Agro forestry includes practices that involve a close association of crops and trees, animal and pasture and this helps in environmental conservation because small area can be used to accommodate farming activities that one has planned to conduct such as growing pasture and grazing animals in the same area, this reduce the movement of animals from one area to another hence decrease the rate of soil erosion.
The trees used in agro forestry practices protect and improve the quality of natural resources like forest, water and soil, since people concentrate more on planted trees in their fields hence they won’t be tempted to go and harvest the trees from the natural and reserved forests. This also will substitute itself with the environmental degradation.
Despite the environmental conservation, agro forestry plays its role as it serves peoples’ livelihood, why? Because it generates income, provides food, shelter and structure, medicines and energy to the community. If these can be provided with agro forestry then there will be no temptation for the community to go and harvest the natural forest hence conservation for the present and future generation.
Once people practices agro forest then our natural vegetation will regenerate, maintain and leads to the increase of diversity species and habitats. The problem of soil erosion will be solved by restoration of the degraded soil and improve its fertility, moreover the improvement of seasonal and annually water services, increased rainfall and the improvement of micro climate.
Ruth Ngimba from Igurusi said, ‘agro forestry is to plant three crops in one hole like beans, maize and peas’ By understanding what it means by agro forestry and its benefits, we should educate others to practise it in order to reduce the rate of environmental degradation since land remains as it is while population increases.
Written by Tulizo Malavanu-YET 2011