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Species diversity and plant use in Home gardens of Mizoram, India


Preface Homegardens are one of the oldest forms of landuse activities, most predominantly exists in the humid tropics. These homegardens are considered to be ecologically sustainable probably because of their near-nature characteristics higher species diversity, multi-strata canopy and a closed nutrient cycling. Variation in size, species composition and management objectives has been frequently reported. In Mizoram, homegarden is the major land use system next to shifting agriculture. Apart from supplementing food production through shifting cultivation, homegardens supply additional daily needs of the farmers such as fibres, spices and condiments, timber for agricultural tools, medicines, fodder, fuelwood etc. Also traditional homegardens are equally important for their potential role in soil protection and water conservation in the highly fragile hill ecosystems of the region. These homegardens in the state vary in their sizes influencing the species density and composition. It is expected that with different sizes, density and compositional pattern the edaphic characteristics in the homegardens also vary and may demand different management interventions for improving the overall sustainability of these important land use systems. However these traditional gardens in the state have received little scientific attention. This book is based on a study entitled Studies on structural diversity and functional dynamism of traditional home gardens in relation to livelihood support in undivided Aizawl district of Mizorma funded by Council of Scientific & Industrial Research, New Delhi (sanction no. F. No. 38(1149)/07/EMR-II dated 30.03.2007) during 20072010. The project was started with the joining of Mr. Pebam Rocky, Senior Research Fellow on 5th July 2007. The findings reported are based on extensive surveys made on home gardens that are positioned and managed in five districts of un-divided

Aizawl district of Mizoram. The data have have been drawn through pre-structured questionnaires sampling and from direct observations and laboratory work. . I am grateful to the villagers/farmers who allowed their homegardens for detailed survey and also participated in the discussion and provided valuable information on management and income aspects of home gardens that are reported here. (U.K.Sahoo)

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Preface Abstract Introduction Materials and methods Results and discussion Conclusions References

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ABSTRACT Extensive field surveys were made in the five districts of Mizoram viz., Aizawl, Champhai, Kolasib, Serchip and Mamit from where 180 indigenous home gardens were selected for detailed studies on structural composition (both vertical stratification and horizontal zonation (if any), phytosociological attributes, plant use, microclimate and soil physico-chemical properties. Altogether, a total of 444 plant species were recorded from all the home gardens from the five different districts of Mizoram among them were 191 trees, 94 shrubs and 159 herbs. Observations of energy and economic input and outputs for all the homegarden activities and products were made in twelve homegardens over a one year period, drawing four gardens in each of the three categories (small, medium and large). The inputs were human labour, seeds and manure while the output was the crop productivity. Data were collected using questionnaires (on socio-economy, demography, sale of the garden products and management aspects of the garden, cropping pattern) and sample weighing was done in the fields. One man-hour human labour was assigned 1.96 MJ energy and 1 woman-hour as 1.57 MJ and total energy input inclusive of seeds and manures/fertilizers worked out to be 125 MJ, 38 MJ and 31 MJ per 100 m -2 in small, medium and large gardens. Major output of the gardens was vegetables, rhizome, seeds, pods, and fruits etc which were usually for household consumption and sale of surplus after adequate savings of seeds for the following year. Total energy output was 3728 MJ, 1365 MJ and 1452 MJ in the small, medium and large homegarden respectively and the energy efficiency was found to significantly vary from 27 in small garden 54 in large garden (P< 0.04). Leaf litter decomposition and nutrient release pattern from five common multipurpose tree species viz., Artocarpus heterophyllus, Mangifera indica, Areca catechu, Citrus spp. and Tamarindus indica,

found in homegardens of Mizoram were also evaluated using litter bag technique. The result of the study indicates a varying pattern of decomposition and nutrient release (N&P) among the species. Citrus spp. and T. indica were found to be the most labile species with comparatively much higher decay constant and faster nutrient release. Initial nitrogen concentration, lignin content and lignin/N ratio of foliage litter showed significantly higher (P<0.01) correlation with the decay coefficient and found to the important determinants in the decay process. Initial slow release and immobilization of N in A. heterophyllus and M. indica leaf litter reflects their potential as source of nitrogen storage and effective mulching material. While litter from T. indica and Citrus spp. can provide the short term nutrient need, foliage for the other three species may supply the long term nutrient requirement for the understory crops in such agroforestry system. A study was also undertaken to investigate the effects of canopy on the growth parameters like germination, root length and shoot length of 5 important agricultural crops namely, maize (Zea mays L), chilli (Capsicum annuum L), bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L), ladysfinger (Abelmoschus esculantus L) and mustard (Brassica nigra). In all the test conditions, crops cultivated under canopy (shade) showed reduced root and shoot length when compared to noncanopy (open/under full sunlight) and the semi-canopy. Germination appears to be non-effected or rather enhance under full canopy partly because of the moist condition prevailing under trees, and low ambient temperature which help in more osmosis where moisture can enter inside the seeds. The results showed germination, root length and shoot length were affected by canopy (lowlight intensity) as those crops cultivated under canopy has reduced root and shoot length in most of the test crops, while increased the plant growth was observed under the other tested light conditions. Similarly, the effects of different concentrations of aqueous leaf extract of 5 home garden trees viz. Artocarpus heterophyllus L., Mangifera indica L., Areca catechu L., Citrus indica Tanaka and Tamarindus indica L. on the germination, shoot length and root length of 5 food crops viz. Capsicum annum L. (Chilli), Glycine max (L.) Merr. (Soybean), Zea mays L. (Maize), Oryza sativa L. (Rice), and Abelmoschus

esculentus (L.) Moench (Ladys finger) were investigated. Air-dried mature fresh leaves of the selected trees were crushed and soaked, diluted to make different concentrations to investigate its effect on the test crops under bioassay and pot culture. Under laboratory bioassay, inhibitory effect of the leaf extracts on germination was more prominent in chilli. Shoot length was affected more in ladys finger whereas the root elongation was suppressed prominently in paddy. In pot culture, compared to the control, maximum effect in seed germination was exhibited by T.indica followed by C.indica, M.indica, A.heterophyllus and A. catechu. Of all the test crops, germination and seedling vigour was severely affected in ladys finger. Overall, most of the food crops except paddy were affected by Tamarindus leaf extract and hence are incompatible. Soybean was also sensitive to Artocarpus whereas germination and growth of ladys finger was inhibited by all the tree species except Artocarpus. Paddy was resistant to alleopathic effect exhibited by all tree species.

INTRODUCTION Most of the landscape in Mizoram, as is well visible can be categorized as mountainous ecosystem. As such, it shares similar characteristics of many of the mountainous region elsewhere. These ecosystems present a unique set of developmental challenges including remoteness, limited access, fragile, steep landscape, high biodiversity, resilient farming system with limited option for change and independent but impoverished people. Changes to the resistant farming systems have come to this region but the process had been very slow. The traditional agroforestry systems are evolved from the idea to provide short term benefits from the systems (Canon, 1995) and from traditional wisdom (De Clerk and Negreros-Castillo, 2000); however, the pattern of human subsistence from the systems is shaped primarily by its physical, climatic and ecological characteristics. The simple agroforestry model of growing cash crops like ginger, turmeric, cardamom, passion fruit, mango trees in between the permanent trees could have probably evolved first as a regular practice and then the homestead gardens and plantations crops world over (King, 1987). The natural history studies during the past two centuries (Mendez and Somarriba, 2001) suggest that the people traditionally used their homestead for varieties of needs such as food, energy, shelter and medicines. Traditional agroforestry systems like home gardens have the potential to contribute greatly to creating integrated agricultural and community systems that maintain productivity, protect natural resources, minimize environmental impacts and provide for peoples economic and social needs. Many bamboo resources are considered as a highly valued potential crop for agroforestry systems with short gestation period and recurring returns. Multistoried combination of bamboo along

with coconut and agricultural crops like sugarcane, sweet potato, pulses, colocasia, ginger, turmeric as practiced in Kerala home gardens are very promising (Abdul and Sree Kumar, 1991). Several studies in different parts of the country suggested that agroforestry is more profitable to farmers than agriculture or forestry for a particular area of land (Singhal and Panwar, 1992; Mathur and Sharma, 1983; Mathur, 1984; Jagdish Chander, 1998; Ralhan et. al., 1992). Home gardens can be found across the globe in most modern and historical societies (Brownrigg, 1985; Ninez, 1984; Gillespie 1993). Among the available literature on home gardens, system description is the most dominant aspects (Fernandez et al., 1984, Fernandez and Nair, 1986, Gillepsie et al. 1993, Hoogerbrugger and Fresco, 1993). The published literatures suggest that food crops, medicinal plants, fruit trees, multipurpose trees and fodder crops abound most home gardens. Such studies also document the local practices and species inventory (Ninez, 1984 Alcorns, 1987), elucidated the need for conservation of bio-cultural diversity and the traditional uses of various plants (Rugalema et al., 1994, Pandey et al., 2002). In South India, several workers (Babu et al. 1982, Nair and Sreedharan, 1986, Abdul and Sree Kumar, 1991, Chako, 1991, Jose and Shanmugarathnam, 1993, John, 1997, Divakara et al., 2001, Kumar et al., 1992, 1994, Kumar et al., 2003, Shanavas and Kumar, 2003) have found home gardens as specialized cropping areas providing supplementary food, fuel and fodder. In Northeast India, however, no significant reports on home gardens are available. All the above studies in Kerala, South India have discussed and enumerated the importance of horizontal structure and vertical stratification and their role either in time and space. According to Michon et al. (1983), each component in home garden has a precise place and well-established role and along with other component, it is arranged in a micro-zonal pattern (Nair and Sreedharan, 1986, Kumar et al., 1994). The vertical stratification provides a gradient in light and relative humidity that creates different niches for enabling various species groups (Peyre et al. 2006). Further, the multi-storied agroforestry/ home gardens

provide a buffering outcome against losses to diseases and pests or adverse weather conditions due to high crop diversity thereby making the system more flexible and sustainable. Studies on tree-crop interactions in agroforestry systems as well as home gardens are important in providing better understanding to the complex mechanism in which they interact and influence upon each other. The results would also provide scientific basis for designing a proper system in order to attain maximum productivity and sustainability. The main effects of tree-crop interactions include productivity (biomass), soil fertility, decomposition and nutrient release pattern (Chintu et al. 2005), carbon, water and nutrient flux (Benjamin et al., 2001), micro-site enrichment (Nair, 1984, Young, 1989), soil conservation (Mac clean et al. 1992), plant-soil interaction (Schroth et al., 2001), micro-climate improvement (Malik and Sharma, 1990), above and below ground competition (Singh et al. 1989), root architecture (Mulatya et al., 2002), rooting pattern (Oppelt et al., 2005), shading effect (Huxley et al., 1989, Rao et al., 1991), crop yield (Ong et al., 1991), however, these studies suffer from a number of limitations in complex home gardens as compared to welldefined agroforestry systems. The recent reviews of literature have emphasized the need for study of ecological interactions of below- ground parts i.e. root architecture, root dynamics and competition, nutrient and water cycling (Anderson and Sinclair, 1993). Further, there are close and complex interaction between the floristic and geometric structure of vegetation stands, the physiognomic and biochemical properties of the plants, the climate and edaphic site conditions and the dynamics of the ecosystem. Floristic, geometric and biochemical structures, both at plant and at vegetation system levels are interpreted as adaptation to the physical and chemical enrichment (Bruning, 1970, 1976). Sometimes, the chemicals released by different


plant parts that subsequently become a part of the organic matter have allelopathic effect on other species, thereby regulating tree-crop interactions in the system. The inclination of leaves has also been recognized as an important factor influencing the efficiency of solar radiation utilization in plant canopy (Monsi and Saeki, 1978, Saeki, 1960). The leaf area index (LAI) and leaf area density (LAD) are identified as two important determinants in canopy manipulation studies in agro forestry and home gardens. The tree leaves often tend to form dense clusters on twigs which in turn assemble to make up tree crown and the whole vegetation canopy. According to Kira et al. (1969), Shinozaki and Kira (1977), such a cluster structure could increase the total LAI to a considerable extent and thereby bringing significant productivity. A birds eye review of literature on traditional agroforestry reveals that although the works on various aspects of agroforestry have been carried out somewhat in greater detail elsewhere, no works hitherto have been undertaken in Mizoram. Studies pertaining to structural and functional aspects of the prevailing traditional agroforestry systems such as multi-storied home gardens and their utility are expected to contribute to our understanding on the challenges for bringing induced agroforestry systems into practice. Further, these studies are expected to help people make a better choice in utilizing their land and to maintain the agribiodiversity of Mizoram. Objectives of the project: To study the structural and functional components of traditional homestead gardens. This will include the species diversity, horizontal structure and vertical stratification of the systems. To study the energy flow pattern and sustenance of livelihood in these systems. To study some attributes on tree-crop interactions with and/or without manipulated field studies, and

To relate the systems to various biophysical, socio-cultural and economic attributes of the community practicing the systems. MATERIALS AND METHODS a. Study site Mizoram lies in the charming and gentle hill folds is in the southern most tip of the North eastern region of India, projecting downwards between Burma and Bangladesh. It is flaked by Bangladesh on the west and Myanmar on the east and south. It has an area of 21,087 km2 with 630 km long international boundary and ca. 8, 91,058 populations. Our study sites are located in the five districts, viz. Aizawl, Kolaship, Serchip, Mamit, and Champhai. Three villages were selected from each district and a minimum of 15 homegardens (five each from small, medium and large category) were selected randomly from each village. Thus, total of 225 homegardens have been selected for a detailed study on homegarden structural and functional characteristics (Map 1), however, the report is based on the study made from 180 homegardens. b. Microclimate The microclimate in the home gardens were studied by measuring light intensity, relative humidity and air and soil temperature and seasonal study is on progress. All the three parameters were measured randomly at ten places close to the ground surface in each stand. The light intensity was measured using a digital lux meter. The air temperature and relative humidity were measured using a thermo-hygrometer. Soil temperature was measured using a soil thermometer. c. Collection of soil samples and analyses

Five cores (6.5 cm inner dia) from 0-15 cm and 15-30 cm depth were collected from each selected homegarden in the month of March. All the soils collected were pooled garden-wise and depth-wise and sieved through 2mm mesh screen. The soil moisture content (SMC), pH, ammonium-N and nitrate-N were determined within 36 hours of sampling following standard procedures given in Anderson and Ingram (1993). Rest of the soil samples were air-dried and analyzed for total kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN) using Kel Plus (Pelican model), while available phosphorous and soil organic carbon (SOC) was estimated by molybdenum blue method and rapid titration method respectively as given in Allen et al (1974). Water holding capacity (WHC) was determined using Keens box and the SOC values were multiplied by a constant (1.724) to obtain the soil organic matter (SOM) values (Allen et al., 1974). Soil texture was determined by Boucous hydrometer method (Anderson and Ingram, 1993). d. Vegetation analysis In all the home gardens, density, frequency and basal area of different plant species were measured using 10 regularly placed quadrats (10m x 10m) for trees, randomly placed twenty-five quadrats for (5m x 5m) shrubs and herbaceous (1m x 1m) species. Nomenclature of the plant species followed Hooker (1872-1897). Girth at breast height (above 1.37 m height) of all trees was measured. Basal diameter of shrubs and herbs was measured by vernier-calliper. The vegetational data were analyzed for relative frequency, relative dominance and relative density (Phillips, 1959). The sum of relative frequency, relative dominance and relative density was calculated as importance value index (IVI) of individual species (Curtis, 1959). Species diversity (Margalef, 1968) was calculated as: H'= - {(ni/N) loge (ni/N)}, where H'=Shannon index of general diversity, ni=IVI of a species, N= Total IVI of the community (i.e. 300). The dominance index (Simpson, 1949) of the community was calculated as:

