Traditional agroforests, as one of the integrated approaches to environmental conservation has been considered as a superior system that permits significant and ecological interaction between the woody and non woody components. These traditional systems have been widely practiced by the people of Northeast India since time immemorial. A study has been conducted among three communities viz., Kalita (Assam) and Nyishi and Apatani (Arunachal Pradesh) of Northeast India to understand the structure, economy, soil quality and management aspects of traditional agroforestry systems. The study revealed that the systems have the potential to preserve the plant and animal diversity in different climatic zones of the region. Different plant species grown in these multistoried agroforestry systems are confounded by the livelihood requirements and traditional knowledge. The most prevalent agroforestry systems in Northeast India observed during the study are Agri-horti-silvi-pisciculture, Agri-horti-silviculture and Horti-silvi-pastoral systems. The systems have also been categorized on the basis of economic output viz., Subsistence-based agroforestry system, Semi-commercial agroforestry system and Commercial agroforestry system. Species composition of the traditional agroforestry systems also varied with residue management, soil and climate of the sites. The soil nutrient status of Agri-horti-silvi-pastoral systems shows more favourable soil physical, chemical and biological properties in comparison to other agroforestry systems. An understanding of indigenous practices, therefore, offers excellent opportunities for finding solutions to the problems of self reliance in agricultural development of the region.
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- Traditional Agroforestry Systems of Northeast India