SUSTAINABLE AGROFORESTRY SYSTEMS AND THEIR STRUCTURAL COMPONENTS AS LIVELIHOOD OPTIONS ALONG ELEVATION GRADIENT IN CENTRAL HIMALAYA
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Sustainable agroforestry systems and their structural components as livelihood options along elevation gradient in central Himalaya

 

Himalayan ecosystems are complex, with fragile environment, rugged terrain, unique topography and sensitive to regional and global changes. This region harbours a variety of agricultural practices out of which traditional agroforestry systems are of paramount importance with regard to sustainability and livelihood. In the central Himalayan region, four major traditional agroforestry systems were observed; agrisilviculture (AS), agrihorticulture (AH), agrihortisilviculture (AHS) and agrisilvihorticulture (ASH). System units in each system varied from 8 to 24 and they also differed along the elevation. Likewise, structural components varied in the systems as well as along the elevation. These systems have evolved over long periods of time as farmers have grown the trees and crop combinations for generations. These systems fulfill diverse needs for food, fodder, fruit and timber for the inhabitants of the mountains and provide a backbone to the hill economy and livelihood security for local people.

Keywords: Agroforestry systems, elevation, Himalaya, livelihood, sustainability, structural components

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