C= {(ni/N) 2}, where C=dominance index, ni and N are same as for Shannons index. Pielous (1966) evenness index (e) was calculated as: e= H'/logS, where H'= Shannons index of diversity, and S= Total number of species. Sorensens similarity index (Sorensen 1948) was calculated as, [2C/(A+B)] x 100], where, A and B are the total species content (trees, shrubs or herbs) in stand A and B respectively, while C is the number of species common to both stands. The ratio of abundance to frequency is a relative measure of degree of contagiousness of the distribution of species (Whitford 1949). According to Curtis and Cottam (1956), the ratio below 0.025 would indicate regular distribution; between 0.025-0.05 indicate random distribution and more than 0.05 contagious distributions and this is used to characterize the species distribution patterns. e. Energy, economic inputs and outputs: Observations of energy and economic input and output for all the homegarden activities and products were made over a one year period, only in twelve households, four in each of the three categories (small, medium and large) as only the twelve households were enthusiastic and ready to co-operate for the study in Champhai district of Mizoram.. Each homegarden system is considered as a functional unit. The inputs were human labour, seeds and manure while the output was the crop productivity. Questionnaires were filled in and sample weighing was done in the fields. Questionnaire also includes a set of questions on the socio-economy, demography, sale of the garden products and management aspects of the garden. Cropping pattern in different seasons was noted. A process analysis was used to measure energy flow (Fluck, 1992) adding human work contributions (Odum, 1996). Internal and external inputs were measured in Mega Joules (MJ). These were estimated by extrapolating standard energy values (Mitchell, 1979; Mittal and Dhavan, 1989 and Gopalan et al, 1982). The input of

energy through seeds was calculated on the basis of total energy expended to produce that fraction of the crop yield. The economic yield per hectare in all cases was calculated on the basis of the entire plot. For calculating the output of energy the total economic yield of various crops was converted into mega joules of energy by multiplying with similar standard values. The energy efficiency of each system was calculated as the output/input ratio. Input of household labour is a component that needs to be factored to an economic valuation. For the purpose of this study, opportunity cost of household labour is calculated as a function of time, OCHL= (t * labour rate), where t is the time spent in the garden. The opportunity costs of land have been assigned values equivalent to the rate at which farmers were able to lease out all or parts of their lands. This rent was calculated to be an average of ` 9500 per hectare of the land per year. For monetary input/output analysis, labour charge was calculated on the basis of prevailing daily rates of ` 70. The monetary returns in terms of crops, feed, milk, egg and organic manure were calculated based on prevailing market price for each commodity. f. Allelopathic tree-crop interactions: I. Plant Extracts Leaves of field grown mature trees (approx. 20 years old) were collected from the Aizawl District (92038 to 92042 E longitude and 23042 to 23046 N latitude, 950 m above sea level). The leaves from the top, middle and bottom of selected tree canopy were plucked, mixed in equal proportions and air-dried for seven days. The 5 home garden trees viz. Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus L.), Lemon (Citrus indica Tanaka), Mango (Mangifera indica L.), Tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.) and Areca nut (Areca catechu L.) were regarded as donor plants, while the 5 food crops [chilli (Capsicum annum), soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.), maize (Zea mays L.), paddy (Oryza sativa L.) and ladys finger (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench)] were

treated as receptor plants. The aqueous extracts were prepared by adding 100 g crushed fresh mature leaves in 500 ml distilled water (1:5 w/v), mixed thoroughly and soaked for 24 h at room temperature. This preparation was considered as 20% for further dilution. Thereafter, the mixtures were filtered through ordinary filter paper and the stock solution was stored in dark. Then final concentrations (w/v) 4, 8 and 16% of the extract were prepared by dilution with distilled water. II. Bioassays The experimental treatments consisted of 3 factors: (i). Donor tree extracts :5 (Areca nut, Jack, Lemon, Mango, Tamarind), (ii). Recipient crops: 5 (Chilli, Ladys finger, Maize, Paddy, Soybean) and (iii). Extract concentrations: 5 (0, 4, 8, 16, 20%). The treatments were replicated thrice in completely randomised design. Ten seeds of each test crop were placed in sterilized Petri plates (12 cm dia.) containing evenly spread absorbent cotton and saturated with respective extracts concentration. Initially 10 ml extract was added to each Petri plate followed by 5 ml at every alternate day. The control was treated with 10 ml distilled water. The number of germinated seed were recorded daily, while, the seedlings root and shoot length were recorded on 10th day. Five ml extract/distilled water was added to keep the medium moist. The Petri plates were kept under natural light dark cycle (24) at 25300C. The following nomenclatures were used as T0 : Control (distilled water) 0%; T1 : 4% extract solution; T2 : 8% extract solution; T3 : 16% extract solution and T4 : 20% extract solution The emergence of the radicle from the seeds was regarded as germinated and germination was recorded daily till 5th day. The magnitude of inhibition versus stimulation was compared by Response Index (RI) as under: If T > C the RI = 1 -(C/T) If T = C then RI = 0 If T < C then RI = (T/C) 1


Where, T : Treatment mean (number of seeds germinated or mean plumule/radicle length of germinated seeds), C : control mean. A positive Rl indicates stimulation, while negative denotes inhibition (Richardson and Williamson, 1988). Relative Elongation Ratio (RER) of shoots and roots of crops was also calculated as per Rho and Kil (1986) as under: R = (T/Tr) x 100; Where, R : Relative Elongation Ratio, T : Response of treatment crop and Tr : Response of control. III. Pot culture The air-dried fresh leaf samples were grinded and the extracts were prepared as per laboratory bioassay by fully mixing the powdered samples in distilled water in ratio of 1:5 (w/v) (200 g powder in 1000 ml distilled water). The mixtures were kept in dark at room temperature for 24 h and then filtered through Whatman no. 1 paper. These filtrates were considered 20% extract for further dilution. Four different concentrations of the extract from each tree species were prepared by diluting the initial extract (20%) with distilled water. The following concentrations of the extracts were used for the study: 4% (T1), 8% (T2), 16% (T3), 20% (T4) and a control with only distilled water (0%; T0). Five seeds of each test crop were sown in polypots (5 kg soil mixture with garden soil, FYM and sand mixture in 3:1:1 ratio per pot) and irrigated initially with 500 ml respective extract solutions. Ten polypots were prepared per treatment. Three seeds of each test crop were sown per pot. The polypots were then kept in green house (with temperature ranging from 25-300C and 70-75% varying relative humidity) and immediately irrigated with 100 ml of respective leaf extracts and irrigated twice weekly for 30 days. Separate set of control were maintained for each crop with distilled water. Germination was recorded after the emergence of seedlings, which were thinned out to one per pot. Shoot length and root length and dry matter of seedlings were recorded on 30th day. IV. Statistical analysis:


To test the statistical difference between the treatments, analysis of variance and least significant difference (LSD) tests were performed using SPSS 11.1.1 software programme. Percentage growth inhibition was calculated using the following equation: Percentage inhibition (%) = [(Control value -treatment value)/Control value] x 100. g. Litter decomposition dynamics in homegardens I. Collection and processing of leaf litter The freshly fallen leaf litters of some common home garden tree species viz. Artocurpus heterophyllus, Mangifera indica, Arica catechu, Cytrus sp. were collected during the peak litter-fall period (winter). A sub sample of the litter samples were airdried and kept in hot air oven at 80 oC for 48 hours for the determination of dry mass. The oven-dried samples were powdered in Wiley mill for chemical analysis.

II. Litter decomposition Litter decomposition was studied according to nylon-bag technique (Gilbert and Bocock, 1960). Ten grams of air-dried litter samples were kept in 20 x 20 cm nylon bag having 1x 1mm mesh size. The bags were placed in the study sites following complete randomized experimental design. Three bags were recovered at monthly intervals. The adhering residual materials were separated carefully from the samples and then oven-dried at 80 oC for 48 hours, weighed and powdered for chemical analysis. III. Chemical analysis Nitrogen was estimated by Kjeldahl method in pelican semi-automatic N analyzer (Kel plus). Total P was estimated colorimetrically using the Olsens molybdenum blue method (Anderson and Ingram, 1993). For estimation of lignin content 0.5 g of powdered plant sample (air dried) was taken in a test tube, 20 ml of

72 % H2SO4 added and kept in deep freeze for 24 hours. This is followed by centrifugation at 3000 r.p.m. for 15 minutes. Residue was collected and washed to remove traces of H2SO4 and then oven dried and the weight was recorded. The amount weighed is the total lignin content. The result was calculated in percentage of lignin content with respect to total weight of the sample. Similarly for the estimation of cellulose content, 0.5 g of powdered plant sample (air-dried) was taken in a test tube and 25% aqueous KOH (w/v) was added. The mixture was then centrifuged at 3000 rpm for 15 minutes. The residue was washed with distilled water till trace of KOH was remained. The residue was then oven-dried at 105 oC for 24 hours and dry weight of the same was recorded. The result was calculated as in case of lignin. IV. Computation and statistics Organic matter decay constants for the leaf and culmsheath litters were computed using negative exponential decay model of Olson (1963): X/X0=exp (-kt), where X is the weight remaining at time t, X0 is the initial weight, exp the base of natural logarithm, k the decay rate coefficient and t is the time Further, the time required for 50% (t50) and 95% (t95) decay were calculated as t50=0.693/k and t95=3/k (Bockheim et al. 1991). Nutrient content of decomposing leaf litter was derived as: % Nutrient remaining = (C/C0) x (DM/DM 0) x 100, where C is the concentration of nutrient in litter at the time of sampling, C0 is the concentration of nutrient in the linitial litter samples, DM is the mass of litter at the time of sampling, DM 0 is the mass of initial litter samples kept for decomposition (Bockheim et al. 1991). Tukey test was employed to compare the means. The effect of initial litter chemistry on the decay rate was tested using the linear regression function, Y = a+bX. h. Effects of canopy on the germination and growth of some agriculture crops Field experiment was conducted in the Aizawl District, the North Eastern State of India (92038 to 92042 E longitude and 23042 to 23046 N latitude 950 m above sea level). Non-dormant fertilized seeds of 5 important agricultural crops were used to determine the influence of canopy on 3 parameters namely, germination, root

length and shoot length sown under 3 different canopies. The experiment consisted of three levels of treatments namely: full canopy (canopy I), semi-canopy (canopy II), and exposed area (canopy III), which included three plots, in which 10 seeds each were planted in the three different plots, 5 agricultural crops viz. maize, chilli, bean, ladyfinger and mustard seeds were planted within each subplot (row) in all the experimental setup. Each seeds were planted in such a manner that each has ample space for growing up (20 cm apart). Each individual plant was planted separately and the plots were spaced with at least 3 meter away from each other. The experiment was replicated 3 times, altogether 30 seeds for each crops (10 seeds each 3 plots 3 treatments 5 species). The plots were examined every day both in the morning and evening to check for germination. The emergence of the radical from the seed was regarded as germinated and germination profile was recorded every day. After the emergence of the seedling, the germinated plants were allowed to grow for >15 days, afterward, the seedlings were uprooted meticulously in such a manner that not a single root was broken in the process. The uprooted seedlings were washed thoroughly under running water till all the soil was removed completely and the length and shoot length of the seedlings were measured. The ambient prevailing light intensities (TES 1332A, Digital Lux Meter, No. 051106796) and temperatures were also recorded.


RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Homegardens in five districts of Mizoram irrespective of their sizes are excellent demonstrations of the importance of ecosystem diversity for the evolution and conservation of plant genetic resources. In the sampled area a wide variation in homegarden size was encountered and suitably grouped into small (0.10-0.20 ha), medium (0.20-0.50 ha) and large (0.50- 1.00 ha); however, most of them were small in size. Studies on homegarden systems from different ecological and geographical regions showed that the worldwide average size of homegarden units is around 0.10 0.50 ha. A. Microclimate and soil: Microclimate showed little differences within the homegardens. Air and soil temperatures, light intensity and relative humidity remained higher in the small and medium gardens as compared to the large homegarden (Table 1). Such changes in microclimate within the homegardens depends on a number of external and internal factors, notable among them are duration of sunshine and cloudiness, vegetation, soil properties, topography, tree canopy architecture and phenological stage of the constituents plant species. The physical properties of soil such as water holding capacity and moisture content differed significantly (P>0.001) between the gardens (Table 2). Greater soil moisture content (SMC) and water holding capacity (WHC) was recorded in the larger homegarden as compared to the smaller and medium one, this might be due to dense litter layer on the floor of the larger homegarden and also

greater accumulation of organic matter, obviously related to the greater species richness/ density in the same garden. WHC of soil as influenced by organic matter accumulation is considered one of the important indicators of sustainability. The relation between species diversity in homegardens and their ecological sustainability have also been discussed by various workers (Soemarwoto, 1987; Torquebiau, 1992; Kumar and Nair, 2004). WHC in the sites declined with increasing depth registering greater value in the surface (0-15 cm) soil layer in all the homegardens. SMC was also greater in the upper soil layer in all the home gardens. Abebe et al., (2006) opined that animal wastes along with the other contributors also play an important ecological role by providing manure for the improvement of soil fertility and crop productivity in the homegarden system. Higher values of the major soil physical properties in the top (0-15 cm) layer in the present study sites might also be ascribed to the greater accumulation of litter and other domestic waste on the floor of the traditional home gardens as use of animal wastes such as pig dung and poultry excreta is also a common practice. Soil texture in the sites was relatively consistent throughout the profile, which was typified by sandy loam to loamy sand. However, there was a variation in the sand, silt and clay content across the profile increasing from surface soil layer to subsurface soil layer (Table 2). These differences among the homegardens are likely due to combination of factors like microclimate, topography and plant species composition as observed by Rhoades (1997), Zinke, (1962) and Pinho et al. (2010) who suggested that the choice of tree species that are planted or otherwise managed in the homegarden may have a significant effect on soil, as even individual trees can alter or improve soils in different ways. Soil pH was acidic (4.77- 5.72) in all the stands with little variation. Slightly low soil pH in the larger homegarden as compared to the other ones could be the result of lower rate of leaching leading to greater accumulation of reaction products in the soil. However, decreasing pH with depth may be because of the fact that organic matter content and nutrient availability also decrease with depth. Organic matter produced in

the homegardens may have a buffering effect on soil pH due to several processes, which include the increase in CEC and the size of the exchange complex from humification of organic matter additions, the formation of complexes with Aluminum ion, and the release of calcium and magnesium in the soil solution, thus reducing the activity of hydrogen ion (Miyazawa et al., 1993). SOC, TKN and ammonium-N, nitrate-N and available-P varied significantly within the homegardens (P>0.01) and registered lower values in the smaller garden and they increased with the increase in size of the garden. Total Kjeldhal nitrogen varies appreciably among sites and depth (Table 2). The concentration was higher at surface soil (0-15 cm) layer and declined with increasing depth. TKN was maximum in the large home gardens in all the districts and intermediate in the medium size home gardens with lower values in the small size home gardens. Soil organic carbon (SOC) reduced with increasing depth where minimum was recorded in the smaller size home gardens. Soil organic matter is of great importance because of its influence on soil physical, chemical and biological properties and on creating a favorable medium for biological reactions and life support in the soil environment and once the levels decreased; they are generally slow to recover. Organic matter differs across the study sites which might be due to difference in plant species composition and organic matter in the soil surface. For instance, large size garden have more plant species and therefore more litter resulting in higher organic matter pool in the site. Further, accumulation of more human and other wastes and incorporation of the plant debris might also have caused high organic matter in case of larger gardens and vice-versa (See Abebe et al., 2006; Tchatat et al., 2004; Pinho et al., 2010). The available forms of nutrients (NH+4-N, NO-3-N and PO-4-P) varied significantly (P>0.001) within the home gardens with greater values in the upper soil depth as compared to the subsurface soil layer. Greater values of NH+4-N, NO-3-N and PO-4-P were recorded the in the large size home garden and minimum values in the small size home gardens (Table 2). The difference the available nutrients among

homegarden categories may be related to the variation in SOM which might have resulted in varied level of soil micro fauna in the homegardens as soil microorganisms affect the availability of soil nutrients, especially, available N for plant uptake or loss mainly through concurrent processes of mineralization and immobilization (Shi et al., 2006; Pandey and Srivastava, 2009). Also low soil pH level affects the availability of phosphorous (Shah et al., 1998) as the smaller homegardens in the present study revealed lower level available-P. However, further investigations are needed to support these hypotheses for the homegarden system in the region. Overall, the soil physical properties like WHC, soil moisture content, were significantly positively correlated with soil chemical properties, which indicate that the nutrient concentration in soil depends on the soil structure. There is a strong correlation between different home garden categories viz. large, medium and small. Nutrient status is better in the large home garden soils compared to medium and small home gardens (Fig. 1 to 5). Soil organic matter, total N, ammonium, nitrate and phosphate were higher in the large home gardens followed by medium and small home gardens irrespective of their location. Linear regression suggests that the trend of nutrient were higher in the home gardens at lower altitude and the home gardens at higher altitude have low soil nutrient status particularly in case of soil organic matter and total N content of soil (Fig. 1 and 2). However, the three available forms of nutrients viz. ammonium, nitrate and phosphate did not show any clear trends (Fig. 3, 4 and 5). Further, almost all the soil nutrients were significantly correlated among the different categories of home gardens which suggest the clear relationship of soil nutrients with the homegarden categories (Table 3). B. Structural composition and dynamics of the homegardens


Aizawl district home gardens: In total 231 plant species (105 tree species, 50 shrubs and 76 herbs) belonging to 90 families were recorded in this study, of which 193 were dicotyledons, 32 monocotyledons and 1 fern species (Table 4 A). Forty-three families were represented by single species, while 16 families were represented by more than 5 species. Asteraceae, Caesalpinaceae, Compositae, Cucurbitaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Leguminosae, Mimosaceae, Moraceae, Musaceae, Papilionaceae, Rutaceae, Solanaceae, Verbenaceae and Zingiberaceae were the most dominant families in the home gardens of Aizawl district of Mizoarm. From total 90 plant families recorded, Solanaceae had the highest species number (11), as it provides a variety of food crops like Abelmoschus esculentus, Solanum esculentum, Solanum khasiana, Solanum melongena, Solanum nigrum etc; followed by Euphorbiaceae and Rutaceae (10), Papilionaceae (7), Verbenaceae (6) while Zingiberaceae, Musaceae, Mimosaceae, etc shared 5 each as most of the vegetable crops preferred by the local farmers belong to these plant families. Overall, there were 79 tree species distributed in 65 genera and 41 families in the large home garden, followed by 63 tree species, 57 genera and 33 families in the medium size home garden and 47 tree species, 41 genera and 30 families in the small home garden respectively (Table 4 A). Out of which, 23 tree species (22%) were common to all the home gardens. Evenness index for tree species varied slightly within the home gardens and it was maximum in the smaller homegarden (0.978), followed by the medium (0.963) and large home garden (0.952). However, shrubs and herbs evenness index also varied slightly with greater values in the large size home gardens, followed by medium and small home gardens. The present study clearly reveals that species grown in the traditional home garden systems are confounded by the livelihood requirements and traditional knowledge. Significant difference in species selection for homegarden has also been due to altitudinal/climate regime.


Home gardens at Serchip district: In total 255 plant species (109 tree species, 64 shrubs and 82 herbs) belonging to 88 families were recorded in this study, of which 226 were dicotyledons and 29 were monocotyledons (Table 4 B). Fifty one families were represented by single species, while 19 families were represented by more than 5 species. Cucurbitaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Leguminosae, Gramineae, Malvaceae, Moraceae, Myrtaceae, Papilionaceae, Rubiaceae, Rosaceae, Rutaceae, Solanaceae, Verbenaceae and Zingiberaceae were the most dominant families in these home gardens. From total 88 plant families recorded, Moraceae (12) had the highest species number) followed by Rutaceae and Solanaceae (11) Papilionaceae (10), Cucurbitaceae (9), Gramineae and Rubiaceae (7), Malvaceae, Myrtaceae and Rosaceae (6), while Verbenaceae, Compositae, Araceae, Lauraceae, Leguminoceae, Liliaceae, Zingiberaceae, Musaceae, etc shared 5 families (Tables 6 A-C). There were 96 tree species distributed in 79 genera and 47 families in the large home garden, followed by 67 tree species, 61 genera and 39 families in the medium size home garden and 55 tree species, 48 genera and 34 families in the small home garden respectively (Table 4(B). Out of which, 27 tree species (25%) were common to all the home gardens. Evenness index for tree, shrubs and herbs species varied slightly within the home gardens of Serchip district. However, it was maximum in the medium homegarden (0.977, 0.964 and 0.973 for trees, shrubs and herbs respectively), followed by the large (0.974, 0.963 and 0.971 for tress, shrubs and herbs respectively) and small home garden (0.959, 0.968 and 0.970 for trees, shrubs and herbs respectively). All the species (herbs, shrubs and trees) were distributed contagiously (100%) in all the home gardens. Tree species diversity was more in large home garden (4.443), followed by medium (4.107) and small (3.848) home garden and shrubs (3.497-3.767) and herbs (3.853-4.196) species diversity also followed the similar trend with greater values in the large home gardens (Table 5).


