Home garden is a traditional landuse system practiced by many rural households in the tropical region. The composition and management practices within homegardens are largely driven by cultural setup and ecological conditions. The present study characterized the plant species composition, utility patterns and management of Garo homegardens in Dadenggre block, West Garo Hill district of Meghalaya, India. Fifty households from 5 villages were randomly selected and interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. The homegardens size ranged between 0.07 and 1.29ha, harbouring 132 plant species, out of which 74 species were trees, 19 shrubs and 39 herbs. Among the perennials, Areca catechu (areca nut) was the most common contributor to household earnings. When species were grouped into 9 utility classes (timber, medicinal, fruit, fuelwood, fodder, vegetables, ornamental, spice, and others), highest number was for fuelwood, followed by vegetables and fruits. The average household income was Rs. 318/100m2, the highest contribution from the sale of vegetables. Various home garden management activities were conducted, engaging family members and generating employment for others. Animal rearing is common in many households and the application of animal manure and household waste has helped maintain soil fertility of homegardens’ soils. Homegardens are integral to the Garo society, contributing significantly to household needs and activities.
Income, Landuse, Management, Relative occurrence, Soil fertility
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