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  FORESTRY SYMPOSIUM 1995

FORESTRY IN UPLAND RAINFED FARMING IN SOUTH EAST DRY ZONE

J Handawela

Upland farmers who now farm their rainfed land almost on a settled basis pay little attention to forestry. This is because in traditional upland rainfed farming, forestry was an integral component in the form of forest fallow which met the forestry needs of the environment and of the farmer. That there has been little extension in forestry could be another reason.

Forestry is now being promoted under a project on stabilisation of rainfed farming. Farm holdings of individual farmers are treated as management entities. A farmer is enlightened on the value of forestry practises. His land is divided into four functional divisions: 1) Around the house where trees are needed for shade 2) Along the periphery where a live hedge can keep off stray cattle and goats 3) Bad land if any could best be conserved with permanent vegetation 4) Cropland where agroforestry trees can help agriculture.

The fear that Gliricidia is a soil degrading plant has been allayed. Farmers have been made to understand that it is necessary to be self supporting in forestry products as well as in crop farming. Towards this end technology is being imparted on nursery management. Many have already learned the art of raising seedling of Teak, Halmilla, Margosa and Wood apple, budding and grafting of Mango, Citrus, etc., Gooty layering of Pomegranate and Lime, and propagation of Thumba with root cuttings. Farmers now appreciate that scrub species like Katupila and Andara can be used as boundary hedge plants by not cutting them down.

Tree planting in the land is based on the functional requirements in the four functional land divisions mentioned above.


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