Home gardens at Champhai district: A total of 205 different plant species (92 herbs, 31 shrubs and 82 trees) belonging to 66 families and 161 genus were recorded in the different homegardens surveyed in the district (Table 4 C). Thirty two families were represented only by a lone species while 18 families were found to be represented by more than five species. Maximum species was contributed from family Solanaceae (11) followed by Poaceae and Euphorbiaceae (10 each), Papilionaceae (9), Rosaceae (8) and Crucifereae (8) (Tables 6 A-C). Out of the total 82 tree species recorded 70 were observed in large homegardens and 51 & 52 each respectively in small and medium sized homegardens. Maximum species of herbs (82%) were recorded in small sized homegardens (75) while there is not much significant variation in the distribution of shrub species. Among the fruit/tree species Parkia timoriana, Psidium guajava, Clerodendrum colebrookianum and Mangifera indica were common to more then 80 percent of the gardens surveyed. Vegetables like Brassica juncea, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Ipomea batatas, Colocasia esculenta and Cucurbita maxima were found in more than 75 percent of the gardens surveyed. Diversity index for both trees and herbs were maximum in the large homegarden (3.99 each) and minimum was recorded for shrubs in large homegarden while it was maximum (2.92) in small homegardens (Table 4 C). Evenness index was slightly varied within the garden and maximum evenness index was recorded in large homegardens for both trees (0.905) and herbs (0.884) and minimum was observed among shrubs in large home gardens. Similarity index for trees, shrubs and herbs were comparatively higher (81.55, 76.60 and 78.20) inbetween medium and small homegardens as compared to others (Table 5). Home gardens at Kolasib district: A total of 162 plant species (77 tree species, 18 shrubs and 62 herbs) belonging to 58 families were recorded from the sampled homegardens in the district (Table 4 D). Thirty families of plants were represented by a single species, while 12 families were represented by more than 5 species.

Cucurbitaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Gramineae, Malvaceae, Moraceae, Myrtaceae, Palmae, Papilionaceae, Rosaceae, Rutaceae, Solanaceae and Verbenaceae were the most dominant families in these home gardens (Tables 6 A-C). From a total 58 plant families recorded, Euphorbiaceae had the highest species number (11) followed by Solanaceae, Cucurbitaceae and Poaceae (8 each). Forty nine tree species were distributed in 38 genera and 28 families in the large home garden, followed by 38 tree species belonging to 33 genera and 23 families in the medium size home garden and 35 tree species, 32 genera and 21 families in the small home garden respectively (Table 4 D). Twelve tree species (16%) were common to all the homegardens types and Carrica papaya, Musa paradisiacal and Clerodendrum colebrookianum were found in the entire home garden sampled. Evenness index for trees, shrubs and herbs vary widely among the homegardens and it was maximum for trees (0.748) in large homegardens and minimum for shrubs in small homegardens (0.413). Diversity index for trees was maximum in large homegardens (3.81) followed by small (3.51) and medium (3.49) homegardens. Least species diversity was recorded for shrubs in small homegardens (2.03). Similarity index for trees, shrubs and herbs among medium and large homegarden were comparatively higher then others (Table 5). The species like Curcuma longa, Brassica juncea, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Eryngium foetida, Cocos nucifera, Colocasia esculenta, Trevesia palmata, Artocarpus heterophyllus and Cucurbita maxima were recorded in more than 70% of the homegardens surveyed in the district. The mean tree species in traditional home gardens of Mizoram is ca. 40; shrubs ca. 33 and herbs ca. 72 individual per home garden. Overall, the plants species (herbs, shrubs and trees) were distributed contagiously (100%). The distribution pattern of tree species is contagious in agroforestry home gardens ecosystem, revealing the absence of a regular and random distribution pattern. A contagious or clumped distribution of trees, shrubs and herbs is an indication of clusteredness of species

throughout the indigenous home gardens and the contagious distribution has been accepted as more a characteristic pattern of plant occurrence in nature (Odum, 1971). Thus, it is evident that the farmers have understood this natural concept through time and have adopted the strategy for introducing tree species into their home gardens. The species diversity of trees was more in large home garden, followed by medium and small home garden and the similar trend was also recorded for shrubs and herbs species. Species diversity index values in the homegardens is high and the diversity index in the present study was higher than that of the index value of 3.93 in the homegardens of Sri Lanka (Kharal 2000), 1.9-2.7 in the homegardens of Thailand (Gajaseni and Gajaseni 1999) and the value of 3.21 in Karnataka (Shastri et al., 2002). The diversity increased with increase in holding size. Mendez et al., (2001) in their study of Nicaraguan homegardens also reported that higher number of species was found in the larger homegardens. Also the Evenness value in the present study is much higher than the recorded value of 0.282-0.705 in Kerala homegardens (Kumar et al., 1994). The high species richness index in the home gardens of Mizoram indicates that the number of species in the area is very high and also the distribution of individuals in all the species is significant with low dominance. Also the higher index value indicates that the system is more stable and mature and therefore selfsustaining and has the capacity to generate high production output under low input conditions. The high diversity in the homegardens is the result of selection of species by the owners with utility of the specific products as the main criterion. The diversity recorded by them was comparable to our results. Besides climatic and geographic location, the species diversity also depends on site representativeness; plot dimension, various attributes and the extent of human interaction in the past and present. Trees species diversity and richness was also closely related with soil fertility level, particularly the soil organic matter. Total tree density was higher in the large home garden (294 individual ha-1) and followed by medium size home gardens (248 individual ha-1) and small home garden

(182 individual ha-1). The density of tree species was greater in the large home gardens as compared to the other gardens. The shrub and herb layer were well represented in all the home gardens with a basal area contribution of 7.32% and 2.46% respectively in the large home gardens, 2.39% and 1.48% in the medium size home gardens and 0.72% and 0.88% in the small sized home gardens. In the large home gardens Schima wallichi (IVI 9.321 and density 5.8 individual ha-1), Melia azedaratchta (IVI 9.125 and density 6.2 individual ha-1), Samania saman (IVI 8.728 and density 2.7 individual ha-1), Saprosma ternatum (IVI 7.980 and density 2.2 individual ha-1), Mimusops elengi (IVI 7.564 and density 8.0 individual ha-1), Persea americana (IVI 7.431 and density 9.3 individual ha-1) and Artocarpus heterophyllus (IVI 5.703 and density 7.1 individual ha-1) were the dominant tree species. In the medium home gardens species like Areca cathechu (IVI 10.485 and density 27.1 individual ha-1), Tamarindus indica (IVI 10.238 and density 8.0 individual ha-1), Duabanga sonneratioides (IVI 10.204 and density 4.0 individual ha-1), Mangifera indica (IVI 9.568 and density 8.9 individual ha-1); Parkia timoriana (IVI 8.742 and density 13.3 individual ha-1), Gmelina arborea (IVI 7.848 and density 8.4 individual ha-1), Citrus anamensis (IVI 7.234 and density 11.6 individual ha-1), Psidium guajava (IVI 6.783 and density 11.6 individual ha-1) were the dominant tree species and the small size home gardens species like Mangifera indica (IVI 15.067 and density 6.7 individual ha-1), Psidium guajava (IVI 11.157 and density 8.9 individual ha-1), Artocarpus heterophyllus (IVI 10.746 and density 7.6 individual ha-1), Schima wallichi (IVI 10.699 and density 6.9 individual ha-1), Parkia timoriana (IVI 10.475 and density 4.9 individual ha-1), Semecarpus anacardium (IVI 9.629 and density 8.9 individual ha-1) Tamarindus indica (8.120 and density 5.8 individual ha-1) were the dominant tree species. Shrub species like Musa paradisiaca, Musa acuminate, Citrus limon, Thysanolaena maxima, Hibiscus macrophyllus were dominant in the large home garden and Musa paradisiaca, Musa velutina, Capsicum annum, Cajanus cajan, Clerodendron colebrokianum, Ocium sanctum were dominant in the medium size home gardens and in the small home garden Musa paradisica, Zea mays,

Clerodendron infortunatum, Carica papaya, Amaranthus caudatus, Bauhinia variegata and Hibiscus sabdaiffa were the dominant shrubs species. Among the herbs, Calamus tenuis, Curcumphera longiflora, Spilenthes acmella, Colocasia affinis, Centella asiatica and Allium hookerii in the large home gardens; Phaseolus vulgaris, Brassica rapa, Sechium eduli, Curcuma longa, Colocasia esculenta and Cucurbita maxima in the medium size home gardens; and species like Annanas comosus, Spilenthes acmella, Allium hookerii, Ageratum conyzoides and Ipomea batata dominated the small home gardens (Tables 6 A-C). The importance value (IVI) distribution curve of tree species indicates that more than one tree species share the dominance in the community in all the home gardens. Nevertheless, the similarity indices determined for tree, shrubs and herbs showed maximum similarity indices between the large sized and medium sized home gardens. Least similarity of plant species were observed among large and small sized home gardens (Table 5). The homegardens of the Aizawl district of Mizoram were like other tropical homegardens for producing subsistence farming systems. The high diversity and complexity in the structure of homegardens fulfill a range of social, economic and ecological functions. These indigenous homegardens also contribute to the in situ conservation of plant genetic resources including many rare and underutilized species besides reducing the pressure on nearby forest areas for the extraction of fuel wood and other non-timber forest products. Home gardens at Mamit district: The size ranged from 144 m2 to 0.9 ha with a mean of 0.3 ha area. The average homegarden size in small category was 1152 m2, 3895 m2 in medium and 8500 m2 in large gardens in the three different villages. The altitudinal range varies from 56 m asl to 960 m asl. The location of the homegarden in the three villages ranged from 234858.2 N to 235453.5 N latitude and 922941.9 E 922527.4 E longitude.


A total of 107 species were recorded from the different homegardens of Mamit district out of which 54% were trees, 14% were shrubs, 25 % were herbs and 7% were climbers representing 48 families and comprising of 87 genera. Species composition was more in the small garden than the medium and large gardens and least was observed in the large gardens (Table 4E). In all the homegarden types trees dominated followed by herbs and shrubs (Table 2). Similarity index shows that the vegetation compositions were not so similar among the different sizes of homegardens but similarity was highest between the large and medium sized homegardens. The Shannon Weaver index shows a higher diversity of trees and shrubs in the small homegarden (H= 3.28) as compared to the medium and large homegardens. The diveristy index was least in the medium size homegardens which means that only few species were mode abundant. Species like Areca catehu, Citrus macroptera var anamensis and Camellia sinensis were more abundant than others in the medium sized homegardens but many other fruit and tree species were equally abundant in the small sized homegardens like Tectona grandis, Coffea Arabica, Clerodendrum colebrookianum, Mangifera indica, Areca catechu, Psidium guajava etc. The dominance index also shows that only a few species dominated the homegardens in medium sized homegardens ( = 0.076) as compared to large and small homegardens. Areca catechu and Camellia sinensis dominated the medium sized homegardens. The evenness index shows that in large sized homegardens most of the species are equally abundant (E = 0.83) than medium sized and small sized (Table 4E). Vertical stratification of home garden: The most frequently reported species were Parkia timoriana, Psidium guajava, Mangifera indica, among trees and. Cucurbita maxima, Colocasia esculenta and Brassica juncea dominated the herbs category. P. timoriana provides protein rich green pods and latter two species provide fruits that can be marketed locally. At the family level, Solanaceae, Poaceae, Papillionaceae and Euphorbiaceae demonstrated the highest floristic importance in homegardens. The

composed species in the homegardens structurally resembled the adjacent forests having 3-4 storied vegetation structure. The uppermost canopy usually consists of protein rich leguminous tree Parkia timoriana which forms the principal crop of these homegardens in the highland of Mizoram.. This topmost layer also includes species like Artocarpus heterophyllus, Schima wallichii, Quercus serrata, etc which extends from 10-16 m. The most conspicuous characteristics of all homegardens irrespective of their size are their layered canopy arrangements and admixture of compatible species. The canopy layer from 3-10 m were constituted by other fruit trees like guava, papaya, banana, Prunus, Citrus, Trevesia palmata, etc and the lowest canopy is occupied by Clerodendrum colebrookianum, woody climbers like Acacia pennata and Eleagnus latifolia etc. up to 2-3 m (Fig. 6). Herbaceous vegetables, tubers and climbers constituted the ground layer. Relationship between number of species and species density with homegarden size: There is an increasing trend in the number of tree species encountered with an increase in the size of the homegarden (Figure 7) but a negative correlation with the species density per 100 m2 and the size of the garden (Figure 8). An increasing trend in the number of tree species encountered with increasing in size of the homegarden may be due to the fact that farmers with more area of landholdings devote a portion of the land for tree lots for use as timber, firewood etc, similar to the micro-zonation in Barak valley in Assam. A gradual decrease in the mean species density per 100 m 2 from small to medium, large and commercial homegardenswas also noticed in Thrissur district of Kerala, India (Mohan, 2004). This shows that farmers with smaller homegarden area try to maximize the efficiency of resource use like water, space and nutrients by increasing the plant densities. A positive correlation between the homegarden area and overall species in the homegardens was observed in Nepal but in our present study the relationship appears to be weak. The floristic similarity in the three villages may be due to their location in the same eco-climatic zone.


C. Homegarden plant use All species encountered in the homegarden were found very useful for several purposes. Amongst the different homegarden category large gardens have higher mean number of timber, fruit trees and vegetables as compared to small and medium (Table 7).The households cited most species as useful for food (45%) followed by medicine (13%) fuelwood (12%) ornamental (9%) and timber (7%). Of the 199 recorded plants 132 have only one indicated use, while 58 had more than one attributed utility, in Champhai district. Parkia timoriana, Psidium guajava, Clerodendron colebrookianum, Mangifera indica, Prunus domestica, Trevesia palmate, Citrus grandis, Schima wallichii, Carica papaya and Quercus serrata are the most important trees which provided multiple use to the farmers in the eastern Mizoram highlands (Table 8). Similarly, a good number of shrubs, herbs and climbers are a good source of multiple use and income to the farmers (Tables 8 and 13). All plant species in the homegardens were useful to farmers in some way or the other and ten categories of uses were recorded. Although many of the plants had multiple uses only the major use of the plant as informed by the farmers were considered for allotting the category. The study shows that vegetables are the major component of the homegarden in the highlands of eastern Mizoram followed by timber trees, fruits and NWFP trees. A total of 50 species (24%) were used as vegetable, 37 species (18%) as timber (also as firewood), 31 species (16%) as fruits, 21 species (11%) as NWFP, 19 species (10%) as ornamental, 16 species (8%) as medicinal, 11 species (6%) comes under others (miscellaneous uses like for making brooms, shade trees, etc.), 8 species (4%) as spices, 4 species (2%) for fodder and 2 species (1%) as stimulant (Figure 9).All plant species in the homegardens were useful to farmers in some way or the other and ten categories of uses were recorded. Although many of the plants had multiple uses only the major use of the plant as informed by the farmers were considered for allotting the category. The study shows that vegetables

are the major component of the homegarden in the highlands of eastern Mizoram followed by timber trees, fruits and NWFP trees. A total of 50 species (24%) were used as vegetable, 37 species (18%) as timber (also as firewood), 31 species (16%) as fruits, 21 species (11%) as NWFP, 19 species (10%) as ornamental, 16 species (8%) as medicinal, 11 species (6%) comes under others (miscellaneous uses like for making brooms, shade trees, etc.), 8 species (4%) as spices, 4 species (2%) for fodder and 2 species (1%) as stimulant (Fig. 9). Vegetables was the major plant use group practiced by the gardeners in Mamit (Fig. 10) and Kolashib (Fig. 11) too. Other plant use groups in these districts slightly vary from each other and minor variations also noticed between the garden sizes. D. Homegarden energetic The yield of homegarden products varied between the gardens, and was directly related to the species diversity. The total yield was higher; the yield per unit area was more in small gardens and decreased with increase in garden size (Table 9). The yield in terms of gross income per unit area similarly was higher in small gardens compared to medium and large ones because of the lower labour costs associated in the former than the later. It was observed that the major energy input to the homegardens were labour and in the small gardens labour inputs were only from household members whereas in the large gardens external hired labours were used for the energy requirements especially during the harvesting and showing of crops. External labours were represented both by male and female workers with slightly higher participation from the female workers in the age group 22-35. One man-hour human labour was assigned 1.96 MJ energy and 1 woman-hour as 1.57 MJ and total energy input inclusive of seeds and manures/fertilizers worked out to be 125 MJ, 38 MJ and 31 MJ per 100 m-2 in small, medium and large gardens. Major output of the gardens was vegetables, rhizome, seeds, pods, and fruits etc which were usually for household consumption and sale of surplus after adequate savings of seeds for the

following year. Total energy output was 3728 MJ, 1365 MJ and 1452 MJ in the small, medium and large homegarden respectively and the energy efficiency was found to significantly vary from 27 in small garden 54 in large garden (P< 0.04). E. Homegarden economics Virtually all species in the homegarden have a multiple use. Higher number of species in the large homegardens obviously contributed to higher production resulting into availability of more products for sale after household consumption. Sale of surplus was much higher among the larger gardens which were with commercial motives and also among some of the medium size gardens with similar strategies while higher proportion of the products was consumed in the households in most of the smaller gardens. Major portion of the fruit species like P. guajava, C. reticulata, Passiflora edulis, rhizomes like Zingiber officinalis and pods of P. timoriana were sold out in the local market as the production are usually high and not all the products could be consumed within the household. The monetary input significantly vary from ` 928 per 100 m2 in small to ` 228 per 100 m2 in large gardens (P<0.02) while there is no significant difference for the monetary output and the output-input ratio significantly varies from 2.6 in small to 6.6 in large gardens (P<0.05) (Table 10). The mean financial value of homegardens based on benefits and costs revealed higher net income in the large garden (Table 11) compared to the small and medium ones, however, since the intensity of production was greater in small gardens, the intensity of profit generation (mean profit/unit area) obviously was more in small garden. It was observed that a significant fraction of the profit was consumed by the farmers of small gardens in obtaining their daily requirements. Poorer households (small garden farmers) consumes proportionately less and sell more than the better off households (well developed gardens), therefore the profit generated was highest in small gardens and lowest in large gardens. The contribution of homegarden products to the total

