Agroforestry: A Holistic Approach for Agricultural Sustainability

  • Abhishek Raj
  • Manoj Kumar Jhariya
  • Dhiraj Kumar Yadav
  • Arnab Banerjee
  • Ram Swaroop Meena


Agroforestry is gaining a higher position and becoming a specialized science with integration of both crops and forestry science. The sustainable land use farming practices are involved in various life forms of plants/trees with livestock on a single piece of land creating more diversification with multiple outputs, enhance biomass productivity, reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) through absorption and fixation and protect the environment through ecosystem services. In modern day, the adoption of agroforestry is continuously rising due to their biophysical, socio-economical, cultural and environmental services in the tropical condition. In the era of climate change, it gives diversifying food and fruits under different type of agroforestry models (AFM) and can solve the food and nutritional problem of the people in society. From the Indian perspective, agroforestry is being practiced about 14 Mha, but if explored properly it has further higher potential to increase the land area under agroforestry. It was found that up to 65.0% of timber and 50.0% of fuelwood come from the agroforestry sector. Therefore, agroforestry has also the potentiality to reduce poverty, increase income generation and provide alternate economic sources. Along with other benefits, the practices of agroforestry are economically viable for the farmers which generate employment. Various choices for farmers are available for adopting different types of AFM integrating numbers of the tree crop with livestock in various agroclimatic zones. Farmers have an option to select AFM as per socio-physical conditions (i.e. land holding, economic condition, climatic condition, resource availability, market economy). Apiculture- and sericulture-based agroforestry is another option for farmers for alleviating poverty and enhancing socio-economic conditions. From the ecological point of view, agroforestry may potentially maintain the soil quality and health which is linked with the fertility of soil and decomposition of soil organic matter. Thus, there is a nexus between soil fertility and crop productivity in various agroforestry systems (AFS). From a research point of view, there is a need for conservation of superior germplasm of agroforestry components along with their proper domestication and utilization. This chapter deals with interrelationship between soil health, productivity under AFS addressing natural resource conservation, food security and livelihood security towards sustainability. Research should be undertaken for maximizing the productivity of trees and crops under agroforestry for continuous benefits to farmers along with environmental protection and ecological security and sustainability.


