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18 Mar, 2021

36 Min Read

What is Agro Forestry?

GS-I : Indian Geography Agroforestry

What is Agro Forestry?

Agroforestry is a collective name for land-use systems involving trees combined with crops and/or animals on the same unit of land. It combines

  1. Production of multiple outputs with protection of the resource base;
  2. Places emphasis on the use of multiple indigenous trees and shrubs;
  3. Particularly suitable for low-input conditions and fragile environments;
  4. It involves the interplay of socio-cultural values more than in most other land-use systems; and
  5. It is structurally and functionally more complex than monoculture.


  1. Agroforestry is any sustainable land-use system that maintains or increases total yields by combining food crops (annuals) with tree crops (perennials) and/or livestock on the same unit of land, either alternately or at the same time, using management practices that suit the social and cultural characteristics of the local people and the economic and eco­logical conditions of the area.
  2. Agroforestry is a collective name for a land-use system and technology whereby woody perennials are deliberately used on the same land management unit as agricultural crops and/or animals in some form of spatial arrangement or temporal sequence. In an agroforestry system there are both ecological and economical interactions between the various components.

The difference with Social Forestry

  • Social forestry is defined as “Forestry outside the conventional forests which primarily aim at providing a continuous flow of goods and services for the benefit of people. This definition implies that the production of forest goods for the needs of the local people is Social forestry. Thus, social forestry aims at growing forests of the choice of the local population.
  • Shah (1985) stated that Conceptually Social forestry deals with poor people to produce goods such as fuel, fodder etc. to meet the needs of the local community, particularly the underprivileged section.


A) Environmental benefits

    1. Reduction of pressure on natural forests.
  1. ii More efficient recycling of nutrients by deep-rooted trees on the site
    1. Better protection of ecological systems
    2. Reduction of surface run-off, nutrient leaching and soil erosion through impeding effect of tree roots and stems on these processes
    3. Improvement of microclimates, such as lowering of soil surface temperature and reduction of the evaporation of soil moisture through a combination of mulching and shading
    4. Increment in soil nutrients through addition and decomposition of litterfall.
    5. Improvement of soil structure through the constant addition of organic matter from decomposed litter.

B) Economic benefits

  • Increment in the outputs of food, fuel wood, fodder, fertiliser and timber;
  • Reduction in the incidence of total crop failure, which is common to single cropping or monoculture systems
  • Increase in levels of farm income due to improved and sustained productivity

C) Social benefits

  • Improvement in rural living standards from sustained employ­ment and higher income
  • Improvement in nutrition and health due to increased quality and diversity of food outputs
  • Stabilization and improvement of communities through the elimination of the need to shift sites of farm activities.

Sub Mission on Agroforestry (Har Medh Par Ped) Scheme

  • Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (Har Medh Par Ped) Scheme was launched in 2016-17 to encourage tree plantation on farmland along with crops/ cropping system to help the farmers get additional income and make their farming systems more climate resilient and adaptive.
  • The scheme is being implemented in 20 States viz. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, M.P., Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, U.P., Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland and 2 UTs viz. J&K and Ladakh with funding pattern of 60:40 between Centre and State Govt. for all States excepting NE & Hilly states, where it is 90:10 and 100% in case of UTs & National Level Agencies.
  • Under the scheme, assistance to farmers is given through State Govt. for nursery development, boundary plantation and block plantation of prominent tree species to promote, inter-alia, fruits bearing tree borne oilseeds, medicinal & aromatic plants, silk & lac rearing host plants, in addition to timber species, so that farmers get early returns.
  • In the case of the promotion of horticulture and orchards, the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme is being implemented w.e.f. 2014-15, for holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew, cocoa and bamboo. All States and UTs are covered under MIDH.

Source: PIB

The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)

GS-II : International treaties and conventions Climate Change

The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)


  • The idea behind the CDRI was announced by Mr Modi in 2016 at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR).
  • The CDRI was launched by Prime Minister Modi in September 2019 at the UN Climate Action Summit.
  • There, he declared India’s intention to work with partner countries and important stakeholders to create a coalition to work towards the ambition of improving the disaster resilience of infrastructure.

What is CDRI?

