Tree-crop mixed farming is the predominant traditional land use in the Central Himalaya. Knowledge on the effect of lopping the over story of trees on the productivity of under story of intercropped food crops is limited. Five levels of lopping regime (no lopping, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% lopping of branches) were established in a 6-year-old mixed plantation of locally valued multipurpose trees in a village at 1200 m altitude. Wheat(Triticum aestivum L.), mustard (Brassica campestris L.) and lentil (Lens esculenta Moench) were intercropped during winter season, and rice (Oryza sativa L.), foxtail millet (Setaria italica (L.)P. Beauv.) and barnyard millet (Echinochloa frumentaceaLink) during warm rainy season following traditional practices. No lopping resulted in only 16% of estimated photosynthetically active radiation available in full lopping treatments in case of winter crops and 12% incase of rainy season crops. Mean day temperature was lower by 2°C in no lopping treatments as compared to full lopping treatments in both seasons. There were no significant differences in grain and by-product yields between no lopping and 25% lopping, and between 75% and full lopping treatments in all crops, except lentil. For winter crops, grain yields in no lopping treatments were only 16 to 21% of the yields in full lopping treatments compared to 3 to 5% in rainy season crops. By-product yields from winter crops in no lopping treatments were 29 to 32% of the full lopping treatments compared to 6 to 8% in rainy season crops. Farmers frequently practice full lopping during winter season. This study shows that loss of crop yields may not be significant if 25% of branches are retained.
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Semwal, R., Maikhuri, R., Rao, K. et al. Crop productivity under differently lopped canopies of multipurpose trees in Central Himalaya, India. Agroforestry Systems 56, 57–63 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1021189113673
- Photosynthetically active radiation
- Traditional practices