Agroforestry Ecological security Productivity Soil fertility Sustainability 



Agroforestry system


Agroforestry models




Carbon dioxide


Greenhouse gases


  1. Agboola AG (1982) Organic manuring and green manuring in tropical agricultural production systems. Trans Twelfth Int Congress Soil Sci 1:198–222Google Scholar
  2. Ahmed P (1991) Agroforestry: a viable land use of alkali soils. Agrofor Syst 14(1):23–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Atangana A, Khasa D, Chang S, Degrande A (2014a) Major agroforestry Systems of the Humid Tropics. In: Tropical agroforestry. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 49–93CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Atangana A, Khasa D, Chang S, Degrande A (2014b) Carbon sequestration in agroforestry systems. In: Tropical agroforestry. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 217–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bahiru D, Kang BT, Okali DDU (1988) Effect of pruning intensities of three woody leguminous species grown in alley cropping with maize and cowpea on an alfisol. Agrofor Syst 6:19–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barrios E, Sileshi GW, Shepherd K, Sinclair F (2012) Agroforestry and soil health: linking trees, soil biota and ecosystem services. In: Wall DH et al (eds) Soil ecology and ecosystem services. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 315–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beer J, Ibrahim M, Schlonvoigt A (2000) Timber production in tropical agroforestry systems of Central America, sub-plenary sessions. XXI IUFRO World Congress, Kuala Lumpur, vol 1, pp 777–786Google Scholar
  8. Bellow G, Hudson RF, Nair PKR (2008) Adoption potential of fruit-tree-based agroforestry on small farms in the subtropical highlands. Agrofor Syst 73:23–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bertin C, Yang X, Weston LA (2003) The role of root exudates and allelochemicals in the rhizosphere. Plant Soil 256(1):67–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bhandari DC, Meghwal PR, Lodha S (2014) Horticulture based production systems in Indian Arid regions. In Nandwani D (ed) Sustainable horticultural systems, sustainable development and biodiversity vol 2, pp 19–49. Google Scholar
  11. Bornemisza L (1982) Nitrogen cycling in coffee plantations. In: Robertson GB, Herrera R, Rosswall T (eds) Nitrogen cycling in ecosystems of Latin America and the Caribbean. Nijhoff, The Hague, pp 241–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burford JR, Virmani SM (1983) Improved farming systems for vertisols in semiarid tropics. Annual report. Farming systems research ICRISAT, Hyderabad, pp 17–21Google Scholar
  13. Dadhich RK, Meena RS, Reager ML, Kansotia BC (2015) Response of bio-regulators to yield and quality of Indian mustard (Brassica juncea L. Czernj. and Cosson) under different irrigation environments. J Appl Nat Sci 7(1):52–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Das I, Katiyar P, Raj A (2014) Effects of temperature and relative humidity on Ethephon induced gum exudation in Acacia nilotica. Asian J Multidiscip Stud 2(10):114–116Google Scholar
  15. Datta R, Baraniya D, Wang YF, Kelkar A, Moulick A, Meena RS, Yadav GS, Ceccherini MT, Formanek P (2017) Multi-function role as nutrient and scavenger off free radical in soil. Sustain MDPI 9:402. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. del Rio CR (2012) The role of ecosystems in building climate change resilience and reducing greenhouse gases. In: Ingram J, DeClerck F, Rumbaitisdel Rio C (eds) Integrating ecology and poverty reduction. Springer, New York, pp 331–352Google Scholar
  17. Dhyani SK, Handa AK, Uma (2013) Area under agroforestry in India: an assessment for present status and future perspective. Indian J Agrofor 15(1):1–11Google Scholar
  18. Dollinger J, Jose S (2018) Agroforestry for soil health. Agrofor Syst 92(2):213–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. FAO (2000) Forest resources assessment report. Food and Agriculture Organization, RomeGoogle Scholar
  20. Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) (2007) State of food and agriculture report. FAO Economic and Social Development Department, Corporate Document Repository.
  21. Ganguli BN, Kaul RN, Nambiar TN (1964) Preliminary studies on a few top feed species. Ann Arid Zone 3(2):33–37Google Scholar
  22. Gaspar P, Mesías FJ, Escribano M, Rodriguez de Ledesma A, Pulido F (2007) Economic and management characterization of dehasa farms: implications for their sustainability. Agrofor Syst 71:151–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Guedes BS, Olsson BA, Sitoe AA, Egnell G (2018) Net primary production in plantations of Pinus taeda and Eucalyptus cloeziana compared with a mountain Miombo woodland in Mozambique. Glob Ecol Conserv 15:e00414CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gurumurti K, Raturi DP, Bhandari HCS (1984) Biomass production in energy plantations of Prosopis juliflora. Ind For 110:879–894Google Scholar
  25. Handa AK, Toky OP, Dhyani SK, Chavan SB (2016) Innovative agroforestry for livelihood security in India. World Agric:7–16Google Scholar
