Productivity of alley farming with the help of Leucaena leucocephala (ipil ipil) and Penniseteum purpurium (napier grass) in rain-fed condition of Potohar, Pakistan

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Research Paper 01/09/2019
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Productivity of alley farming with the help of Leucaena leucocephala (ipil ipil) and Penniseteum purpurium (napier grass) in rain-fed condition of Potohar, Pakistan

Gulnaz Akhtar, Mohammad Umar Farooq, Rukhsana Tariq, Imtiaz Ahmad Qamar, Tahir Zahoor Chohan, Rifat Ullah Khan
Int. J. Biosci.15( 3), 219-228, September 2019.
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The aim of this study is to assess good quality forage, firewood and carbon stock on sustainable basis by agro-forestry intervention with the help of alley cropping on rain fed areas, and to improve the livelihood of the poor farmer at their door steps. The agro-forestry is one of the promising techniques to overcome food shortage problem and to provide the forage, fire and fuel wood supply on sustainable basis to the resilient farmer Rahman et al. (2016). The introduction of alley farming in agro-forestry enhance the biomass productivity, improve soil health, have more ability of conserving water and create balance in atmosphere Baig et al. (2013). The livestock mainly depends on the natural pasture lands not only in the Potohar region but all around Pakistan. The livestock are greatly suffered from insufficient and less nutritive feed during the dry summer and winter months. Therefore, the introduction of alley cropping practice in agro-forestry leguminous trees with nutritious grass species is the only solution for sustainable supply of good quality forages to improve the livelihood of the resilient farmers for their livestock at their door steps.   Alley cropping experiment was conducted in the rain-fed area of Range land Research Institute (RRI), National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), Islamabad. L. leucocephala (iple iple) plant and Pennisteum purpureum (Elephant grass) grass were selected for this study. There were three treatments and three replications in this research study. An area of one ha was selected and divided into four equal parts. There were four lines (contour) of plants and three plots were allocated for grasses. On the contour lines L. leucocephala (iple iple) plants were planted at one foot apart from each other. Space between two contour linesi.e called alley, the grass tufts on (1×1) feet was planted and alley to alley distance was retained to twenty feet. Biomass production for grasses, fodder (leaves), firewoods and their carbon stock were determined after every three month’s interval. Soil samples were collected at the four different depths (0-20, 20-40, 40-60, 60-80 cm) for soil in-organic carbon determination. The study was conducted in Completely Randomized Block Design (CRBD) under field conditions without irrigation and fertilizer. The result indicated that maximum biomass production (kg/ha) of grasses and plants were higher during May-August (Grass: 5.10 kg/ha, Tree: Leaves: 4.8 kg/ha, and fire wood: 5.7 tons/ha). The amount of carbon in grass dry weight was also maximum during May-August, i.e. 0.65 (Mg C ha-1 ).Similarly, in Leucaena leucocephala (iple iple) leaves and firewood  showed that dry weight of leaves contained maximum carbon in May-August 0.57 (Mg C ha-1) and high carbon content in firewood during September-October 0.85 (Mg C ha-1). The data for soil in-organic content showed that as their depth increases from surface i.e. 0 to 80 cm the soil in-organic content also increases gradually with the depth. The soil organic contents were only significant at the depth of 0-20 cm 2.10 (Mg C ha-1) and gradually decreasing as the depth increases from 20 to 80 cm. This study showed maximum biomass production of grasses and trees which can improve the cattle production, firewood/timber shortage issues and significant role of trees in mitigating rampant climate change issues  It can recover the soil fertility status  regarding nitrogen simultaneously, it will provide forage in smallholder farming systems.


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