household income was higher from large garden (52%) while lower (29.0%) from the small garden (Table 12). This implies that the medium and large garden posses more liquid cash with which they may procure household products. However, the income generation from the garden irrespective of their size was subjected to market demand and quantum availability of a particular homegarden product. There was no fixed seasonality /time for harvest of homegarden products. Typically, the subsistence plants were harvested daily or according to the requirements. It was observed that when the products were used to supplement the dietary requirement as was the case with small gardens, they were sold for liquid cash. Although income generation was an important component of all homegardens for large gardens, it was given less importance by the smaller/poorer farmers who preferred more diversity and higher range of production and their contribution to livelihood of the households. Economic benefits Home gardening in Mizoram is an integrated method of home production systems with primary function of subsistence food production and family income. Unlike jhum, homegardens provide a certainty on food supply to the farmers year round, thereby not only meeting the dietary requirement but also regular cash needs of the family through sell of various products. According to a conservative estimate, a household can earn a monthly income of INR 3,000/ to INR5,000/ depending on crop composition, size of the garden and management. Table 13 presents the average annual yield and monetary values of a few important plants grown in these homegardens. The main crops sold in the local market are Sechium edule, Parkia timoriana, Passiflora edulis, Persea americana, Carica papaya, Citrus anamensis, C. limon, C. reticulata, Allium hookerii, Areca cathechu, Ananas comosus and Zingiber officinalis. The commonly sold vegetables include pumpkin, cucumber, ladys-finger etc and seasonal fruits like mango, orange, banana, grapes, pineapple, jack fruit, amla, tamarind etc. Majority of the farmers sell more than 60% of their produce for income generation while the rest are used for family consumption. Besides many

other vegetable, fruit, flowers, bulbs/corms, fonds, medicinal plants also provide them a good economic return throughout the year. The role of homegardens in generating additional cash income has been emphasized by many workers (Christanty 1990; Torquebiau 1992; Mendez et al. 2001). Studies across different regions indicate a wide variation in the proportion of homegarden products that are used for household consumption as opposed to sale. In West Java, as much as two-thirds of the homegarden production is reported to be sold (Jensen 1993), but only 28% of such products were sold in South African homegardens, the remainder being used for household consumption (High and Shackleton 2000). Nevertheless, the proportion of this products sold to the market is linked to the amount of cash income available to a household. A higher proportion of homegarden products selling getting marketed reveal that the home gardening is becoming commercialized in Mizoram. However, we could not evaluate the various non-market benefits of the homegarden. It was told that such benefits were important to the farmers. It was observed that the management of these gardens was done using mostly the traditional indigenous knowledge. The management of trees and shrubs were done according to the farmers requirements. For example, the small tree Clerodendrum colebrookianum is pollarded at a height not above 1.5 m. Bamboos are usually grown on the lower slopes of the garden. Tea is not pruned unlike in the conventional tea gardens and is planted among Citrus maxima and Artocarpus heterophyllus for shading. Seasonal vegetable growing areas are more open and located adjacent or nearest to the residential house. Mangoes are grown among/under other trees whereas guavas are grown in closer spacing in open areas. Characteristics of different home gardens: Differnt characteristics of homegardens (Table 14) reveal that while small sized gardens are practiced on steep slopes, medium and large-sed gardens are practiced on gentle slopes in Mizoram. Various attributes of the gardens support that the small gardens are more sustainable than the

medium and large-sized garden. Since the large sized garden owners do not have the habit of saving money for gardening, they can not hire and pay labour in managing their garden resulting into low productivity. Large sized gardens require more monetary input and quality planting materials for sustaining productivity. On the other hand, small gardens prove to be more sustainable because the gardeners use their family labour for management of garden activities.

F. Tree-crop interactions (Allelopathic interference): a. Effects of aqueous leaf extracts on germination I. Bioassays Soybean: The extracts were less inhibitory to soybean germination, except 20% extract concentration of T. indica resulting in 48% reduction over control (Fig. 12). All trees extracts significantly suppressed the shoot length and the influence was concentration dependent as evident from low RER (Fig. 13). T. indica extract at highest concentration was most inhibitory to both shoot and root lengths. A. heterophyllus significantly suppressed the root length at all concentrations level of the extracts (Fig. 14). However, dilution lessened the magnitude of root length inhibition by all trees leaf extracts. Maize: The leaf extracts had no discerning effect on germination of maize. This was true for all the five homegarden trees (Fig. 12). The extracts of A.heterophyllus and M.indica also had no inhibitory effect on shoot elongation while those of A. catechu, T.indica and C. indica suppressed shoot length at 16 and 20% extract concentrations (Fig. 13). The root elongation got suppressed significantly by leaf extracts at 20% concentration whereas at lower concentrations (4, 8 and 16%), the inhibitory effect was minimal (Fig. 14). Paddy: The leaf extract of A. catechu suppressed germination of paddy by 15-35%, the highest being at 20% and lowest at 4% extract concentration. Other species, however, did not influence seed germination in paddy (Fig. 14). The extracts of

A.catechu, C.indica and T. indica at 20% concentration suppressed shoot elongation over 55% and at 8 and 16% concentrations by 20-40% when compared with control (Fig. 13). On the other hand root elongation was inhibited by all the five tree species as evident by low RER (Fig. 14) and the highest inhibition (30% over control) was observed at 20% extract concentration. Chilli: The leaf extract of M. indica inhibited germination in chilli irrespective of their concentration. This was also true in case of C. indica but at 20% concentration (Fig. 12). A. catechu, A. heterophyllus and T. indica also showed suppressed germination at 20% extract concentration. The inhibition in shoot length was clearly a concentration dependent in A. heterophyllus as is evident from a gradual decrease in RER with an increase extract concentration from 4 to 20% (Fig. 13). The extracts of C. indica and T.indica also caused reduction in shoot length over 70.0% compared to control at 20% extract concentration. The extracts of A. heterophyllus and T.indica suppressed the root length of chilli which ranged from 35.2 to 76.4% while the leaf extract of M.indica had no discerning effect on root length irrespective of concentration (Fig. 14). Ladys finger: The leaf extract of home garden tree species had differential response with respect to germination in ladys finger. The extracts of M. indica and C.indica had strong inhibitory effect on germination compared to those of A. catechu and T. indica which were less inhibitory. A. heterophyllus, on the other hand, did not influence germination. The extracts of all tree species (except A. catechu) suppressed shoot elongation wherein the effects got reduced with decrease in extracts concentration (Fig. 13). Similar trend was also observed for root length. This was clearly evident at 4% extract concentration wherein the inhibition to root elongation was completely nullified for T. indica (Fig. 14). The inhibition in seed germination was concentration dependent i.e. increase in concentration exerted more inhibition (Rice, 984) and various species varied in their response to different leachates (Assaeed and Al-Doss, 1997). The inhibitory effect of leaf extracts was more prominent on germination in chilli. Shoot length was

adversely affected in ladys finger, whereas the root elongation was suppressed in paddy. The germination inhibited followed the order: Artocarpus heterophyllus: chilli > ladyfinger > soybean > paddy > maize; Mangifera indica: chilli > lady finger > soybean > maize > paddy; Areca catechu: ladyfinger > chilli > paddy > soybean > maize; Citrus indica: chilli > ladyfinger > soybean > maize > paddy; Tamarindus indica: Soybean > lady finger > chilli > paddy > maize (Table 15). Various other studies conducted elsewhere also revealed allelopathic suppression in soybean, maize and chilli. Melia azedarach, Morus alba and Moringa oleifera leaf leachates inhibited the germination, radicle and plumule growth of soybean (Kumar et al., 2009). However, leaf leachates of Aporusa octandra, Anthocephalus chinensis and Albizia procera did not affect the germination and radicle length of soybean (Kumar et al., 2008). Teak and Leucaena leaf extracts inhibited the radicle extension of maize. Leaf extracts of selected legumes were reported to have inhibitory effect on seedling growth of maize and rice (Akobundu, 1986). The plants parts contains allelochemicals, their release in soil can either inhibit or promote germination, growth and development of plants (Tukey, 1969) and our germination results do agree with it. In our study the germination was promoted by A. heterophyllus extracts in chilli (at 8 & 16% concentration), ladys finger (at 8, 16 & 20% concentrations), both maize and soybean (at 20% concentration); M. indica extracts in paddy (at 4, 8 & 20% concentrations), lady finger (at 16% concentration); A. catechu extracts in soybean (at 8% concentration); Citrus species extracts in paddy (at 4% concentration), chilli (at 20% concentration) and ladys finger in all treatments. II. Pot Culture: Soybean: The leaf extracts of different tree species (except Tamarindus at 20% concentration) did not influence the germination of soybean. (Table 15). Shoot length was most adversely affected by Tamarindus, whereas, Artocarpus reduced only at higher concentration. The other tree species had variable responses with change in

concentrations (Fig. 15). Similarly, root length was adversely affected most by Artocarpus and Tamarindus (Fig. 16). All tree species extracts reduced the dry matter production at 16 and 20% concentrations (Fig. 15). However, the Tamarindus extracts were inhibited at all concentrations. The reduction in dry matter may be ascribed to the suppressed shoot and root growth. Maize: The extracts of A. heterophyllus and T.indica prevented germination of maize at 20% concentration by 23% and 33% respectively over control (Table 15). A.catechu and C.indica inhibited shoot elongation only at higher level of extract concentration. Similarly both A. heterophyllus and M. indica at highest level of extract concentration reduced root length by 26% over control (Fig. 16). It was observed that while A. catechu suppressed dry matter production at 8% extract concentration but for T. indica it was noticed at 20% concentration. Paddy: Leaf extract application of the donor trees had no significant influence on the germination of paddy (Table 17). Similar was also the case for dry matter production. However, all the trees had stimulatory effect on shoot length of the test crop (Fig. 15). Root length was significantly inhibited by A. heterophyllus at higher concentrations of leaf extracts i.e at, 16 and 20% levels (Fig. 16). Chilli: Germination in chilli was most significantly suppressed by leaf extract of A. heterophyllus at 20% concentration (Table 15). The dry matter production of the test crop was enhanced with application of leaf extract at 8% concentration for C. indica and at 16 and 20% concentration levels for A. catechu; other species however, did not affect dry matter production (Fig.17). Shoot length of the test crop was most suppressed by A. heterophyllus and C. indica at 8 and 16% extract concentrations (Fig. 16). Similarly root length of the test crop was suppressed by A. heterophyllus and T. indica at 16 and 20% extract concentration (Fig. 15). Ladys finger: All the donor tree species suppressed seed germination of ladys finger at 20% extract concentration which ranged from 22.5% ( A. heterophyllus) to 27.9% (T. indica) (Table 17). The application of leaf extract of the trees had differential response on dry matter production of the test crop (Fig. 15). For example,

at lowest concentration A. catechu inhibited dry matter production by 40% over control and its effect got reduced with increase in higher concentration. On the contrary, C. indica showed more inhibition at higher extract concentration levels. Opposite was the case with T. indica which showed promotion in dry matter production with increase extract concentration. It was only M. indica which showed a clear trend of promotion on dry matter production at all concentrations. All tree species exhibited significant inhibitory effect on shoot length of the test crop at 16 and 20% levels (Fig. 16). Although no clear concentration-depended trend was noticed on the root length, two donor species viz. M. indica and A. heterophyllus promoted of root length at lowest (4% ) and highest (20%) extract concentrations respectively (Fig. 17) while other species inhibited the root length of the test crop. The germination increased with decreasing concentration of extracts in all test crops, similar results were reported elsewhere (Rice, 1984). Compared to control, maximum inhibition in seed germination was exhibited by T.indica followed by C.indica, M. indica, A.heterophyllus and A. catechu. The degree and nature of allelopathic effects varied with crop species. The leaf leachates of Mangifera and Tamarindus inhibited the growth of vegetable crops (Jacob et al., 2007) Of all test crops, germination and seedling vigour was drastically reduced in ladys finger. Many secondary metabolites are released into the environment either as exudation from living plant tissues or by decomposition of plant materials under certain conditions (Chou and Waller, 1980,Chou and Kuo, 1984, Siddiqui and Arif, 2005, Sahoo et al., 2007, Fang et al., 2009). The chemicals like phenolics, terpenoids and alkaloids and their derivatives are inhibitors of germination and seedling growth (Rice, 1974, 1984, Narwal, 1994, Hattenschwiler and Vitousek, 2000). Tamarindus leaf extracts contain flavoinoides (Jacob et al., 2007) which might have caused inhibition in test crops in our study. Castells et al. (2005) concluded that chemical compounds released from Ledum palustre and Empetrum hermaphroditum may circuitously affects both the performance and propagation of P. glauca probably by diminishing the N present in the soil. Capsicum leachate inhibited the germination of

Vigna radiata (L) and at 50 or 75% concentrations reduced the root and shoot growth (Siddiqui and Arif, 2005). The root and shoot growth was inversely correlated to concentration of the leachates as increase in concentration retarded the growth of both root and shoot and eventually reduced the seedling length, our results agrees with these findings. Nevertheless, leaf extracts inhibited the growth of seedlings. The extent of affect depends on their rate of production, leaching amount and their combination time, which they released in the soil (May and Ash, 1990, Narwal, 1994). The leachate solution not only reduced the germination (Sahoo et al., 2007) but also rate of germination and may cause complete failure of germination (Assaeed and Al-Doss, 1997). Our results indicate variation in germination, which agrees with Patil (1994) who reported the same observation with Glyricidia maculata leaf extract in the field. Although it was difficult to relate the bioassay result with the pot culture, there has been clear indication on the role played by higher concentration of leachates either in promotion or inhibition of germination, root and shoot growth of test crops. The inhibitory effect of tree species can be decreased by dilution. G. Decomposition dynamics of home garden tree leaf litter: a. Initial Litter chemistry Initial nutrient and structural components of leaf litter showed variation among the homegarden tree species (Table 16). The highest nitrogen concentration was estimated in T. indica (1.55%) while the lowest value was found in A. heterophyllus (1.21%). Phosphorous concentration did not show any significant difference among the species. Lignin and cellulose contents were maximum in A. heterophyllus (17.50% and 25.30% respectively). On the other hand, minimum lignin and cellulose contents were recorded in T. indica (10.40%) and Citrus spp. (20.50%) respectively. Lignin/N ratio ranged from 6.71 to 14.46 in the order of A. heterophyllus>A. catechu> M. indica>Citrus spp.>T. indica. b. Litter decomposition

The decomposition patterns of leaf litters of the tree species studied were considerably different (Fig. 18). The mass loss of A. heterophyllus leaf litter showed three phased decomposition pattern viz. initial slow phase followed by a faster decomposition phase and again relatively slow decomposition phase. In M. indica leaf litter decomposition almost followed the same patterns but the decomposition was faster than the A heterophyllus litter and the difference among the decomposition phases were more prominent. The A. catechu leaf litter decomposition did not show any distinct phased pattern although there was variation in decomposition rate over the six month period of its decomposition (Fig. 20). Initially the decomposition was rapid following a much slow decomposition rate towards the last phase of decomposition. The T. indica and Citrus sp. leaf litter showed totally different pattern of decomposition compared to the other three types of litter considered in this study. The decomposition pattern was state forward and these two leaf litter samples decomposed more than 80% of their initial mass in three months period and the decomposition of Citrus sp. was complete in the fifth month. The decomposition of Citrus sp. was fastest among all the litter type considered in this study closely followed by the T. indica leaf litter. The decay rate calculated ranged from 3.90 to 8.96 in the order of Citrus spp.>T. indica>M. indica>A. catechu>A. heterophyllus (Table 19). The time taken for 50% decay also varied among the species where maimum time was taken by A. heterophyllus and minimum by Citrus spp. A significant positive correlation was found between decay rate (k) and initial nitrogen concentration in leaf litter (P<0.01). However, phosphorous concentration did not seem to influence the rate of decomposition as no significant correlation was observed. On the other hand, initial lignin and cellulose content and lignin/N ratio showed significant negative correlation with decay rate (P<0.01) of which lignin content was found to be the most influential component (R2 = 0.8906) (Table 20). c. Nutrient release pattern