  26. Hiwale SS (2004) Technical bulletin on “Develop sustainable Agri-Horti production system under rainfed conditions on marginal lands, pp 1–60Google Scholar
  27. Huang W, Kanninen M, Xu Q, Huang B (1997) Agroforestry in China: present state and future potential. Ambio 26(6):394–398Google Scholar
  28. Huxley PA (1996) Biological factors affecting form and function in woody-non-woody plant mixtures. In: Ong CK, Huxley P (eds) Tree-crop interactions: a physiological approach. CAB International, Wallingford, pp 235–298Google Scholar
  29. IPCC (2015) Energy and climate change: world energy outlook special report, International Energy Agency 9 rue de la Fédération 75739 Paris Cedex 15, France, p 200.
  30. Jhariya MK, Bargali SS, Raj A (2015) Possibilities and perspectives of agroforestry in Chhattisgarh. In: Zlatic M (ed) Precious forests-precious earth. InTech, Croatia, pp 237–257. ISBN: 978-953-1-2175-6, 286 pagesGoogle Scholar
  31. Jhariya MK, Banerjee A, Yadav DK,Raj A (2018a) Leguminous trees an innovative tool for soil sustainability. In: Meena RS, Das A, Yadav GS, Lal R (eds) Legumes for soil health and sustainable management. Springer. ISBN 978-981-13-0253-4 (eBook), ISBN: 978-981-13-0252-7 (Hardcover)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jhariya MK, Yadav DK, Banerjee A (2018b) Plant mediated transformation and habitat restoration: phytoremediation an eco-friendly approach. In: Gautam A, Pathak C (eds) Metallic contamination and its toxicity. Daya Publishing House, A Division of Astral International Pvt. Ltd New Delhi, pp 231–247. ISBN: 9789351248880Google Scholar
  33. Jose S (2009) Agroforestry for ecosystem services and environmental benefits: an overview. Agrofor Syst 76:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. King KFS (1987) The history of agroforestry. In: Steppler H, PKR N (eds) Agroforestry: a decade of development. International Council for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), Nairobi, pp 3–13Google Scholar
  35. Krishnamurthy S (1959) Effect of intercrops on the citrus health. Indian J Hortic 16(4):221–227Google Scholar
  36. Kumar P, Singh RP, Singh AK, Kumar V (2014) Quantification and distribution of agro forestry systems and practices at global level. Hortic Flora Res Spectrum 3(1):1–6Google Scholar
  37. Kumar S, Meena RS, Bohra JS (2018) Interactive effect of sowing dates and nutrient sources on dry matter accumulation of Indian mustard (Brassica juncea L.). J Oilseed Brassica 9(1):72–76Google Scholar
  38. Kuyah S, Oborn I, Jonsson M (2017) Regulating ecosystem services delivered in agroforestry systems. In: Dagar J, Tewari V (eds) Agroforestry. Springer, Singapore, pp 797–815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Laclau JP, Bouillet JP, Gonçalves JLM, Silva EV, Jourdan C, Cunha MCS, Moreira MR, Saint-André L, Maquère V, Nouvellon Y, Ranger J (2008) Mixed-species plantations of Acacia mangium and Eucalyptus grandis in Brazil: 1. Growth dynamics and aboveground net primary production. For Ecol Manag 255(12):3905–3917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Leakey RRB, Simons AJ (1996) The domestication and commercialization of indigenous trees in agroforestry for the alleviation of poverty. Agrofor Syst 38:165–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lim MT (1985) Biomass and biomass relationship of 3.5 year-old open-grown Acacia mangium, Occasional paper 2. Faculty of Forestry, Universiti Pertanian Malaysia, Serdang, p 13Google Scholar
  42. Meena H, Meena RS (2017) Assessment of sowing environments and bio-regulators as adaptation choice for clusterbean productivity in response to current climatic scenario. Bangladesh J Bot 46(1):241–244Google Scholar
  43. Meena HR, Kala S, Mina BL, Meena GL, Kumar A, Singh RK (2015a) Bael: a highly remunerative fruit for Chambal Ravines. Popular Kheti 3(3):57–60Google Scholar
  44. Meena RS, Yadav RS, Reager ML, De N, Meena VS, Verma JP, Verma SK, Kansotia BC (2015b) Temperature use efficiency and yield of groundnut varieties in response to sowing dates and fertility levels in Western Dry Zone of India. Am J Exp Agric 7(3):170–177Google Scholar
  45. Meena RS, Gogaoi N, Kumar S (2017) Alarming issues on agricultural crop production and environmental stresses. J Clean Prod 142:3357–3359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Meena RS, Kumar V, Yadav GS, Mitran T (2018) Response and interaction of Bradyrhizobium japonicum and Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the soybean rhizosphere: a review. Plant Growth Regul 84:207–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mercer D (2004) Adoption of agroforestry innovations in the tropics: a review. Agrofor Syst 61(1–3):311–328Google Scholar
  48. Mishra CM, Srivastava RJ, Singh SL (1986) Pattern of biomass accumulation and productivity of L. leucocephala var K-8 under different spacing. Indian For 112:743–746Google Scholar
  49. Murthy RS, Bhattacharjee TC, Lande RJ, Pofali RM (1982) Distribution, characterization and classification of vertisol. In: 2nd International Congress of Soil Science, New Delhi, 8–16 February 1982, pp 3–22Google Scholar
