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forest types

forest types

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Published by Rahul Shekdar

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Published by: Rahul Shekdar on Apr 08, 2011
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11/22/2012

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Agriculture remains the primary occupation of the majority of the population in rural India
and is foremost for rural economic growth. An extent of 141 million ha (over 42%) of the
total geographic area is under agriculture. While the Agriculture Policy does not prescribe an
increase in the extent under agriculture, diversions from agriculture in favour of urbanization
are taking place slowly. In the vicinity of larger urban areas, irrigated agricultural lands are
being converted. As the government is committed to increasing agricultural growth from the
present (less than 2%) to about 4% it is likely that farmers’ income will be supplemented by
additional avenues of income particularly from dairies, horticulture, vegetable cultivation, etc.
This is due to the expanding road network in hitherto uncovered rural areas. Increasing area
under irrigation being a priority of the agriculture sector, inclusion of more rainfed areas
under irrigation is expected to offset the loss of irrigated farmlands. The corresponding fall in
net area is also being offset by increasing use of wastelands, technological advances and
increasing investment in suitable production systems in rainfed areas.

With an increasing focus on the development of rainfed areas and diversification of
agricultural practices, economic theory about traditional practices is also becoming
increasingly prevalent. In these circumstances, the prospects of perennial tree-based crops
including agroforestry have a significant future. This is complemented by increasing
government efforts and several initiatives by the private sector for networking with farmers
on production systems related to pulpwood, plywood, biofuels, bamboo, etc. Thus, while
agricultural developments put pressure on forestry in terms of area, they can also reduce
pressure on forests for products; the area supporting perennial tree-based systems could only
add to green cover.

APFSOS II: India

35

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