Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 13–31 | Cite as

Effects of agroforestry-pasture associations on groundwater level and salinity

  • M. A. Bari
  • N. J. Schofield


Stream and land salinisation brought about by rising groundwater levels due to the clearing of native forest for agricultural development is a major environmental and resource problem in Western Australia and several other semi-arid regions of the world. One potential approach to reclamation with simultaneous economic benefits is agroforestry. To determine the effects of agroforestry on groundwater level and salinity, two experiments were carried out in Western Australia. In Experiment I a pinius-pasture agroforestry covering 58% of the cleared area with final stem densities of 75–225 stems ha−1 was successful in lowering a saline groundwater table. Over the period 1979–1989, groundwater levels decliend by 1.0 m relative to groundwater levels beneath a nearby pasture site. In Experiment II the eucalyptus-pasture agroforestry covering 57% of farmland at a final density of 150–625 stems ha−1 was found to successfully lower the yearly minimum groundwater level by 2.0 m relative to a pasture site over seven years. The salinity of the groundwater beneath agroforestry decreased by 9% and 6% for Experiments I and II respectively, which was contrary to some early expectations. The design of agroforestry for controlling saline groundwater tables needs further evaluation with respect to species, stem densities and proportion of cleared area planted.

Key words

agroforestry groundwater salinity reforestation Pinus radiata Eucalyptus 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. A. Bari
    • 1
  • N. J. Schofield
    • 1
  1. 1.Water Authority of Western AustraliaLeedervilleW. AustraliaW. Australia

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