PERENNIAL CROP FOREST: ANOTHER DIMENSION IN THE DRY ZONE
Field Crop Research & Development Institute, Maha Illuppallama
In Sri Lanka a land extent of 1.26 million hectare in dry and intermediate
zones, which had been once utilized for chena cultivation during last
few decades, is presently a concern of agriculture and forestry development
sectors for future production enhancement. Part of this land resource
is marginal and hence restrict the importance for continuous cultivation
of seasonal crops. Reforestation with trees of timber value is a successful
option for these areas, but promotion of such programmes with farmers
participation is difficult since farmers expect only short-term benefits.
Inclusion of fruit trees that can attract farmers for reforestation programmes
would be a better alternative. This can be considered as a multiple landuse
(forest-garden) system. Introduction of perennial crop mulching, micro-level
rainwater harvesting and use of large planting pits with expanded soil
moisture and nutrient reserves can be successfully adopted to protect
young perennial plants from drought damage. This innovation has now brought
the expectation of perennial crop 'forest' system for degraded lands in
the dry zones of Sri Lanka.
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science,
of Sri Jayewardenepura,Sri Lanka. 1995-2000. All rights reserved.