Nutrient release from the decomposing leaf litter also varied considerably. N release was quite slow from the A. heterophylus leaf litter. In fact, there was no release of N in the initial phase of decomposition of this litter particularly after first month and the immobilization of N took place which increased the N concentration in the litter mass upto 90 days of incubation. After this phase of immobilization the N release was faster from the third month of decomposition (Fig. 19a) In case of A. catechu, although no immobilization was observed, N release was slower till the end of third month. In T. indica and Citrus sp. the N release was rapid from the first month onwards. The P was released gradually in all the leaf litter and was faster than the release of N although there were some variations (Fig. 19b). Lignin and cellulose loss from the decomposing litter mass did not show much variation among the species. Initially (0-30 days), 9-19% of the initial lignin was lost, the highest being from A. catechu and the lowest from Citrus spp. Thereafter, the rate of loss slowed down during subsequent months and at the end of the decomposition period 55-61% of initial lignin still remained in the litter mass (Fig. 18). Similarly, loss of cellulose also showed similar pattern resulting in 9-23% loss during the initial month. The maximum loss was recorded in M. indica and the minimum was observed in A. heterophyllus. At the end of the study period, about 41-56% of the initial cellulose remained in the litter mass (Fig.20). At the end, among the five tree species, the two components remained the highest in A. heterophyllus and the lowest in M. indica. Decomposition dynamics Many literatures suggest that litter quality and environmental factors play important role in determining the plant litter decomposition pattern. Substrate quality, climate and quality and quantity of decomposer organisms are the primary determinants of litter quality rates (Swift et al., 1979). In the present study, leaf litter of the different homegarden tree species showed varying pattern of decomposition. As the environmental factors remained same for all the species, the variations in the decay

pattern and decay rate may be attributed to the litter quality and the soil organisms acted upon it. Litter with low lignin and high nitrogen contents are generally considered good quality material for decomposition (Young, 1997). Presence of high resistant materials such as lignin in leaf litter makes decomposition process slow as it physically interferes with the decay of other chemical fractions by resisting enzymatic attack (Isaac and Nair, 2006). As the lignin degradation is slow, the consequence is that the decomposition rate of whole litter will be slow (Berg et al., 1982). Initial N content showed positive correlation and lignin & lignin/N were negatively correlated with the decay rate suggesting these litter traits to be the best predictors of decomposition in the present study which also conforms to the findings of Isaac and Nair (2006) and Mafongoya et al. (1998). For A. heterophyllus, in the initial two months the litter decomposed only around 20 % of its initial mass but in the following two months the mass loss was about 40% and after that phase the decomposition became gradually slow where only 16% and 7% mass loss took place in subsequent tow months respectively. It took six months to decompose more than 85 % of its initial mass. This pattern of decomposition can be attributed to the initial chemical composition of the leaf litter of this species (Table 16). The lignin concentration of this leaf litter is quite high (17.50 %) and lignin nitrogen ratio is also maximum (14.46%) which might have caused the initial slow decomposition. The microbial colonization might have been slow due to high lignin and cellulose content and low N content. The slow decomposition of leaf litter towards the end of the decomposition may be due to major release of N from the litter mass during mid decomposition phase and slow decomposition of lignin and cellulose components (Fig. 20) as suggested by Reid (1995) and Austin and Vitousek (2000). The dependence of decomposition of litter mass on the initial chemical chemistry was also observed in Artocarpus hirsutus Lamk. leaf litter decomposition by Isaac et al. (2004). In case of M. indica too, we can relate the nature of decomposition pattern with initial litter quality. In A. catechu although the N content was higher than the previous two leaf litters but due to high lignin and cellulose content and lignin/N ratio

ultimately resulted in slower decay rate after mid decomposition period. On the other hand, the faster rate of decomposition in T. indica and Citrus spp. may be due to the high N content of leaf litters and significantly lower lignin/N ratio. Douglas and Richkman (1992) also reported that plant residues with high N content decompose faster. Our study also revealed higher decay rates compared to the values for many multipurpose tree species reported earlier in India (Jamaludheen and Kumar, 1999; Semwal et al., 2003; Isaac and Nair, 2006; Das and Das, 2010).

Nutrient dynamics At the end of the decay period, N and P contents were found to decline relative to the weight of the litter suggesting release of these elements. Nitrogen, the most common limiting factor in litter decomposition determines the growth and turnover microbial mineralizing organic carbon (Bo et al., 2006). In this study nitrogen dynamics showed varying pattern in decomposing litter of different species revealing initial decline of N concentration followed by net accumulation and release in some species (Fig. 19a). A three phase pattern of N release was obtained in A. heterophyllus and M. indica an initial release followed by immobilization and faster release. However, in M. indica, N immobilization was observed only between 30-60 days of incubation while in the former immobilization occurred upto 90 days period. The initial release or decline in concentration can be attributed to leaching of the soluble form of nitrogen and the second phase is to binding of N to lignin and polyphenols in the tissues as suggested by Palm and Sanchez (1990). As decay advanced mineralization resulted in the decline of the elements in residual litter and this accounted for its release (Isaac and Nair, 2006). Net release or net immobilization can be predicted from the C/N ratio or N concentration of the litter (Bo et al., 2006). Plant material with C/N ratio <25 and N>1.7% generally mineralize while those with <1.7%, C/N ratio>25 lead initially to immobilization of mineral N (Constantinides and Fownes,

1994; Myers et al., 1994; Seneviratne, 2000). In our study, we did not estimate C/N ratio, therefore correlation of N release with this litter quality parameter could not be established. Nevertheless none of the species had more than 1.7% of N in their leaf litter; yet initial immobilization and slow release of N revealed by A. heterophyllus and M indica can be due to other important modifying factors such as lignin content and the lignin/N ratio which provide effective index for nitrogen release pattern (Melillo et al., 1982; Myers et al,. 1994). In case of A. catechu, Citrus spp. and T. indica N release was faster and did not show any immobilization. In the latter two species, higher N concentration, low lignin and significantly lesser lignin/N ratio might have contributed to mineralization and faster release of N. However, This trend could not be ascribed to the above litter quality traits for A. catechu because of its inferior litter chemistry as compared to M. indica where we obtained a slower N release and immobilization. Other litter parameters such as C/N ratio, which was not calculated in our study, might explain this deviation. Bockheim et al., 1991 and Isaac and Nair, 2006 observed that phosphorous concentration increased initially followed by a decrease in decaying leaf litter, the decrease being attributed to microbial immobilization. On the contrary we did not obtain immobilization pattern for this element. P content declined rapidly contributing to its faster release till 90 days period in all the species followed by a slow release thereafter. To explain these phenomena we can hypothesize that litter quality traits particularly initial Phosphorus content and C/P ratio influenced the phosphorus release pattern for the leaf litter of the tree species studied which again needs to be ascertained through proper experimentation. During decomposition, soluble compounds from leaf litter are rapidly lost followed by polysaccharides, cellulose, hemicelluloses and lastly lignin (Wedderburn and Carten, 1999). High concentration of cellulose and lignin hinder the attack of decomposing microorganisms, reducing decomposition rate (Gallardo and Merino, 1993). Unlike some reports where lignin and cellulose were found to remain more or less stable or increased during decomposition (Costa et al., 2005; Greggio et al., 2008), in our study these components reduced significantly after six months

period. This could also be one of the reasons for much higher decay rate obtained for the species in the present investigation. However further studies are needed to establish this hypothesis. Effects of canopy on the germination and growth of some agriculture crops. Germination profiles of the 5 important agricultural crops are presented in the form of graphs (Fig. 21-23). Germinations do not shows too much variation under the tested conditions, as most of them germinated almost at the same time. The mean root length of maize (Fig. 24) showed least value under Canopy I (full canopy), more or less the same in both the other two canopies. But the shoot length appears to be greatest under canopy II followed by canopy III and least under canopy I (Fig. 25). Seedling root length of bean and ladyfinger shows maximum value in canopy III least under canopy I in bean but the root length of ladyfinger was shortest under canopy II (Fig. 26 & 28), and the seedling shoot length of bean under canopy II showed highest followed by canopy I and then canopy III (Fig. 7), while in ladyfinger, shoot length under canopy I showed maximum growth and least under canopy III (Fig. 29). Seedling root length in case of chilli showed unequivocally greatest under canopy III (Fig. 30 & 31) and the mean value for root length under both canopies I & II show more or less the same trend (Fig. 30), but under canopy I the shoot length appears to have the longest length followed by canopy III and canopy II (Fig. 31). Mustard seedling root length under canopy II seems to proliferate (Fig. 12) but its shoot length appears to have the least under the same condition (Fig. 33). Mustard mean value for root length and shoot length does not vary much in all the tested condition (Fig. 32 & 33) nevertheless; the mean value for root length was highest under canopy II (Fig. 32).The variation in the light intensities and temperature at the experimental site were presented in Figure 34. Notice that, the different in the amount of light intensity in all the canopies vary greatly. Our present data shows that plant growth parameters like shoot length and root length in the tested important agricultural crops were adversely affected by low light

intensities which can perhaps be the results to reduction in photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) the experimental setup conditions.Several researchers have done excellent work on the effects of light intensities to growth parameters viz. shoot length, dry weight per plant and P up take per plant in plants like P. mungo, T. aestivum, E. tereticornis and A. procera which are adversely affected by lowlight intensities, that could be as a results due to the reduction in photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) under net house circumstance (Shukla et al., 2009). Effects of shading on the nutritional value and chemical composition was also investigated to five tropical grasses namely setaria (Setaria sphacelata cv. Kazungula), green panic (Panicum maximum var. trichoglume cv. Petrie), guinea grass (Panicum maximum cv. Riversdale), signal grass (Bruchiaria decumbens cv. Basilisk) and bahia grass (Paspalum notatum) and compare their content and found out that those grass grown under full sunlight has more herbage and decrease N content except bahia grass. (Norton et al,. 1991) Wilson (1988) exhaustedly examine the effect of shade on pasture growth, Ludlow (1988) also proved that decreasing in light intensity vouch the decrease in yield in most tropical grass species, on the other hand, the shade tolerant grass do not/show little effect or results in increased yield under moderate light intensity (Wong et al,. 1985, Samarakoon et al., 1990a). Handa and Rai (2001) and Newaj et al. (2004) reported the level of light intercepted by the perennial trees under Jhansi condition. Shukla et al. (2008) conducted a novel experiment to investigate how different degrees of light intensities effected the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonization and the growth of two intercrops Phaseolus mungo and Triticum aestivum and seedlings of Eucalyptus tereticornis and Albizia procera found in Central India and concluded that light intensities had affected the growth parameters and phosphorus uptake. Experiment conducted on the effects of shading of five grasses proved that shading decreases yields of setaria, green panic, guinea grass and signal grass (Shukla et al., 2008). It was also shown that shade level had a profound effect to the survival and the subsequent establishment of the two ferns (Stamps et

al., 1994). Data collected on the colonization of P. mungo, T. aestivum, E. tereticornis and A. procera showed delayed formation of arbuscules, vesicles and sporocarp was the result of lower light intensity (Shukla et al., 2008). Colonization index of host roots and spore counts increased with increase in light intensity during successive months after inoculation. Most of the warm-season grasses yields decreased by 35% or more when planted under 50% shade and up to 65% or more under 80% shade intensity (Lin et al., 1999). Upon casual observations air temperature in the full sun and shade environments found in average about 16 C difference between the three canopies (Fig. 35).


1 2 3


TRIPURA Legend: Location of study sites Vairengte Kolasib Thingdawl Selesih/Siphir Sairang Thingsulthlia Chhiatlang Serchip Keithum Darlak Bawngva Dampui Hmunhmeltha Zote Ruantlang/Zotlang


11 12

4 5 6 13 7 8 9 14 15




Map 1: Showing the location of study sites in five districts of Mizoram (not to scale)


Table 1. Physical and microclimatic characteristics of the home gardens of different districts Parameters Large (0.50- 1.00 ha) Latitude (Range) Longitude (Range) Mean altitude (m; asl) Air temperature (C) Soil temperature (C) Light intensity (Lux) Relative humidity (%) Latitude (Range) Longitude (Range) Mean altitude (m; asl) Air temperature (C) Soil temperature (C) Light intensity (Lux) Relative humidity (%) Latitude (Range) Longitude (Range) Mean altitude (m; asl) Air temperature (C) Soil temperature (C) Light intensity (Lux) Relative humidity (%) 234741.5924351.7 1163 24.980.39 24.690.27 8266391 67.701.01 240745.9241310.4 N 924029.5924136.0 E 710 25.0 0.4 32.0 0.8 12560 8012 77.07 3.10 231830.5231916.2N 925123.5925133.6E 1013 22.080.72 26.280.58 8204954 76.402.15 Medium (0.20-0.50 ha) 234829.8923906.0115 28.090.22 27.460.43 8660283 70.583.56 240834.6241448.7 N 924101.4924132.8 E 617 25.8 0.4 30.6 0.4 4873752 75.36 1.30 23 2117.492 5042.2991 22.780.58 26.940.79 129691242 74.322.07 AIZAWL DISTRICT 234133.5234242.7N 925134.6925222.6E 780 28.560.39 28.330.22 9723262 71.162.13 241037.3243003.4 N 923435.2924544.5 E 307 26.4 0.6 31.2 0.4 120005123 76.03 2.80 23 1343.392 5444.7 695 23.640.93 24.880.91 146361367 62.801.52 -234829.4N234844.2N -924358.0E 923912.6E Small (0.10-0.20 ha)


SERCHIP DISTRICT 23 2312.5N23 144.6N 92 5039.1N92 5436.2E


CHAMPHAI DISTRICT Latitude (Range) Longitude (Range) Mean altitude (m; asl) Air temperature (C) Soil temperature (C) Light intensity (Lux) Relative humidity (%) Latitude (Range) Longitude (Range) Mean altitude (m, asl) Air temperature (C) Soil temperature (C) Light intensity (Lux) Relative humidity (%) S.E (n=5) 232631.4 232957.1 N 931925.5932033.5 E 1638 17.33 2.01 20.67 1.57 45660 1862 66.672.30 234859.4 235437.8 N 922452.5 922937.2E 60 32.5 2.01 20.67 1.57 45660 1862 58.882.30 232618.9 233000.0 N 931919.7932138.8 E 1576 19.22 2.27 21.02 1.23 54780 2030 67.40 3.10 234875.4 235547.8 N 922464.7 923077.6E 358 26.4 1.01 19.37 1.48 54845 2062 65.743.25 232620.8 232955.9 N 932011.6932135.9 E 1481 19.30 1.82 21.62 1.80 99014 2230 63.17 2.70 234849.5 235666.8 N 922476.6 923057.4E 940 24.2 1.78 20.42 1.36 65466 2876 63.412.70



Table 2. Soil physico-chemical properties of the home gardens of different districts HOME GARDENS Large Soil depth (cm) Parameters Moisture content (%) WHC (%) Soil texture Sand (%) Silt (%) Clay (%) Textural class pH SOC (%) SOM (%) TKN (%) C/N ratio 54.392.18 50.894.07 31.711.07 30.751.59 13.891.81 18.361.635 Sandy loam Loamy sand 5.720.14 2.440.09 4.190.15 0.630.04 3.880.16 5.140.07 1.820.07 3.140.13 0.510.02 3.550.01 6.780.24 5.900.31 57.551.89 53.371.59 68.181.46 63.081.86 27.851.13 31.660.99 20.250.75 19.161.13 14.603.22 14.950.60 11.561.06 17.750.84 Sandy loam Loamy sand Sandy loam Sandy loam 5.540.26 2.970.06 5.120.09 0.540.05 5.030.48 7.650.24 6.850.12 8.230.3 5.260.14 2.610.09 4.490.15 5.320.17 6.520.34 5.330.24 7.360.44 5.270.07 2.660.12 4.590.21 6.150.56 6.320.32 4.510.52 4.550.29 5.330.12 2.570.08 4.440.14 0.470.05 5.660.35 5.060.13 3.920.11 3.440.3 29.60.61 51.230.63 47.901.71 50.42.21 47.671.78 54.753.67 51.214.03 0-15 15-30 Medium 0-15 15-30 0-15 Small 15-30


0.480.003 0.490.04

NO-3-N (g g-1) 8.420.06 NH+4-N (g g-1) 7.210.32

PO-4-P (g g-1) 12.090.81 9.280.66

KOLASIB DISTRICT Moisture content (%) WHC (%) Soil texture Sand (%) Silt (%) Clay (%) Textural class 55.243.12 53.843.01 33.842.87 34.092.84 10.920.91 11.971.281 Loamy sand Loamy sand 58.322.54 58.134.19 64.433.98 63.193.77 28.861.29 28.171.48 27.693.07 28.372.65 12.821.48 13.692.45 7.900.94 8.431.15 Sandy loam Sandy loam Sandy loam Sandy loam 56 27.90.15 23.170.78 25.930.91 23.862.94 21.961.93 18.930.53 61.442.95 57.631.1 56.971.42 55.863.67 64.482.03 57.032.29

pH SOC (%) SOM (%) TKN (%) C/N ratio

5.030.05 2.090.15 3.60.27 0.580.06 3.680.56

4.780.008 1.070.11 1.840.19 0.430.03 2.600.54 6.170.88 5.180.41 4.950.08

5.150.02 1.810.08 3.120.14 0.400.02 4.240.44 6.220.49 3.390.30 5.710.33

5.120.02 1.250.02 2.150.04 0.330.02 3.720.30 5.600.05 2.580.12 5.110.22

4.770.02 1.260.1 2.180.18 0.230.02 6.840.43 3.360.23 3.310.12 3.610.58

4.950.02 1.010.04 1.740.08 0.160.01 6.301.04 2.760.10 2.450.09 2.230.69

NO-3-N (g g-1) 8.640.26 NH+4-N (g g-1) 5.740.23 PO-4-P (g g-1) 7.051.53 Moisture content (%) WHC (%) Soil texture Sand (%) Silt (%) Clay (%) Textural class pH SOC (%) SOM (%) TKN (%) C/N ratio

SERCHIP DISTRICT 30.210.61 28.360.21 57.521.24 52.872.29 51.580.85 60.243.56 37.790.23 26.252.35 10.621.06 13.51.91 Loamy sand Sandy loam 5.550.16 2.170.09 3.740.16 0.390.04 7.590.51 5.700.02 2.010.09 3.460.16 0.260.03 7.480.62 8.990.17 5.960.06 29.51.41 28.30.68 27.780.38 26.570.57

51.632.05 49.150.78 49.060.88 45.111.87 55.653.43 56.583.31 67.092.87 59.051.41 31.682.06 34.482.19 25.862.22 30.971.35 12.671.38 8.941.11 5.480.09 2.110.07 3.670.12 0.290.03 7.200.67 7.490.62 6.710.61 7.490.66 5.250.12 1.930.06 3.330.11 0.210.02 9.090.81 7.230.41 5.540.46 6.490.17 7.040.67 5.880.05 1.360.15 2.350.25 0.210.01 6.420.67 5.930.37 4.740.30 4.790.61 9.980.41 Loamy sand 5.940.04 1.120.03 1.930.05 0.180.01 6.130.13 5.310.36 3.850.31 3.970.43 Sandy loam Loamy sand Sandy loam

