IN UPLAND RAINFED FARMING IN SOUTH EAST DRY ZONE
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
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.
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science,
of Sri Jayewardenepura,Sri Lanka. 1999. All rights reserved.