  50. Naik KC (1963) South Indian fruits and their culture. P Verdachari & Co, MadrasGoogle Scholar
  51. Nair PKR (1993) An introduction to agroforestry. International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Nairobi, p 243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Nair PKR (2012) Carbon sequestration studies in agroforestry systems: a reality-check. Agrofor Syst 86(2):243–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Nair PKR, Garrity D (2012) Agroforestry-the future of global land use. Adv Agrofor 9:531Google Scholar
  54. Nair PKR, Vimala DN, Kumar BM, Showalter JM (2011) Carbon sequestration in agroforestry systems. Adv Agron 108:237–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Oelbermann M, Voroney RP (2011) An evaluation of the century model to predict soil organic carbon: examples from Costa Rica and Canada. Agrofor Syst 82(1):37–50. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Ong CK, Black CR, Muthuri CW (2006) Modifying forests and agroforestry for improved water productivity in the semi-arid tropics. CAB Rev 65:1–19Google Scholar
  57. Pachauri RK (2012) Climate change and agroforestry. In: Nair P, Garrity D (eds) Agroforestry – the future of global land use. Advances in agroforestry, vol 9. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 13–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Pagiola S, Rios AR, Arcenas A (2008) Can the poor participate in payments for environmental services? Lessons from the Silvopastoral project in Nicaragua. Environ Develop Econ 13:299–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Painkra GP, Bhagat PK, Jhariya MK, Yadav DK (2016) Beekeeping for poverty alleviation and livelihood security in Chhattisgarh, India. In: Narain S, Rawat SK (eds) Innovative technology for sustainable agriculture development. Biotech Books, New Delhi, pp 429–453. ISBN: 978-81-7622-375-1Google Scholar
  60. Pearce D, Mourato S (2004) The economic valuation of agroforestry’s environmental services. In: Schroth G, da Fonseca GAB, Harvey CA, Gascon C, Vasconcelos HL, Izac AMN (eds) Agroforestry and biodiversity conservation in tropical landscapes. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp 67–86. ISBN 1559633565Google Scholar
  61. Pound B, Cairo LM (1983) Leucaena: its cultivation and uses. Overseas Development Administration, London, p 287Google Scholar
  62. Raj A (2015a) Gum exudation in Acacia nilotica: effects of temperature and relative humidity. In: Proceedings of the National Expo on Assemblage of Innovative ideas/ work of post graduate agricultural research scholars. Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai, p 151Google Scholar
  63. Raj A (2015b) Evaluation of Gummosis potential using various concentration of Ethephon. M.Sc. thesis, I.G.K.V., Raipur (C.G.), p 89Google Scholar
  64. Raj A, Jhariya MK (2017) Sustainable agriculture with agroforestry: adoption to climate change. In: Kumar PS, Kanwat M, Meena PD, Kumar V, Alone RA (eds) Climate change and sustainable agriculture. New India Publishing Agency (NIPA), New Delhi, pp 287–293. ISBN: 9789-3855-1672-6Google Scholar
  65. Raj A, Singh L (2017) Effects of girth class, injury and seasons on Ethephon induced gum exudation in Acacia nilotica in Chhattisgarh. Ind J Agrofor 19(1):36–41Google Scholar
  66. Raj A, Haokip V, Chandrawanshi S (2015) Acacia nilotica: a multipurpose tree and source of Indian gum Arabic. South Indian J Biol Sci 1(2):66–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Raj A, Jhariya MK, Bargali SS (2016) Bund based agroforestry using eucalyptus species: a review. Curr Agric Res J 4(2):148–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Raj A, Jhariya MK, Bargali SS (2018a) Climate smart agriculture and carbon sequestration. In: Pandey CB, Kumar Gaur M, Goyal RK (eds) Climate change and agroforestry adaptation mitigation and livelihood security. New India Publishing Agency (NIPA), New Delhi, pp 1–19. ISBN: 9789-386546067Google Scholar
  69. Raj A, Jhariya MK, Harne SS (2018b) Threats to biodiversity and conservation strategies. In: Sood KK, Mahajan V (eds) Forests, climate change and biodiversity. Kalyani Publisher, New Delhi, pp 304–320Google Scholar
  70. Ram Newaj, Rai P (2005) Aonla-based agroforestry system: a source of higher income under rainfed conditions. Ind Farming 55:24–27Google Scholar
  71. Riphah US (2015) Global warming: causes, effects and solutions. Durreesamin J 1(4):1–7Google Scholar
  72. Roy A (2011) Requirement of vegetables and fruit. The Daily Star (A English Newspaper). 24/03/2011Google Scholar
  73. Rundel PW, Nilsen HT, Shanii MR, Virginia RA, Jarrell WM, Kohl DH, Shearer GB (1982) Seasonal dynamics of nitrogen cycling for a Prosopis woodland in the Sonoran Desert. Plant Soil 67:343–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Samara JS (2010) Horticulture opportunities in rainfed areas. Indian J Hortic 67(1):1–7Google Scholar
