Live fencing, an age old and traditional agroforestry practice, remains relatively less understood and least documented at least in India. Exploratory surveys conducted in the northern part of the Eastern ghat region of India covering five districts of three states (Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Chhatisgarh), indicated that traditional farmers have vast knowledge about their live fencing practices and the species used. Two groups of species were observed on the fence. The first group of thirty three species were used primarily for protection and denoted as fence species. Together, they also provide 22 other products and services. The second group of species maintained on the fences for production purposes include five fruit trees, fifteen other trees and two climbers. The fencing practices were classified into two groups (single species and multiple species live fence systems) depending on the species used and into three groups (live fencing around field crops, around backyards or homesteads and around orchards/plantations) depending on the landscapes being protected. Only 20% of fences were dominated by single species; the rest were under multiple species.Ninety percent of house backyards were fenced, whereas only one percent of crop fields and seventy percent orchards were fenced. Some promising fence species of this region are Acacia caesia, A concinna, A. nilotica, Agave sisalana, Annona squamosa, Borassus flabellifer, Carissa carandus, Lawsonia inermis and Murraya koenigii