Advertisement

Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 31–50 | Cite as

Soil erosion under a successional agroforestry sequence: a case study from Idukki District, Kerala, India

  • M. Moench
Article

Abstract

The Western Ghats of Kerala have been settled over the past 40 years by landless immigrants. Natural forests and cardamom (planted under forest canopy) have been widely replaced by small-holder cultivation. Settlers plant cassava and other annuals in the initial 3–5 years following clearing of the forest canopy. These crops are gradually replaced by black pepper, the dominant crop 5–15 years after clearing. Finally, other perennial crops, planted during the period when pepper was dominant, mature. A highly mixed “home garden” cropping phase is most common on sites 15–20 years after the forest canopy was removed. Soil erosion on sites cleared 1–3 years previously averaged 120 t/ha in the 1988 monsoon season. Over the same period, soil erosion under mature cardamom, pepper and mixed cultivation averaged 0.65, 3.5, and 1.45 t/ha respectively. Erosion levels appear to be related to cover at ground and intermediate (1–4 m) heights above the surface. Soil organic matter is high in the cardamom areas, declines rapidly when the forest canopy is cleared, remains low in pepper, and appears to rebuild to levels as more mixed agroforestry systems become established. Overall, there appears to be a succession in which high erosion and declining organic matter levels are temporary features associated with the conversion of sites from forests and cardamom to other phases.