  75. Sampson DA, Wynne RH, Seiler JR (2008) Edaphic and climatic effects on forest stand development, net primary production, and net ecosystem productivity simulated for Coastal Plain loblolly pine in Virginia. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 113:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Sinclair FL (1999) A general classification of agroforestry practice. Agrofor Syst 46(2):161–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Singh RS (1997) Note on the effect of intercropping on growth and yield of ber (Z. mauritiana) in semi-arid region. Curr Agric 21(1–2):117–118Google Scholar
  78. Singh NR, Jhariya MK (2016) Agroforestry and agrihorticulture for higher income and resource conservation. In: Narain S, Rawat SK (eds) Innovative technology for sustainable agriculture development. Biotech Books, New Delhi, pp. 125–145. ISBN: 978-81-7622-375-1Google Scholar
  79. Singh G, Singh NT, Abrol IP (1994) Agroforestry techniques for the rehabilitation of degraded salt-affected lands in India. Land Degrad Develop 5:223–242. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Singh NR, Jhariya MK, Loushambam RS (2014) Performance of soybean and soil properties under poplar based agroforestry system in Tarai Belt of Uttarakhand. Ecol Environ Conserv 20(4):1569–1573Google Scholar
  81. Sridhar KB, Dhyani SK, Kumar S, Dwivedi RP, Singh M, Venkatesh A, Monobrullah Goshal S, Inder Dev, Tewari RK, Singh R, Chavan S, Uthappa AR, Singh R, Tripati VD (2015) A tree with a purpose: Butea monosperma (Lam.) (Improving livelihood of disadvantaged rural people of central India) In: XIV World Forestry Congress, Durban, South Africa, 7–11 September 2015Google Scholar
  82. Swamy SL, Tewari VP (2017) Mitigation and adaptation strategies to climate change through agroforestry practices in the tropics. In: Dagar J, Tewari V (eds) Agroforestry. Springer, Singapore, pp 725–738CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Tewari VP (2016) Some important fruit trees and shrubs of hot arid regions of Rajasthan state in India, their uses and nutritive values. J Plant Chem Ecophysiol 1(1):1004Google Scholar
  84. Toppo P, Raj A, Jhariya MK (2016) Agroforestry systems practiced in Dhamtari district of Chhattisgarh, India. J Appl Nat Sci 8(4):1850–1854CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Udawatta RP, Gantzer CJ, Jose S (2017) Agroforestry practices and soil ecosystem services. In: Soil health and intensification of agroecosytems. Academic, London, pp 205–333. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Van Noordwijk M, Ong CK (1999) Can the ecosystem mimic hypotheses be applied to farms in African savannahs? Agrofor Syst 45:131–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Varma D, Meena RS, Kumar S (2017) Response of mungbean to fertility and lime levels under soil acidity in an alley cropping system in Vindhyan region, India. Int J Chem Stud 5(2):384–389Google Scholar
  88. Verchot LV, van Noordwijk M, Kandji S, Tomich T, Ong C, Albrecht A, Mackensen J, Bantilan C, Palm C (2007) Climate change: linking adaptation and mitigation through agroforestry. Mitig Adap Strateg Glob Chang 12:902–918Google Scholar
  89. Verma SK, Singh SB, Prasad SK, Meena RN, Meena RS (2015) Influence of irrigation regimes and weed management practices on water use and nutrient uptake in wheat (Triticum aestivum L. Emend. Fiori and Paol.). Bangladesh J Bot 44(3):437–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. WAC (World Agro-forestry Centre) (2010) Transforming lives and landscapes, pp 1–5Google Scholar
  91. Wibava G, Joshi L, Van Noordwijk M, Penot E (2006) Rubber-based Agroforestry systems (RAS) as alternatives for rubber monoculture system. IRRDB Conf. World Bank 2004. Sustaining forest: a development strategy. World Bank, Washington, DC. Appendix, 2, A-3Google Scholar
  92. Yadav GS, Babu S, Meena RS, Debnath C, Saha P, Debbaram C, Datta M (2017) Effects of godawariphosgold and single supper phosphate on groundnut (Arachis hypogaea) productivity, phosphorus uptake, phosphorus use efficiency and economics. Indian J Agric Sci 87(9):1165–1169Google Scholar
  93. Yadav GS, Das A, Lal R, Babu S, Meena RS, Saha P, Singh R, Datta M (2018) Energy budget and carbon footprint in a no-till and mulch based rice–mustard cropping system. J Clean Prod 191:144–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Zomer RJ, Bossio DA, Trabucco A, Yuanjie L, Gupta DC, Singh VP (2007) Trees and Water: Smallholder Agroforestry on Irrigated Lands in Northern India, IWMI Research Reports, no. 122. International Water Management Institute, ColomboGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abhishek Raj
    • 1
  • Manoj Kumar Jhariya
    • 2
  • Dhiraj Kumar Yadav
    • 2
  • Arnab Banerjee
    • 3
  • Ram Swaroop Meena
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Forestry, College of AgricultureIndira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (I.G.K.V.)RaipurIndia
  2. 2.Department of Farm ForestrySarguja UniversityAmbikapurIndia
  3. 3.Department of Environmental ScienceSarguja UniversityAmbikapurIndia
  4. 4.Department of Agronomy, Institute of Agricultural SciencesBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

Personalised recommendations