Ecosystem Services of Trees Outside Forest

  • Sumit Chakravarty
  • Nazir A. Pala
  • Bisleshna Tamang
  • Biplov C. Sarkar
  • Manohar K Abha 
  • Prakash Rai
  • Anju Puri
  • Vineeta
  • Gopal Shukla


Trees or other woody vegetation growing outside designated forest areas are known as trees outside forest (TOFs). These trees have many ecosystem services and economic benefits like their potential role in agriculture, food supply and income by providing goods and services, conservation of biodiversity and carbon (C) sequestration. They can improve soil fertility through fixing atmospheric nitrogen, retaining soil moisture, regulating water shed, reducing topsoil loss and litter fall and regulating microclimate, thus increasing crop yield. In addition to providing aesthetic beauty especially to urban surroundings, they are pollutant sink, reduce ozone levels, check dust flow, reduce noise pollution and cools air temperature. Most importantly, these trees are useful timber resources and will alleviate pressure on native forests. Forest and TOF are thus considered as two faces of a coin in relation to their capacity for C stock and biodiversity. Substantial amount of trees are going on lands other than forest land used in every country with a potential of sequestering about 38 giga tonnes of C annually. In India, for example, there are about 24–25 thousand million TOFs, out of which trees in agricultural landscape in Indian state of Uttar Pradesh only sequester 20 million tonnes of C. The C sequestration potential of the TOFs is thus enormous to be included in global climate mitigation strategy through reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) activities. Moreover, as these are additional plantations, so are they complementary with other land uses in mitigating climate change. Unfortunately, due to absence of efficient inventory methods, TOFs are still not accounted fully in the national forest inventories, due to which very less or no information are available for TOFs. Accounting TOF and its services will not only help to understand its importance for national C budget but also its ecological and economic role benefiting human society.


Biomass Climate change Diversity Ecosystem services Tree outside forest 



Clean development mechanism




Carbon dioxide


Food and Agricultural Organization


Forest Survey of India


National Forest Inventory


National Forest Monitoring and Assessment


Trees outside forest


Reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sumit Chakravarty
    • 1
  • Nazir A. Pala
    • 1
  • Bisleshna Tamang
    • 1
  • Biplov C. Sarkar
    • 1
  • Manohar K Abha 
    • 1
  • Prakash Rai
    • 1
  • Anju Puri
    • 2
  • Vineeta
    • 1
  • Gopal Shukla
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ForestryUttar Banga Krishi ViswavidyalayaPundibariIndia
  2. 2.Baring Union Christian CollegeBatalaIndia

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