NO-3-N (g g-1) 9.580.59 NH+4-N (g g-1) 7.440.34

PO-4-P (g g-1) 10.720.62 9.390.31

CHAMPHAI DISTRICT Moisture content (%) WHC (%) Soil texture Sand (%) Silt (%) Clay (%) 57.982.57 56.711.87 26.061.56 31.281.49 15.952.08 12.010.55 60.853.64 60.842.45 63.923.33 63.431.16 26.842.79 27.492.20 26.652.00 24.011.98 12.291.56 11.660.28 9.421.33 57 12.571.53 26.521.06 24.161.22 57.392.65 55.545.7 22.190.89 20.530.55 21.311.7 18.810.65 50.180.67 47.292.06 44.153.23 41.321.70

Textural class pH SOC (%) SOM (%) TKN (%) C/N ratio

Sandy loam Loamy sand 5.960.06 1.860.14 3.200.24 0.270.03 7.090.77 5.810.09 1.500.27 2.590.46 0.240.02 6.180.55 6.050.41 4.680.34

Sandy loam Sandy loam Sandy loam Sandy loam 5.850.06 1.230.06 2.110.10 0.210.02 5.940.48 5.950.20 4.920.07 8.211.23 5.530.17 1.140.04 1.960.08 0.180.01 6.340.25 5.180.03 3.810.15 7.410.51 5.650.17 1.220.09 2.110.06 0.160.01 7.811.14 4.160.29 3.240.21 6.170.26 5.350.22 1.070.04 1.850.06 0.140.008 7.940.78 3.010.36 2.580.33 5.610.47

NO-3-N (g g-1) 7.360.97 NH+4-N (g g-1) 5.810.31

PO-4-P (g g-1) 10.210.69 8.870.24

MAMIT DISTRICT Moisture content (%) WHC (%) Soil texture Sand (%) Silt (%) Clay (%) Textural class pH SOC (%) SOM (%) TKN (%) C/N ratio 53.550.76 65.241.22 32.590.23 28.152.44 13.861.06 6.611.91 Sandy loam Loamy sand 5.450.16 2.370.09 4.090.16 0.410.04 5.780.48 5.810.02 2.130.09 3.670.16 0.280.04 7.610.57 10.250.54 6.260.27 52.352.33 49.581.18 62.293.56 59.512.41 35.583.16 37.582.34 29.572.52 32.771.65 12.071.38 12.841.11 8.140.67 Sandy loam Loamy sand Sandy loam 5.680.09 2.230.07 3.840.12 0.370.06 6.030.55 8.730.35 7.410.25 8.570.42 5.370.12 1.790.06 3.090.11 0.240.03 7.460.67 7.760.61 6.330.22 7.510.31 5.680.05 1.260.15 2.170.25 0.220.02 5.730.27 6.240.45 5.140.14 6.190.61 7.720.41 Loamy sand 6.040.04 1.050.03 1.810.05 0.200.03 5.250.43 5.760.22 4.780.15 5.170.32 33.410.51 29.540.41 61.221.76 48.571.59 30.320.89 27.80.55 26.820.38 23.370.71 55.322.55 43.561.21 51.060.95 45.211.27

NO-3-N (g g-1) 9.980.32 NH+4-N (g g-1) 8.140.24

PO-4-P (g g-1) 10.810.52 8.390.31

WHC-Water holding capacity, SOC-Soil organic carbon; SOM- Soil organic matter; TKN- Total Kjeldahl nitrogen.


Table 3. Correlation matrix (r values) of soil nutrients in large, medium and small categories of home gardens Soil organic matter Total N NO-3-N NH+4-N PO-4-P large Medium Small large Medium Small large Medium Small large Medium Small large Medium Small large 1 1 1 Medium 0.700* 1 0.950** 1 0.876** 1 0.874** 1 0.885** 1 Small 0.349 0.824* 1 0.744* 0.880** 1 0.754* 0.922** 1 0.904** 0.945** 1 0.657* 0.842* 1

* Significant at 0.05 and ** Significant at 0.01

Home garden categories

6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 2 4 6 8 large Medium Sm all Linear (Sm all) Linear (Medium ) Linear (large)

10 12

Soil organic matter (%)

Fig. 1. Soil organic matter (SOM %) in different categories (Large, Medium and small) of home gardens

Home garden categories

0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 large Medium Sm all L inear (Sm all) L inear (Medium ) L inear (large)

Total nitrogen (%) Fig. 2. Total nitrogen (TKN %) in the soils of different categories (Large, Medium and small) of home gardens


Home garden categories

1 2 1 0 8 6 4 2 0 0 2 large M edium S all m L inear (S all) m L inear (M edium ) L inear (large)

Ammonium (g g-1)

1 0

1 2

Fig. 3. Ammonium (NO-3-N (g g-1)) in the soils of different categories (Large, Medium and small) of home gardens

Home garden categories

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 large M edium Sm all L inear (Sm all) L inear (M edium ) L inear (large)

Nitrate (g g-1)

Fig. 4. Nitrate (NH+4-N (g g-1)) in different categories (Large, Medium and small) of home gardens


Home garden categories

14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 large M edium Sm all L inear (Sm all) L inear (M edium ) L inear (large)

0 4 8 12 Fig. 5 Phosphate 2 -4-P (g g-1)) in 6 (PO different categories10 (Large, Medium and small) of home gardens Phosphate (g g-1)

Table 4 (A). Phyto-sociological analysis and community indices of large, medium and small home gardens in Aizawl district of Mizoram. Parameters Home gardens Large Medium Small No. of species Trees 79 63 47 Shrubs 45 28 22 Herbs 69 48 29 No. of genera Trees 65 57 41 Shrubs 27 19 19 Herbs 55 42 23 No. of families Trees 41 33 30 Shrubs 19 16 16 Herbs 36 31 33 Total density (plants ha-1) Trees 294 248 182 Shrubs 1155 942 572 Herbs 63822 50933 30800 2 -1 Basal area (m ha ) Trees 76.667 64.049 58.811 Shrubs 6.219 1.593 0.431 Herbs 2.087 0.988 0.528 Diversity index Trees 4.245 4.033 3.765 Shrubs 3.650 3.053 2.803 Herbs 3.925 3.741 3.130 Dominance index Trees 0.015 0.019 0.024 Shrubs 0.031 0.063 0.090 Herbs 0.032 0.027 0.064 Evenness index Trees 0.952 0.963 0.978 Shrubs 0.959 0.916 0.907 Herbs 0.927 0.916 0.903


Table 4 (B). Phyto-sociological analysis and community indices of large, medium and small home gardens in Serchip district of Mizoram. Parameters No. of species No. of genera No. of families Diversity index Dominance index Evenness index Trees Shrubs Herbs Trees Shrubs Herbs Trees Shrubs Herbs Trees Shrubs Herbs Trees Shrubs Herbs Trees Shrubs Herbs Large 96 50 75 79 31 57 47 20 36 4.443 3.767 4.196 0.013 0.025 0.016 0.974 0.963 0.971 Home gardens Medium 67 47 66 61 30 52 39 21 33 4.107 3.715 4.070 0.017 0.026 0.018 0.977 0.964 0.973 Small 55 37 53 48 22 41 34 18 28 3.848 3.497 3.853 0.024 0.032 0.023 0.959 0.968 0.970

Table 4 (C). Phyto-sociological analysis and community indices of large, medium and small home gardens in Champhai district of Mizoram. Parameters Home gardens Large Medium Small No. of species Trees 70 52 51 Shrubs 20 22 25 Herbs 67 58 75 No. of genera Trees 58 44 42 Shrubs 16 17 22 Herbs 53 49 57 No. of families Trees 34 24 24 Shrubs 13 13 17 Herbs 28 24 27 Diversity index Trees 3.99 3.66 3.52 Shrubs 2.75 2.81 2.92 Herbs 3.99 3.84 3.97 Dominance index Trees 0.30 0.35 0.37 Shrubs 0.47 0.46 0.45 Herbs 0.30 0.32 0.31 Evenness index Trees 0.905 0.832 0.799 Shrubs 0.795 0.811 0.843 Herbs 0.884 0.851 0.881


Table 4 (D). Phyto-sociological analysis and community indices of large, medium and small home gardens in Kolasib district of Mizoram. Parameters Home gardens Large Medium Small No. of species Trees 49 38 35 Shrubs 11 11 7 Herbs 39 40 26 No. of genera Trees 38 33 32 Shrubs 9 10 6 Herbs 35 34 24 No. of families Trees 28 23 21 Shrubs 10 10 5 Herbs 22 19 18 Diversity index Trees 3.81 3.49 3.51 Shrubs 2.35 2.34 2.03 Herbs 3.59 3.6 3.21 Dominance index Trees 0.32 0.37 0.37 Shrubs 0.52 0.52 0.53 Herbs 0.36 0.36 0.41 Evenness index Trees 0.748 0.686 0.688 Shrubs 0.462 0.452 0.413 Herbs 0.629 0.708 0.708

Table 4 (E). Phyto-sociological analysis and community indices of large, medium and small home gardens in Mamit district of Mizoram. Parameters Large No. of species Trees Shrubs Herbs No. of genera No. of families Diversity index Dominance index Evenness index 21 06 09 34 27 2.98 0.062 0.83 Home gardens Medium 35 07 09 47 34 2.59 0.076 0.65 Small 42 10 23 68 42 3.28 0.051 0.75


Table 5. Similarity indices between tree, shrub and herb components of two of the three different types of home gardens. Home Garden Medium AIZAWL Large Tree Shrubs Herbs Medium Tree Shrubs Herbs SERCHHIP Large Tree Shrubs Herbs Medium 40.29 48.45 Shrubs Herbs CHAMPHAI Large Tree Shrubs Herbs Medium Tree Shrubs Herbs Shrubs Herbs 65 76.60 78.20 70.49 74.42 74.19 72.73 73.91 78.01 81.55 40.29 48.45 Tree Shrubs Herbs 53.21 53.73 58.76 28.44 38.80 49.48 27.52 50.21 46.84 47.94 43.28 35.78 42.46 34.92 31.57 35.61 Small

KOLASIB Large Tree Shrubs Herbs Medium Tree Shrubs Herbs Shrubs Herbs 44.444 48.485 52.874 54.546 45.570 42.857 33.333 43.077 38.357


Table 6 (A). Importance value index (IVI), density (D, trees ha-1) and basal area (BA, m2 ha-1) of trees (30 cm GBH) in the three home gardens in Aizawl district of Mizoram. Name of the species Large home garden IVI Acacia nilotica (L) Willd. Ex.Delile Acacia pinnata Aegle mermelos Correa ex Roxb Albizia myriophylla Albizia procera L. Albizzia lebbeck Benth. Alstonia scholaris (L.) R. Br Annona reticulata L Areca cathechu L. Artocarpous chama Butch-Ham Artocarpous nitidus Artocarpus heterophyllus Roxb. Artocarpus lakoocha Roxb. Averrhoa carombola L. Azadirachta indica A. Juss 1.829 4.106 2.488 1.377 2.799 2.575 2.745 5.703 3.330 5.004 D 2.731 2.2 5.3 3.1 0.9 3.1 2.2 2.7 7.1 3.6 7.1 BA 3.6 0.235 0.287 0.214 0.530 0.453 0.659 0.527 0.753 0.597 0.365 Medium home garden IVI 0.284 4.485 3.922 10.485 2.069 2.687 3.238 67 D 2.183 6.2 4.9 2.061 27.1 1.3 2.7 4.0 BA 2.7 0.241 0.261 2.2 0.239 0.810 0.690 0.257 Small home garden IVI 0.232 6.075 4.893 5.871 0.371 10.746 6.697 8.340 D 4.9 3.6 3.6 6.7 5.8 6.2 0.293 0.596 0.982 - 2.088 0.372 0.627 BA - _______________________________________________________________________________

Anogeissus acuminate (Roxb.) Wall.

Baccaurea ramiflora Lour Bombax ceiba L. Bombax insignae. Borassus flabellifer L. Bursera serrata Callistemon lanceolatus DC Cammellia sinnensis Canarium bengalense Roxb. Carallia brachiata Cassia alata L Cassia fistula L. Cassia nodosa L Cassia tora Castonopsis indica Celtis timeorensis Cinnamomum zeylanica Roxb. Cinnamomun tamala Nees Citrus anamensis Citrus aurantifolia Citrus grandis L

2.013 2.044 4.290 3.508 4.758 4.476 2.717 3.264 3.314 3.317 2.305 5.208 2.396 5.452

2.2 1.3 4.9 4.0 5.8 6.2 5.3 2.7 4.4 3.1 4.4 2.7 8.0 3.1 8.0

0.228 0.778 0.838 0.470 0.557 0.555 0.570 0.505 0.314 0.847 0.207 0.336 0.142 0.143 0.329

4.957 2.971 4.163 2.444 4.498 6.396 4.906 7.234 6.676

5.3 3.1 0.9 1.8 4.9 3.6 0.9 11.6 12.9

1.112 0.654 2.233 0.833 0.900 2.496 2.709 0.615 0.282

7.200 4.953 4.909 3.528 2.470 8.588 5.250 6.150 6.640

3.1 2.7 4.0 1.8 0.9 6.2 0.9 5.3 6.2

2.096 1.296 0.273 0.745 0.787 1.340 2.423 0.194 0.195

Butea monosperma (Lam.) Kuntze 4.609


Citrus maxima (Burm). Merril. Citrus reticulata Blanco Citrus sinensis Linn. Osbeck Ceiba pentandra Croton hookeri Croton wallichi Cryptomaria japonica Chukrasia velutina Dalbergia sp. Delonix regia L Dillenia indica L. Dillenia pentagyna Roxb. Duabanga sonneratioides Buch Elaeagnus caudatus Eleocarpus floribundus Blume Erythrina arborensis Erythrina indica Ficus cunia Ficus elastica Ficus recemosa L. Garcinia cowa

5.701 4.825 2.057 2.560 2.574 2.959 1.029 5.233 1.895 5.786 2.995 4.433 4.339 4.799 -

8.9 8.0 1.8 3.1 2.2 2.7 1.3 4.0 2.2 5.3 1.3 5.8 0.9 3.1 -

0.141 0.143 0.672 0.269 0.806 0.985 0.001 1.940 0.285 1.721 1.508 0.422 2.801 2.280 -

5.917 6.255 6.751 2.111 1.922 2.126 3.122 4.568 10.204 6.718 6.934 4.209 4.011

11.1 12.0 13.3 2.2 1.3 2.7 3.6 4.4 4.0 3.1 6.7 1.8 3.1

0.393 0.311 0.248 0.538 0.580 0.466 0.399 1.162 4.854 2.920 1.593 1.963 1.321

7.180 5.480 8.660 3.205 5.365 4.200 -

6.2 4.4 8.0 1.3 3.1 2.7 -

0.323 0.276 0.242 1.076 1.017 0.664 -


Gmelina arborea Roxb. Grevellia robusta Holarrhena antidysenterica Itea macrophyla Licula peltata Lichi chinensis Malus pumila Mangifera indica L. Mangifera sylvatica Roxb. Melia azedaratchta L. Mesua ferrea L. Michelia champaca L Mimusops elengi L. Morus australis Oroxylon indicum (L.) Vent Parkia timoriana Persea americana Phyllanthus acidus (L.) Skeels Premna recemosa Psidium guajava L. Psychotria calocarpa

4.559 1.868 5.088 1.920 9.125 2.440 3.223 7.564 1.084 3.837 5.106 7.431 3.383 5.344 1.663

2.2 0.9 6.7 0.9 6.2 2.7 2.2 8.0 0.9 4.4 7.1 9.3 4.9 7.6 0.4

2.180 0.906 0.545 0.946 3.756 0.440 1.304 1.949 0.305 0.607 0.149 1.205 0.143 0.362 1.012

7.848 4.343 4.402 3.747 2.634 9.568 6.814 4.427 2.317 3.672 8.742 6.796 2.552 2.242 6.783 -

8.4 4.9 5.8 5.3 3.1 8.9 8.4 3.1 3.1 4.4 8.0 13.3 2.7 2.7 11.6 -

1.986 0.801 0.675 0.202 0.304 2.871 1.189 1.452 0.236 0.588 2.506 0.277 0.468 0.270 0.596 -

7.331 2.993 2.245 5.477 15.097 4.496 6.594 6.381 4.595 10.475 8.921 5.440 11.157 -

1.8 1.3 0.9 3.1 6.7 0.9 4.0 4.4 0.9 4.9 8.0 3.1 8.9 -

3.170 0.763 0.655 0.893 4.458 1.979 1.074 0.805 2.037 2.881 0.395 1.250 1.234 -


Pterygota alata Punica granatum L. Pyrularia edulis Pyrus communis L Quercus griffithi Hk.f. and Th. Samania saman Saprosma ternatum Schima wallichi (DC.) Kurth. Semecarpus anacardium Roxb. Spondias pinata (L). Kurz. Sterculia villosa Roxb. ex Smith Symplocos laurina Syzigium jambos (L). Alston Tamarindus indica L. Tectona grandis L. Tetrameles nudiflora R.Br Toona ciliata Roem. Trema orientalis Ulmus lancefolia Vaccinium sprengelii

1.968 3.382 0.825 7.123 8.728 7.980 9.321 6.868 2.610 4.337 1.446 3.259 5.212 4.895 2.088 2.441 2.054 2.265

1.3 4.0 0.4 5.8 2.7 2.2 5.8 4.0 1.3 4.4 0.9 4.0 6.2 3.1 5.637 2.2 2.7 0.4 2.2

0.867 0.373 0.369 2.337 5.114 4.951 4.022 3.340 1.212 0.842 0.583 0.573 0.608 1.912 1.8 0.286 0.294 1.312 0.569

2.356 2.645 2.769 3.956 8.314 6.843 6.441 5.389 4.876 2.186 10.238 6.059 3.417 3.736 2.811 3.340

3.1 4.4 1.8 1.8 4.0 6.7 7.1 7.1 7.6 1.3 8.0 6.7 4.115 6.2 3.6 4.0

0.261 0.066 0.635 1.801 3.508 1.670 1.466 0.657 0.246 0.884 3.463 1.303 5.8 0.302 0.471 0.457

4.213 7.190 7.417 10.699 9.626 7.432 4.286 8.120 8.656 0.356 5.371 -

2.7 0.9 1.8 6.7 8.9 5.3 2.2 5.8 4.9 4.771 1.8 -

0.672 3.563 3.221 2.060 1.090 0.948 1.047 0.831 1.811 2.7 1.828 1.000

Terminalia bellerica (Gaertn.) Roxb


Vernicia fordii Vitex peduncularis Wendlandia tinctoria Roxb Zanthoxylum budrunga Zizyphus jujubae L.