Key words

homegarden erosion succession South India deforestation vegetative cover 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alexander TG, Sobhana K, Balagopalan M, Mary MV (1980) Taungya in Relation to Soil Properties Soil Erosion and Soil Management. Kerala Forest Research Institute Research Report #4, Peechi, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  2. Alexander TG and Balagopalan M (1980) Soil Changes in Attappadi Area in Relation to Man-Forest Interaction. Mimeo, authors adaptation of “Chapter Six” on “Soil Changes” in Kerala Forest Research Institute Research Report 5, pp 181–204. Peechi, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen BJ (1989) Dynamics of fallow successions and introduction of robusta coffee in shifting cultivation areas in the lowlands of Papua New Guinea. In: Nair PKR, ed, Agroforestry Systems in the Tropics, pp 278–290. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  4. Allen JC (1984) Soil response to forest clearing in the United States and the tropics: geological and biological factors. Biotropica 17(1): 15–27Google Scholar
  5. C.W.R.D.M. (1988) Studies on Sediment Yield from Watersheds of Western Ghat Region. Centre for Water Resources Development and Management, Kozhikode, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  6. Christanty L, Sukandar H and Hadikusumah HY (1985) The homegarden potentials in contributing to the diet and income of people in transmigration areas of Lampung and in transmigrants origin villages in Java. In: Sajise PE and Rambo AT, eds, Agroecosystem Research in Rural Resource Management and Development, pp 56–76. Program on Environmental Science and Management, University of the Philippines, Los Banos and Southeast Asian University Agroecosystem NetworkGoogle Scholar
  7. Godoy R and Bennett C (1989) Diversification among coffee smallholders in ther highlands of South Sumatra, Indonesia. Human Ecology 16(4): 397–420Google Scholar
  8. Government of Kerala (1982) Status Paper, Idukki District. District Planning Office, Idukki, Kerala, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  9. Government of Kerala (1984) Land use Plan for Idukki District. Government press, Trivandrum, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  10. Greenland DJ and Lal R (1977) Soil erosion in the humid tropics: the need for action and the need for research. In: Greenland and Lal, eds, Soil Conservation and Management in the Humid Tropics, pp 261–265. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  11. Hamilton LS and Pearce AJ (1985) What are the soil and water benefits of planting trees in developing country watersheds. Working paper, Environment and Policy Institute, East-West Center, Honolulu, USAGoogle Scholar
  12. Hudson NW (1977) The factors determining the extent of soil erosion. In: Greenland and Lal, eds, Soil Conservation and Management in the Humid Tropics, pp 11–16. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  13. James EJ, Pradeepkumar PK, Rangana G, Nayak IV and Ravi TB (1987) Studies on the hydrolic processes in the forest drainage basins of the Western Ghats of India. In: Forest Hydrology and Watershed Management, proceedings of the Vancouver Symposium, August, 1987, pp 223–229. IAHS-AISH publication no 167, Vancouver, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  14. Kandiah A (1979) Influence of soil properties and crop cover on the erodibility of soils. In: Lal R and Greenland DJ, eds, Soil Physical Properties and Crop Production in the Tropics pp 474–497. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  15. Lal R (1979a) Modification of soil fertility characteristics by management of soil physical properties. In: Lal R and Greenland DJ, eds, Soil Physical Properties and Crop Production in the Tropics, pp 397–405. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  16. Lal R (1979b) Effects of cultural and harvesting practices on soil physical conditions. In: Mongi HO and Huxley PA, eds, Soils Research in Agroforestry, pp 327–351. ICRAF, Nairobi, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  17. Mary F and Michon G (1987) When agroforests drive back natural forests: a socioeconomic analysis of a rice-agroforest system in Sumatra. Agroforestry Systems 5: 27–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Moench MH (1990) From Forest to Agroforest: Land-use Dynamics and Crop Successions in the Western Ghats of Kerala, South India. Phd Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley, USAGoogle Scholar
  19. N.R.S.A. (1983) Report on Environmental Studies Through Remote Sensing and Mapping of Idukki Area in Kerala. National Remote Sensing Agency, Government of India, Hyderabad, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  20. Nair CTS (1984) Land use conflicts in the catchment of Idukki reservoir: their implications on erosion and slope stability. In: O'Loughlin CL and Pearce AJ, eds, Symposium on Effects of Forest Land use on Erosion and Slope Stability, pp 47–53. Environment and Policy Institute, East-West Center, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, USAGoogle Scholar
  21. Nair PKR (1984) Soil Productivity Aspects of Agroforestry. International Council for Research in Agroforestry, Nairobi, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  22. Nair PKR (1989) The role of trees in soil productivity and protection. In: Nair PKR, ed, Agroforestry Systems in the Tropics, pp 567–589. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  23. Okigbo BN and Lal R (1979) Soil fertility maintenance and conservation for improved agroforestry systems in the lowland humid tropics. In: Mongi HO and Huxley PA, eds, Soils Research in Agroforestry, pp 41–77. ICRAF, Nairobi, KenyaGoogle Scholar
  24. Pearce AJ and Hamilton L (1986) Water and Soil Conservation Guidelines for Land use Planning. Report of a Seminar-Workshop on Watershed Land use Planning, 5–16 May 1985, Forestry Training Center, Gympie, Queensland, Australia. Sponsored by the Environment and Policy Institute, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii; the FAO; and the Queensland Department of ForestryGoogle Scholar
  25. Siebert SF (1987) Land use intensification in tropical uplands: effects on vegetation, soil fertility and erosion. Forest Ecology and Management 12: 37–56.Google Scholar
  26. Stocking MA (1986) Measuring land degradation. In: Blaikie P and Brookfield H, eds, Land Degradation and Society, pp 49–63. Methuen, London, EnglandGoogle Scholar
  27. Stocking MA and Peake L (1986) Crop yield losses from the erosion of Alfisols. Tropical Agriculture (Trinidad), 63(1): 41–45Google Scholar
  28. Wiersum KF (1984) Surface erosion under various tropical agroforestry systems. In: O'Loughlin CL and Pearce AJ, eds, Symposium on Effects of Forest Land use on Erosion and Slope Stability, pp 231–239. Environment and Policy Institute, East-West Center, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, USAGoogle Scholar
  29. Wiersum KF (1985) Effects of various vegetation layers in an Acacia auriculiformis plantation on surface erosion in Java, Indonesia. In: El-Swafy, Moldenhaur and Lo A, eds, Soil Erosion and Conservation, pp 79–89. Soil Conserv. Soc. Am., Ankeny, Iowa, USAGoogle Scholar
  30. Young A (1989) Agroforestry for Soil Conservation. CAB International, EnglandGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Moench
    • 1
  1. 1.The Pacific InstituteBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations