Woodlot farming by smallholder farmers in Ganderbal district of Kashmir, India
Forest degradation and deforestation are serious threats to resource conservation, subsistence livelihoods and rural income diversification. Woodlot farming on farms has been established as a potential option to increase forest resources from agricultural landscapes and remove human pressure from forests. The study investigated the land-use and landholding pattern, woodlots types and species preference and extent of spatial distribution, land allocation and growing stock of woodlots in the Ganderbal district of Kashmir. Multistage random sampling technique was employed to select 349 farm woodlots from 12 sample villages. Secondary sources were used to collect village-level data on land-use and landholding pattern. Primary data concerning the trees were collected through farm woodlot inventories. The data were analyzed using simple descriptive statistics. Results revealed that the total land area in the sample villages is 888.60 ha; 521.60 ha (58.70%) is cultivated land, which is mostly (80.78%) occupied by 1244 marginal farmers. The prevalent woodlots established were plantations of Populus, Salix, Robinia or mixed species. The farm woodlots (61.59 ha) contributed 11.81% of cultivated land and 6.93% of the total geographical area. The average growing stocks of woodlots were estimated to be 204.05 m3/ha for Populus, 191.77 m3/ha for Salix, 109.51 m3/ha for Robinia and 62.31 m3/ha for Mixed. The findings suggested that woodlot farming is the key alternative for forest resource production, livelihood resilience and socioeconomic improvement; hence, the policy must be implicated towards the promotion of woodlot farming by re-orienting the land use through farmer’s motivation and technical, financial and farming input assistance.
Woodlot farming, smallholder, land use, growing stock, Kashmir, India
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