3.193 4.577 1.001 2.286 3.326

3.6 5.8 0.9 2.2 4.0

0.492 0.385 0.242 0.585 0.477

2.059 4.756

2.7 7.1

0.152 0.251

1.603 3.014 -

0.4 1.8 -

0.610 0.634 -


Table 6 (B). Importance value index (IVI), density (D, individual ha-1) and basal area (BA, m2 ha-1) of shrub species in the three home gardens in Serchip district of Mizoram. Name of the species Large home garden IVI Amaranthus caudatus L. Amaranthus viridis L. Artemesia vulgaris Atalantia monophylla Bauhinia scandens Bauhinia variegata Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp. Canabis sativa L. Capsicum annum L. Capsicum frutescens L. Carica papaya Catharanthus roseus Citrus acida Citrus limon (L.) Bur 6.157 4.517 5.667 5.688 7.110 5.757 8.215 4.003 11.095 7.842 12.725 D 28.4 21.3 19.6 10.7 12.4 4.020 24.9 55.1 24.9 17.8 19.6 26.7 BA 0.051 0.036 0.101 0.231 0.294 17.8 0.078 0.003 0.001 0.399 0.236 0.453 Medium home garden IVI 11.053 0.057 11.465 5.680 14.374 8.402 11.082 2.422 8.982 73 D 33.8 39.1 24.9 96.0 51.6 28.4 10.7 35.6 BA 0.040 0.044 0.002 0.001 0.000 0.069 0.001 0.004 Small home garden IVI 11.753 15.113 10.155 11.150 15.409 9.031 12.821 3.870 10.850 D 23.1 17.8 24.9 30.2 48.0 30.2 21.3 8.9 23.1 BA 0.013 0.031 0.018 0.005 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.017 0.001 0.005

Bougainvellea spectabilis Willd.

6.158 5.3

Clerodendron colebrokianum Walp. 4.716 Clerodendron infortunatum L.Coffea arabica L. Crotalaria juncea L. 2.047 4.840 10.7 24.9 4.476 40.9 37.3 10.7 24.9 32.0 32.0 17.8 37.3 17.8 10.7 23.1 58.7 16.0 21.3 30.2

26.7 0.005 0.004 21.3 0.055 0.019 0.023 0.071 0.000 0.694 0.792 0.769 0.684 0.426 0.033 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.104

0.003 9.391 5.615 0.033 6.485 7.063 2.684 3.266 18.560 44.166 39.478 5.238 10.505 7.368 3.875 7.075

11.293 44.4 28.4 24.9 26.7 10.7 8.9 26.7 40.9 8.9 21.3 48.0 37.3 12.4 28.4

56.9 0.002 0.002 0.002 0.001 0.005 0.011 0.191 0.562 0.587 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.005

0.004 10.903 11.613 72.760 5.580 7.684 10.570 -

26.7 28.4 17.8 12.4 19.6 26.7 -

0.004 0.006 0.279 0.003 0.001 0.003 -

Helianthus annuus A. C. ex. R.Br. Hibiscus macrophyllus Roxb. 7.821 Hibiscus sabdaiffa Rau Day 7.202 Hibiscus suranttensis L Jatropha carcus L. Justica adhatoda L. Livingstonia chinensis L Musa acuminata Colla. Musa glauca Roxb. Musa paradisiaca L Musa superbum Musa velutina Wendl. Nicotiana tabacum L Ocium sanctum L. Polygonum barbata L. Polygonum plebium R.Br. Ricinus communis L. 2.863 5.915 5.394 17.336 16.367 19.268 14.900 8.560 4.890 7.702 2.712 3.956 7.166

9.143 21.3 0.003


Securinega virosa Roxb. ex.Willd. Solanum anguivi Lam. Solanum esculentum Solanum khasiana L. Solanum melongena L. Solanum nigrum L Solanum sp. Solanum sp. Solanum torvum Sweet Solanum violaceum Ort. Tithonia diversifolia Zea mays L 2.770 6.628 7.593 7.765 7.166 3.336 3.765 3.523 5.054 1.723 6.888

2.669 16.0 51.6 48.0 48.0 23.1 8.9 16.0 14.2 21.3 8.351 10.7 8.9 40.9

8.9 0.005 0.004 0.002 0.062 0.158 0.095 0.067 0.045 0.053 65.8 0.001 0.002 0.013

0.053 9.721 9.260 8.793 2.668 0.003 14.034

42.7 46.2 39.1 8.9 60.4

0.003 0.003 0.001 0.001 0.049

10.619 10.388 5.034 23.397

28.4 28.4 14.2 53.3

0.002 0.001 0.001 0.034

Thysanolaena maxima (Roxb.) Trevesia palmata (Roxb.) Vis 1.854

16.000 62.2 0.005


Table 6 (C). Importance value index (IVI), density (D, individual ha-1) and basal area (BA, m2 ha-1) of herbaceous species in the three home gardens in Kolashib district of Mizoram. Name of the species Large home garden IVI Abelmoschus esculentus (L) Moe. Adiantum phillippense Ageratum conyzoides L. Allium cepa L. Allium hookerii Thw. Allium sativum Arundina graminifolia Asparagus racemosus L. Bidens biternata (Lour) Merr Blumea alata D.Don. Boehmeria rugulosa Brasica juncea L Brassica botrytis Brassica compestris L. 4.838 4.967 5.831 3.160 3.462 1.841 2.895 3.256 2.220 4.760 4.6551 3.280 D 3.736 1555.6 1644.4 2133.3 977.8 533.3 888.9 444.4 800.0 977.8 444.4 1644.4 644.4 1155.6 BA 1066.7 0.005 0.001 0.003 0.000 0.001 0.006 0.001 0.001 0.006 0.002 0.001 0.002 0.001 Medium home garden IVI 0.005 4.676 6.677 6.185 6.172 2.707 10.264 6.828 76 D 6.130 711.1 1777.8 1511.1 1555.6 444.4 1777.8 1511.1 BA 977.8 0.012 0.002 0.007 0.004 0.002 0.042 0.011 Small home garden IVI 0.017 10.980 9.950 12.767 59.609 10.355 8.991 8.195 D 6.481 2088.9 1911.1 2355.6 533.3 1466.7 1111.1 1111.1 BA 577.8 0.002 0.007 0.004 0.291 0.007 0.010 0.008 0.006

Annanas comosus (L.) Merrill 2.332

Brassica oleracea L Brassica rapa L. Calamus erectus Calamus guruba Calamus tenuis Roxb. Canavalia ensiformis Canna orientalis Centella asiatica (L.) Urban. Colocasia affinis L. Colocasia sp. Coriander sp. Costus speciosus Smith. Cucumis sativa Cucurbita maxima Duchense Cucurbita siceraria Cumumis melo Curcuma caesia Roxb. Curcuma longa Roxb.

2.365 3.469 2.767 40.083 1.556 5.882 6.403 1.411 4.529 1.570 3.142 3.865 2.299 2.606 1.496 14.334

533.3 1022.2 711.1 488.9 1200.0 400.0 2622.2 355.6 1866.7 666.7 266.7 1466.7 266.7 711.1 933.3 488.9 533.3 355.6 1333.3

0.002 0.001 0.002 0.019 0.756 0.001 0.003 0.003 0.027 0.003 0.006 0.005 0.009 0.012 0.001 0.002 0.014 0.001 0.210

7.461 10.747 22.732 1.787 7.467 8.963 5.537 4.738 7.748 4.301 4.150 9.265

1777.8 1644.4 266.7 88.9 2000.0 1511.1 355.6 666.7 888.9 577.8 666.7 1466.7

0.010 0.048 0.213 0.011 0.008 0.035 0.034 0.018 0.033 0.009 0.008 0.039

12.401 9.107 8.904 7.592 6.481

1644.4 1111.1 1600.0 1022.2 711.1

0.019 0.015 0.001 0.002 0.004

Calamus acanthospathus Griff. 2.819

Chimnocalamus longispiculatua1.422 Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott 2.443


Curcumphera longiflora Sm. Cyperus kyllingia Daucas carota L. Dioscorea alata L. Dolichos tetragonobolus Elsholtzia communis Coll. Glycine max Impatiens balsamina L Imperata cilndrica Ipomea batata L.(Lamb) Luffa cylindrica Roem. Manihot esculanta Krantz. Mentha viridis L. Mikenia micrantha Kunth. Mimosa pudica L. Momordica charantia L. Oxalis corniculata L. Paderia foetida Passiflora edulis Sims. Phaseolus vulgaris L. Phrynium capitatutm

13.086 3.589 3.905 3.677 3.740 1.682 2.541 2.172 4.954 1.608 1.783 3.256 3.647 4.343 5.113 2.684 5.094 4.241 -

666.7 1244.4 1466.7 1155.6 800.0 266.7 711.1 266.7 1155.6 266.7 444.4 977.8 755.6 666.7 2088.9 844.4 1288.9 1244.4 -

0.217 0.004 0.003 0.005 0.022 0.015 0.003 0.025 0.020 0.006 0.004 0.006 0.025 0.039 0.001 0.002 0.023 0.010 -

1.495 10.125 5.812 5.712 4.296 1.410 4.446 5.134 3.201 2.130 5.262 5.815 6.893 1.842 7.472 5.753 10.918 2.946

977.8 1200.0 844.4 1200.0 933.3 311.1 1244.4 1155.6 533.3 311.1 1244.4 1466.7 1600.0 311.1 2266.7 577.8 1422.2 400.0

0.003 0.052 0.023 0.018 0.009 0.001 0.002 0.006 0.010 0.006 0.006 0.002 0.010 0.003 0.005 0.026 0.054 0.008

2.560 10.434 6.844 9.231 8.257 4.835 7.294 7.030 -

266.7 755.6 400.0 800.0 888.9 533.3 666.7 622.2 -

0.001 0.032 0.021 0.010 0.010 0.002 0.011 0.004 -


Piper betle

1.923 0.576 488.9 355.6 1333.3 1022.2 2488.9 2400.0 133.3 266.7 44.4 577.8 1511.1 977.8 133.3 1111.1 977.8

488.9 133.3 0.031 0.022 0.040 0.014 0.011 0.025 0.028 0.079 0.036 0.012 0.009 0.021 0.103 0.048 0.042

3.520 0.005 0.001 4.024 10.523 9.956 6.499 2.920 6.373 5.854 4.131 8.003

666.7 844.4 1333.3 711.1 1866.7 622.2 1911.1 844.4 666.7 1288.9

0.002 0.005 0.058 0.058 0.001 0.001 0.001 0.017 0.012 0.025

7.681 9.166 14.364 12.769 8.399 7.566 4.060 7.697

844.4 800.0 2488.9 1866.7 933.3 666.7 355.6 666.7

- - 0.006 0.012 0.010 0.013 0.006 0.008 0.004 0.005

Piper boehmerifolia (Micq.) DC. Psophocarpus teragonobulus DC Pteris amoena Bl. Pueraria montana Raphanus sativa L Sechium eduli (Jacq.) Sw Spilenthes acmella (L.) Murr. Spilenthes oleraceae L Stevia rebaudiana Roxb. Thladiantha calcarata Roxb. Torenia peduncularis Trichosanthes anguina L Urena lobota L Vinga mungo (L) Hepper Vinga unguiculata Vitex negundo Vitis vinifera L Zingiber officinalis Roscoe 3.314 2.348 6.190 4.460 6.768 6.967 1.915 4.762 1.969 3.263 4.607 4.181 5.494 5.648 5.331



Height 10 8

Fig. 6: Vertical profile of a typical homegarden in Champhai district, Mizoram, India. The profile is based on the IVI of plants occurring in the homegardens of the study site. Twenty plants with highest IVI were selected and are placed in the order from left to right. Plant heights are based on the modal height of the individuals recorded.


Fig. 7.The relationship between numbers of tree species encountered and the size of homegarden area sampled.


Fig.8. The relationship between species density per 100 m2 and the size of homegarden sampled.


Table 7. Mean number of species for each use category in the different homegardens categories of Champhai, Mizoram Use Timber Fruits Vegetables Spices & Small 2.85 (0-7) 10.7 (4-15) 16.2 (10-24) Medium 3.89 (0-6) 13.89 (7-20) 17.89 (10-23) 3.22 (2-5) 0.89 (0-2) 1.89 (0-5) 1.89 (0-6) Large 9.3 (2-32) 16 (13-21) 18 (12-23) 3.3 (0-7) 1 (0-2) 2.6 (1-7) 1.7 (0-3)

3.55 (0-7) condiments Stimulant 0.7 (0-3) Ornamental 2.15 (0-7) Miscellaneous 1.25 (0-3) Values in parentheses are range.

Table 8. Important species of trees, shrubs, herbs and climbers (both woody & non woody) in the homegardens of eastern Mizoram highlands, India

Botanical name Trees Parkia timoriana Psidium guajava Clerodendrum colebrookianum Mangifera indica Prunus domestica Trevesia palmate Citrus grandis Schima wallichii Carica papaya Quercus serrata Shrubs Citrus jambhiri Camellia sinensis Eleagnus latifolia Citrus reticulate Punica granatum Solanum anguivera Coffea Arabica Herbs Cucurbita maxima Colocasia esculenta Ipomea batatas HIbiscua sabdariffa Brassica junceae Musa paradisiacal Zingiber officinalis Ensete superbum Climbers Passiflora edulis Acacia penneta Sechium edule Momordica charantia Phaseolus vulgaris Vitis vinifera

Local name Zawngtah Kawlthei Phuinam Theihai Theite Kawhtebel Sertawk Khiang Thingfanghma Sasua Za-mir Thingpui Sarjuk Serthlum Theibuhfai Samtawkte Coffee-thing Maien Dawl Kawlbahra Anthur Antam Banhla Sawthing Saisu Sapthei Khanghu Iskut Chhankha Bean Grapethei

Family Mimosaceae Myrtaceae Verbenaceae Anacardiaceae Rosaceae Anacardiaceae Rutaceae Theaceae Caricaceae Fagaceae Rutaceae Theaceae Eleagnaceae Rutaceae Punicaceae Solanaceae Rubiaceae



1, 2, 3,4 86.8 1, 2, 3 86.8 1, 2, 3 84.2 1, 2 1, 2 1, 2 1, 2 4, 6 1, 3 4, 6 1, 2 1, 2 1, 2, 3,4 1, 2 1,2 1, 3 1 73.7 68.4 65.8 39.5 39.5 44.7 23.7 55.3 52.6 52.6 44.7 42.1 36.8 13.2 80.4 79.5 71.9 71.6 69.5 59.1 57.2 55.6 72.9 59.1 32.7 31.8 29.2 24.8

Cucurbitaceae 1, 2 Araceae 1, 3, 7 Convulvulaceae 1, 3, 7 Malvaceae 1, 8 Cruciferae 1, 2 Musaceae 1, 2, 3,7 Zingiberaceae 1, 2, 3 Musaceae 1, 2, 5 Passifloraceae Mimosaceae Cucurbitaceae Cucurbitaceea Papilionaceae Ampelidaceae 1, 2, 3,5 1, 2 1, 2, 7 1, 3 1, 2 1, 2

1-food, 2-commercial, 3-medicinal, 4-fuelwood, 5-ornamental, 6-timber, 7-fodder, 8-fibre; RF is the relative frequency of the species that represents the relative importance of the species in their respective life form.

Fig. 9 Components of homegarden based on frequency of species.

20 .0 18 .0

Number of species


16 .0 14 .0 12 .0 10 .0 8.0 6.0 4.0 2.0 Stimulant Timber Fruits Spice &

U C se ategor ies







Fig. 10: Use categories of plants across different gardens in Mamit district of Mizoram, North-East India

Large homegarden

Medium homegarden

Small homegarden

Fig. 11. Plant use categories in different homegarden size in Kolashib district Table 9. Energy output and input (MJ/100m2 year-1) under different homegarden categories in Champhai, Mizoram Production measure Input (total) Output Fruits Vegetables (leaves, pods, seeds, etc.) Tubers & rhizomes Total Output/input ratio Small 125 (81) 605 (50) 3049 (110) 74 (81) 3728 (93) 27 5.3 Medium 38 (61) 685 (68) 497 (115) 83 (46) 1365 (50) 36 7.4 Large 31 (61) 798 (89) 626 (97) 27 (40) 1452 (75) 54 7.8 F-test

P< 0.04

Values in parentheses are CV%, SEm


Table 10. Monetary output and input (`/100m2) under different homegarden categories in Champhai, Mizoram Small Input Output Output/input ratio 928 (54) 2597 (73) 2.6 0.9 Medium 315 (53) 1297 (31) 4.4 0.6 Large 228 (58) 1375 (81) 6.6 1.5 P <0.05 F-test P< 0.02 NS

Values in parentheses are CV%, SEm Table 11. Mean financial value of homegardens for 2007-2008 (in INR) based on the benefits and costs of 12 gardens surveyed in Champhai, Mizoram Category Mean financial value (INR) Mean financial value, including opportunity costs of land and household labour (INR) Small ( 0.22 ha, n=4) Medium (> 0.22 ha, 0.65 ha, n=4) Large 28,146 19,890



1,58,161 1,31,476 (> 0.65 ha, n=4) Financial worth measured in INR (1.00 US$ ~ INR 46, October 2008) Table 12. Contribution to total household income from sale of homegarden products


Mean annual proceeds from sale of products (INR)

Percentage to total household income

Small ( 0.22 ha, n=4) Medium (> 0.22 ha, 0.65 ha, n=4) Large (> 0.65 ha, n=4)







Table 13. Mean annual yield and monetary values of some of the important plants (H-herb, Sshrub and T-tree) found in the homegardens in Aizawl, Mizoram.



