Integrated bamboo + pine homegardens: A unique agroforestry system in Ziro Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, India

Abstract Numerous “indigenous” and “traditional” land-use systems that exist in different parts of the world have not yet been properly documented. Considering that many agroforestry systems of today have evolved from such systems, it is important to understand the wisdom of the indigenous communities that have continually been experimenting in their own ways to improve and adapt them for their livelihood. The Apatani eco-cultural landscape in Ziro Valley of Arunachal Pradesh, northeast India signifies an excellent example of such a uniquely distinct natural resource management practice. This agroforestry system developed over the years by innovative efforts involves growing bamboo (Phyllostachys bambusoides Siebold & Zucc.) or pine (Pinus wallichiana A.B. Jacks.) or a mixture of both on their fields. The Apatani is the only tribes in the states that manages such a unique land-use system and are highly conscious of maintaining their heritage and commitment to safeguarding nature and natural resources. By enhancing livelihood security and quality of life, conserving ecosystems, and fostering economic growth, this farmer-developed indigenous agroforestry system stands out as an example of ecosystem protection and natural-resource conservation in Arunachal Pradesh where resource-depleting shifting cultivation is still the mainstay of livelihood. Scientific analyses of the experience gained from this system – could offer lessons of valuable traditional ecological knowledge, which when properly assimilated could be useful in the design of sustainable agroforestry land-use systems.

Keywords Apatani tribe, Eco-cultural landscape, Eastern Himalaya, Indigenous systems, Resource conservation, Traditional ecological knowledge.

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