  • The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) is a partnership of national governments, UN agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, and knowledge institutions.
  • Its Secretariat is in New Delhi.
  • It is a platform for knowledge generation and exchange and will also develop country-specific as well as global plans.
  • CDRI will give member countries technical support and capacity development, research and knowledge management, and advocacy and partnerships to enable and boost investment in disaster-resilient infrastructure systems.
  • It aims to promote the resilience of new and existing infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks in support of sustainable development.
  • CDRI promotes rapid development of resilient infrastructure to respond to the Sustainable Development Goals’ imperatives of expanding universal access to basic services, enabling prosperity and decent work.

The following are CRDI’s strategic priorities:

  • Technical Support and Capacity-building: This includes disaster response and recovery support; innovation, institutional and community capacity-building assistance; and standards and certification.
  • Research and Knowledge Management: This includes collaborative research; global flagship reports; and a global database of infrastructure and sector resilience.
  • Advocacy and Partnerships: This includes global events and initiatives; marketplace of knowledge financing and implementation agencies; and dissemination of knowledge products.

CDRI Funding

  • A major part of the funding required to cover costs for the first five years has been provided by India.
  • The members are not obliged to make any financial contributions to the coalition.
  • However, they can voluntarily contribute financially or in other ways such as assigning experts to the CDRI Secretariat, hosting meetings and workshops and travel support.

Members of CDRI

  • Afghanistan, Australia, Argentina, Bhutan, Chili, Fiji, France, Germany, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, Peru, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States of America.
  • Partner organisations of the CDRI: Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank Group, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), ARISE, The Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies and Coalition for Climate Resilient Investment.

Source: PIB

World Air Quality Report, 2020

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Air Pollution

World Air Quality Report, 2020

IQ Air, a Swiss air quality technology company released a report titled “World Air Quality Report, 2020”.

About World Air Quality Report:

  • World Air Quality is an annual report.
  • The report is based on PM2.5 data.
  • It is from 106 countries based on data from ground-based monitoring stations.

Key Findings Related to India

  • India is home to 35 of the world’s 50 most polluted cities in the World.
  • Delhi has gotten listed as the 10th most polluted city and the top polluted capital city in the world in 2020.
  • India ranked as the world’s 3rd most polluted country in 2020 after Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • However, India has improved its average annual PM2.5 levels in 2020 than in 2019.

Other Global Findings:

  • The topmost polluted city in the world is Xinjiang in China, followed by Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Source: TH

Proposal for Setting up of “Development Finance Institution Approved

GS-III : Economic Issues Investment Models

Proposal for Setting up of “Development Finance Institution Approved

The Union Cabinet approved a bill to set up a Development Finance Institution(DFI). It will be called National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID).

About National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID):

  • Initially, the Government of India will own it with a 100% stake.
  • They will gradually bring it down to 26% in a few years.
  • It will provide finance for social and economic infrastructure projects identified under the National Infrastructure Pipeline(NIP).
  • A professional board with at least 50% of the members as non-official directors.
  • The capital infusion by the Government will be Rs 20,000 crore with an initial grant of Rs 5,000 crore.
  • It is later expected to raise around Rs 3 lakh crore in the next few years by Market funds.
  • The government will provide a 10-year tax exemption to funds invested in the DFI.

What is a Development Finance Institution(DFI)?

  • DFI is an agency that finances infrastructure projects of national importance.
  • These agencies are government-owned.
  • Their borrowings enjoy government guarantees which help bring down the cost of funding.
  • The first DFI in India was the Industrial Financial Corporation of India(IFC).
  • It got launched in 1948.

Source: TH

Rule Curve of a Dam

GS-III : Economic Issues Terminology

Rule Curve of a Dam

The Supreme Court ordered the Tamil Nadu govt. to give information on the ‘rule curve’ for the Mullaperiyar dam.

What is Rule Curve?

  • The ‘rule curve’ in a dam decides the fluctuating storage levels in a reservoir.
  • The gate opening schedule of a dam is based on the ‘rule curve’. It is part of the “core safety” mechanism in a dam.
  • Rules curves are used to guarantee the safety of the reservoir as well as water security.

About Mullaperiyar Dam:

  • The Mullaperiyar dam is located on the confluence of the Mullayar and Periyar rivers in Kerala’s Idukki district.
  • The dam is located on the Cardamom Hills of the Western Ghats
  • It is operated and maintained by the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu even though, the dam is located in Kerala.
  • The dam is operated by Tamil Nadu following an 1886 lease agreement for 999 years.
    • It was signed between the Maharaja of Travancore and the Secretary of State for India during British Rule.
  • In the 1970s, the lease agreement was renewed by Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
    • It gave the former, rights to the water from the dam, in return, Kerala receives rent from Tamil Nadu.

Source: TH

Seabuckthorn Plantations in Himanchal Pradesh

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Wildlife & Fauna

Seabuckthorn Plantations in Himachal Pradesh

The Himachal Pradesh government has decided to start Sea Buckthorn Plantation in the cold desert areas.

About Sea buckthorn:

  • It is a shrub that produces an orange-yellow coloured edible berry.
  • It is found above the tree line in the Himalayan region.
  • It is generally in dry areas such as the cold deserts of Ladakh and Spiti.
  • It is locally called Himalayan chharma and grows in the wild in Lahaul and Spiti and parts of Kinnaur.

Benefits of Seabuckthorn Plantation:

  • It is used as a medicine for treating stomach, heart, and skin problems.
  • It is rich in vitamins, carotenoids, and omega-fatty acids.
  • It is an important source of fuelwood and fodder.
  • It is a soil-binding plant that prevents soil erosion.
  • It checks siltation in rivers and helps preserve floral biodiversity.
  • It is used in making juices, jams, and nutritional capsules among others things.
  • It gets used in the manufacturing of cosmetics and anti-ageing products.

Source: HT

Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act, 2019

GS-II : Governance Reservation

Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act, 2019

According to an RTI, older Indian Institutes of Management(IIMs) are lagging behind the newer IIMs in enforcing the quota rule.

Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Act,2019:

  • The act provides for the reservation of posts in appointments of Central educational institutions by direct recruitment of persons belonging to:
    • Scheduled Castes (15%)
    • Scheduled Tribes (7.5%)
    • Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (27%) and
    • Economically Weaker Sections (10%).
  • The act will apply to ‘central educational institutions’ that are:
    • universities set up by Acts of Parliament
    • institutions deemed to be a university
    • institutions of national importance and
    • institutions receiving aid from the central government.
  • The act excludes-
    • certain institutions of excellence, research institutions, and institutions of national and strategic importance.
  • It also excludes minority education institutions.

Source: TH

Genome mapping of Indian Ocean by National Institute of Oceanography

GS-III : S&T Bio technology

Genome mapping of Indian Ocean by National Institute of Oceanography

National Institute of Oceanography(NIO) has launched its first-of-its-kind project of Genome Mapping in the Indian Ocean.

About the Genome Mapping in the Indian Ocean Project:

Aim of the Project:

  • To reveal the internal working of the body of the ocean at a cellular level.
  • To understand the biochemistry and the response of the ocean to climate change, nutrient stress and increasing pollution.

How will the Project get conducted?

  • The NIO research team onboard its research vessel Sindhu Sadhana will travel from India’s east coast to Australia then towards Port Louis in Mauritius and up to the border of Pakistan.
  • They will gather samples for genome mapping of microorganisms at an average depth of 5 km.
  • They will then map the DNA and RNA of these microorganisms just like gene mapping on human blood samples.

Significance of the Project:

  • Genome mapping will enable scientists to identify the factors controlling the changes in RNA, and DNA in the oceans and various stressors impacting them.
  • It will also help in identifying which part of the ocean has a greater concentration of which mineral or element.

What is Genome Mapping?

  • Genome refers to an organism’s complete set of DNA that includes all its genes.
  • And mapping these genes means finding out the location of these genes in a chromosome.

National Institute of Oceanography (NIO):

  • NIO is an autonomous research organization established in 1966.
  • It is one of the 37 constituent laboratories of the CSIR, New Delhi.
  • The focus of research has been on observing and understanding the special oceanographic characteristics of the Indian Ocean.
  • Headquarters: Goa

Source: TH

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