Average yield/ha Average

Total value

% of


of the species/ Habit Abelmoschus esculentus (H) Areca cathechu (T) Allium hookerii (H) Annanas comosus (H) Areca cathechu (T) Artocarpus heterophyllus (T) Brasica juncea (H) Capsicum annum (S) Carica papaya (S) Citrus anamensis (T) Citrus limon (S) Citrus reticulata (T)

unit of measurement kg 60.91 Unit 90.77 Bundle 81.25 Unit 81.24 Unit 90.77 Unit 56.32 Bundle 69.59 kg 61.54 Unit 82.39 Unit 72.31 Unit 62.55 Unit 68.75

family 640 10840 1067 533 10840 172 329 52 568 1806 2670 3840 285 187 4665 400

(INR) 250 5330 1000 200 100 1000 75 100 20 100 500 1000 1200 100 100 2000 100

Consumption Sale Consumption 6396 18.76 10840 10665 5330 10840 1717 3288 1040 6816 9030 4005 11520 1423 933 13995 2000 39.09 81.24 9.23 18.75 18.76 9.23 43.68 30.41 38.46 17.61 27.69 37.45 31.25 35.15 53.59 42.87 25.00

Clerodendron colebrokianum (S) Bundle 64.85 Colocasia affinis (H) Cucurbita maxima (H) Dolichos tetragonobolus (H) Bundle 46.41 Unit 57.13 Bundle 75.00


Glycine max (H) Mangifera indica (T) Musa paradisiaca (S) Parkia timoriana (T) Passiflora edulis (H) Persea americana (T) Psidium guajava (T) Sechium eduli (H) Solanum melongena (S) Solanum nigrum (S) Spilenthes acmella (H) Tamarindus indica (T) Thysanolaena maxima (S) Zea mays (S) Zingiber officinalis (H) Zizyphus jujubae (T)

Bundle 67.52 kg 57.87 Unit 65.07 Bundle 51.46 Unit 84.47 Unit 67.16 Unit 49.37 kg 51.08 kg 37.50 Bundle 48.85 Bundle 47.75 Bundle 75.00 Bundle 85.93 Unit 37.66 kg 84.47 kg 62.44

308 356 5726 618 32200 914 1580 2044 240 391 1244 800 107 160 1288 107

100 150 2000 300 5000 300 800 1000 150 200 650 200 15 100 200 40

1539 7120 11452 6180 16100 9135 1580 20440 3600 1955 6220 4000 1066 962 12880 1065

32.48 42.13 34.93 48.54 15.53 32.84 50.63 48.92 62.50 51.15 52.25 25.00 14.07 62.34 15.53 37.56

Table 14: Characteristics of the different homegarden types Category 90 Garden type

Small 0.22 ha Type Slope Crop Composition Species richness Diversity Species density Productivity Management Indigenous traditional knowledge Fertility level Labour intensity Seasonality Monetary input Sustainability % Inhibition/Stimulation over Control Hilly 80-95% 153 3.33 3.70 1.7 High High High Low Year round Low High

Medium >0.22 ha, 0.65 ha Hilly 45-53% 118 3.44 1.40 1.9 Less Less High Medium Year round More Medium

Large >0.65 ha Hilly 38-42% 162 3.73 0.50 0.6 Low Low High High Year round High Low


RER of Shoot (%)

Fig. 12. Effect of leaf extracts from five tree species on seed germination of test food crops.


RER of Root (%)

Fig. 13. Effects of leaf extract of five tree species on the Relative elongation ratio (RER) of Shoots of test crops.


Fig. 14. Effects of leaf extract of five tree species on the Relative elongation ratio (RER) of Roots of test crops.

Table 15. Effects of different concentrations of aqueous leaf extract of 5-tree species on germination of test crops after 30 days in pot culture. Tree species Control Artocarpus heterophyllus Treatments T0 T1 T2 T3 Soybean 97.1 85.3 (12.2) 94.1 (3.1) 90.4 (6.9) Maize 96.2 92.1 (4.3) 87.4 (9.1) 85.4 (1.2) 94 Paddy 91.1 87.5 (4.0) 85.2 (6.5) 80.2 (12.0) Chilli 87.5 90.1 (-3.0) 85.6 (2.2) 87.1 (0.5) Ladys finger 92.1 90.2 (2.1) 87.4 (5.1) 78.0 (15.3)

T4 Mangifera indica T1 T2 T3 T4 Areca catechu T1 T2 T3 T4 Citrus indica T1 T2 T3 T4 Tamarindus indica T1 T2 T3 T4 sign denotes stimulatory effect.

85.1 (12.4) 94.3 (2.9) 97.4 (-0.3) 95.4 (1.8) 84.4 (13.1) 91.4 (5.9) 94.3 (2.9) 85.1 (12.4) 89.7 (7.6) 91.4 (5.9) 87.3 (10.1) 88.1 (9.3) 78.2 (19.5) 97.2 (-0.1) 91.2 (6.1) 89.4 (7.9) 61.2 (37.0)

73.7 (23.4) 87.3 (9.3) 85.3 (11.3) 75.9 (2.1) 80.2 (16.6) 89.7 (6.8) 87.4 (9.1) 90.1 (6.3) 84.7 (12.0) 91.5 (4.9) 90.2 (6.2) 88.6 (7.9) 87.9 (8.6) 94.5 (1.8) 90.5 (5.9) 87.5 (9.0) 64.2 (33.3)

78.4 (13.9) 90.4 (0.8) 88.7 (2.6) 84.2 (7.6) 78.2 (14.2) 89.7 (1.5) 85.7 (5.9) 80.7 (11.4) 78.7 (13.6) 87.8 (3.6) 85.4 (6.3) 80.7 (11.4) 75.4 (17.2) 90.7 (0.4) 85.7 (5.9) 87.5 (4.0) 75.5 (17.1)

70.2 (19.8) 91.2 (-4.2) 87.4 (0.1) 85.4 (2.4) 78.4 (10.4) 92.1 (-5.3) 87.8 (-0.3) 90.2 (-3.1) 78.8 (9.9) 90.5 (-3.4) 87.4 (0.1) 82.4 (5.8) 78.4 (10.4) 87.4 (0.1) 85.4 (2.4) 80.2 (8.3) 76.5 (12.6)

71.4 (22.5) 90.7 (1.5) 87.6 (4.9) 76.2 (17.3) 70.1 (23.6) 89.4 (2.9) 81.1 (11.9) 75.8 (17.7) 67.4 (26.8) 89.7 (2.6) 85.7 (6.9) 81.2 (11.8) 75.4 (18.1) 88.4 (4.0) 81.2 (11.8) 75.4 (18.1) 67.1 (27.9)

Values in the parentheses indicate % inhibition/stimulation in comparison to control treatment. -ve


Fig. 15. Effect of leaf extract from tree species on dry matter of test crops (SB : Soybean, MZ : Maize, PD : Paddy, CH : Chilli, LF : Ladys finger) after 1month pot culture.


Fig. 16. Effects of leaf extract from tree species on shoot length of test crops under pot culture (SB : Soybean, MZ : Maize, PD : Paddy, CH : Chilli, LF : Ladys finger) after 1-month in pot culture.


Artocarpus heterophylu s N (%) P (%) Lignin (%) Cellulose (%) Lignin/N 1.21 0.06 17.50 25.30 14.46 Mangifer a indica 1.37 0.07 14.60 23.30 10.66 Areca catechu 1.40 0.08 15.40 22.30 11.00

Tamarindu s indica 1.55 0.06 10.40 21.50 6.71 Citrus spp. 1.45 0.07 11.22 20.50 7.74

Fig. 17. Effects of leaf extracts from tree species on root length of test crops (SB : Soybean, MZ : Maize, PD : Paddy, CH : Chilli, LF : Ladys finger) after 1-month in pot culture.

Table 16. Initial litter chemistry


Table 17. Rate of Decomposition of leaf litter from five homegarden species in Mizoram Species Artocarpus heterophyllus Mangifera indica Areca catechu Citrus spp. Tamarindus indica Decay constant (k) 3.90 4.71 4.30 8.16 7.32 t50 (Days) 64.83 53.70 58.83 31.01 34.54 t95 (Days) 280.64 232.48 254.69 134.23 149.51

Table 18. Relationship between initial litter chemistry (X) and decay constant (Y) from five homegarden tree species. Litter chemistry Nitrogen (%) Phosphorus (%) Lignin (%) Cellulose (%) Lignin/N Regression equation Y = -10.947 + 11.91X Y = 10.528 +75.779X Y = 14.164 0.6138X Y = 25.897 0.8954X Y = 11.378 0.5635X R2 0.5914 0.1029 0.8906 0.7282 0.7953 P 0.01 NS 0.01 0.01 0.01

Mass Remaining (%)

10 2 10 0 8 0 6 0 4 0 2 0 0 0 3 0 6 0 9 0 10 2 10 5 10 8 D c moit nP r d( a s e o p s io e io D y ) Ato ap s r cru Mn if r a g ea Ae a rc Cu itr s Tmr d s a ain u


Fig. 18. Dry mass remaining from five homegarden leaf litter during decomposition period.
10 2 10 0 8 0 6 0 4 0 2 0 0 0 3 0 6 0 9 0 10 2 10 5 10 8 (a )
A ca u rto rp s Mn ife a g ra A ca re C s itru T mrin u a a ds

Nutrient Remaining (%)

10 2 10 0 8 0 6 0 4 0 2 0 0 0

(b )

3 0
10 0

6 0 9 0 D c m o itio P rio (D y ) eo ps n e d as
A rtocarp us C s itru

10 2

10 5
Are ca

10 8

M ng ra a ife T m rind a a us

Fig. (%) tree N (b)





0 3 0 Cellulose (% of Initial) 1 00 6 0 90 1 20 10 5 10 8

. 19. Nutrient remaining from leaf litter of five homegarden species (a) remaining, P remaining.

Lignin (% of Initial)

8 0

6 0

4 0

2 0

3 0 6 0 90 12 0 D ecom ition P pos eriod (D ) ays 15 0 18 0

Fig. 20. Residual Lignin and Cellulose from leaf litter of five homegarden tree species


Mean number of seeds germinated

Number of days

Fig. 21. Mean number of seeds germinated/days under canopy I on the tested crops

Mean number of seeds germinated

Number of days

Fig. 22. Mean number of seeds germinated/days under canopy II on the tested crops

Mean number of seeds


Number of days


Fig. 23. Mean number of seeds germinated/days under canopy III on the tested crops

Root length in cm

Number of seedling

Fig. 24. Showing the effect of different canopies on the length of maize seedling root length in cm. Canopy I denote full shading by perennial high full grown trees, canopies II stands for the intermediate between full expose to sunlight and full shading and canopy III indicates fully expose plot.

Shoot length in cm

Number of seedling


Fig. 25. Showing the effect of different canopies on the length of maize seedling shoot length.

Root length in cm

Number of seedling Fig. 26. Showing the effect of different canopies on the Bean Seedling Root length

Shoot length in cm

Number of seedling 104

Fig. 27. Showing the effect of different canopies on the Bean Seedling Shoot length

Root length in cm

Number of seedling
Fig.28. Showing the effect of different canopies on the Ladyfinger Seedling Root length

Shoot length in cm

Number of seedling 105

Fig. 29. Showing the effect of different canopies on the Ladyfinger Seedling shoot length

Root length in cm

Number of seedling Fig. 30. Showing the effect of different canopies on the Chilli Seedling Root length

Shoot length in cm

Number of seedling

Fig. 31. Showing the effect of different canopies on the Chilli Seedling Shoot length


Root length in cm

Number of seedling

Fig. 32. Showing the effect of different canopies on the Mustard Seedling Root length

Shoot length in cm

Number of seedling

Fig. 33. Showing the effect of different canopies on the Mustard Seedling Shoot length


Light intensity in lux

Time of the day

Fig. 34. Showing the differences in the light intensities at the experimental site. Notice the massive different in the light intensities among the three canopies

Temperature in degree centigrade

Time of the day


Fig. 35. Showing the differences in the temperature at the experimental site. Temperature was recorded exactly where seedling are growing. Notice the rapid climbing of temperature under canopy III (fully exposed plot).

Table 19. Rare and endangered species that are present in the homegardens of Kolashib district, Mizoram
Scientific name Aegle marmelos Aeschynanthus sikkimensis Aquilaria malaccenis Bombax ceiba Cassia alata Cautleya gracillis Clerodendrum wallichii Curcummorpha longiflora Elaegnus pyriformis Garcinia lanceaefolia Hydnocarpus kurzii Musa glauca Ocimum tenuiflorum Picrasma javanica Local Name Belthei Bawltehlantai Thingrai Phunchawng Tuihlo Pa-le Phuihnamria Aitur Sarzukpui Pelh Khawitur Saisu Ramhmul dmdawi Thingdamdawi Family Rutaceae Gesneriaceae Thymeteaceae Bombaceae Caesalpinaceae Zingiberaceae Verbenaceae Zingiberageae Elaegnaceae Clusiaceae Flacourtiaceae Musaceae Labiatae Simaroubaceae 109 Habit T E T T S H S H T S T T H T Status EW/R LR CR Vu Vu Ew/R Vu/R Ew/VR Vu EN/R EN/R Vu Ew LR

Ruellia suffructicosa Zanonia indica Zanthoxylum armatum

Sa-vang-ma Lalruanga-dawibur Arhrikreh

Acanthaceae Cucurbitaceae Rutaceae



*Abbreviations used:
EW: Extinct in the wild known only to survive in cultivation/naturalized. CR: critically endangered, eat remedy high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future, EN: Endangered not CR, but very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future. VU: Vulnerable not CR or EN, but high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium-term future, R: Rare; VR: Very Rare; Tree; S: Shrub; H: Herb; LR : Lower Risk; E:Epiphytes;C:Climbers

These findings reveal that home gardens are dynamic farming systems which promote in-situ biodiversity conservation while providing numerous direct benefits to the owners and to the users of home garden products. In view of the fact that they also provide numerous ecological, economical and social benefits to the rural poor, the policy makers should promote home gardens in Mizoram to wean away pressures on the ongoing jhum (shifting cultivation). As has been argued by Kumar and Nair (2004), probably some targeted and well-planned interventions may further be undertaken to strengthen the importance of this production system. It is further envisaged that through a better understanding of the role of farmers and their families as the producers of garden products, it will be possible to improve the management of genetic diversity in home gardens which in turn may result in a better and more sustainable production. Our surveys have found that most of the home gardens are having high species diversity and usually 3-4 vertical canopy strata. A total of 444 species composing the homegardens have been documented, some of which are rare and even highly endangered. Earler, however, there had been no account of the species composition and potential of homegardens to increasing food production in the state. The survey therefore has provided baseline data for future studies/research.

It was further found out that many plant species are good source of regular income to homegardeners which have increased the farmers per capita income. Besides, these species have been supplementing energy and nutrient requirement of the local people through consumption round the year. There are indications that these species also provide livelihood support and cash need to the farmers besides providing numerous intangible benefits. The high species diversity of homegardens makes it an important resource for ethnobotanical studies too. As many as 17 wild species are observed to have been cultivated/ domesticated in the homegardens. Thus homgardens also served as local refuges for plants that otherwise may be threatened by human or natural disturbances. In view of the fact that in todays age the primary land use system in Mizoram (i.e. Shifting cultivation or jhum) is challenged as never before with mounting concerns on environmental degradation (soil, flora and faunal depletion) on one hand and the peressure of economic development and diificulty in finding suitable alternatives to the jhum on the other, the homegardens seem to be best alternatives to promote local food security and biodiversity conservation. This is especially important in rural areas. The gardens are quite diverse with a complex vertical and horizontal structure that includes plants for food, ornamental, medicinal and other purposes.They are important for local biodiversity and have a prominent role in the domestication of useful species. It is observed that the farmers manage the homegardens in various ways to increase the efficiency of the capture of solar radiation, increase productivity and improve nutrient cycling. Soil organic matter in the homegardens can be increased by several practices of residual management. It is important that such sustainable management practices be retained to ensure homegarden sustainability. Despite the importance of homegardens in providing sustainable livelihood to the gardeners, very little or no

support is available from the government side. There are plenty of degraded lands in the state due to shifting cultivation. More such lands could be brought under homegardens or permanent crop production systems by appropriate policy and or management interventions. The important commercial crops such as vegetables, black pepper, passion fruit, fruit trees, and other products could be grown such on lands. Stimulating and supporting farmer initiatives could be an effective approach to the development of sustainable rural development projects perhaps more effective than the conventional strategy of providing farmers with supposedly proven agroforestry modules for their main fields. However, the main constraints that are observed for further developing

homegardens or expanding them out to the fields for great productivity and income generation are the lack of adequate germplasm, risk of accidental fires, survival of seedlings in dry season and soil fertility.At present, commercial products obtained from fruits like Tamaindus indica, Emblica officinales and many other fruits and fruit products and marketing of such products especially processed pulps, requires facilities most farmers can not afford to have themselouves. Similarly, though every village has a link with all farmers association of Mizoram (AMFU) for farmers welfare, the AMFU lacks the entrepreneurial and managerial expertise. Similarly, many home garden products can attract better price if semi-processed, for an example, powdering medicinal plant parts at farm-level, establishment of facilities at village or community level as cottage industries. If homegardens are to fulfill the promise of providing an alternative and more sustainable form of land use in Mizoram, extension efforts need to break out traditional paradigms and the mold of commodity based systems to interact with farmers at a different level of knowledge. The traditional socio-cultural practices involved in acquiring and testing new germplasm must be included in the rural development projects and

stimulated by creative new approaches, with farmers views as partners and experimenters in the development and domestication of new generations of tree crops. Besides, this form of extension should be accompanied by other initiatives and small scale experiments to improve the productivity of subsistence crops, through the use of green manures, polycultures and management of organic matter among other practices. Besies the NGOs (working on rural development and biodiversity conservation related projects) should educate the people on the role of homegardens in improving nutrition and serving a means to guarantee basic household food security. Nevertheless there had been a complete lack of quantitive data on nature, extent and cultural and biological significance of homegardens. Although we have carried out tree-crop interaction (allelopathic tree-crop interaction on selected crops), more information need to be gathered on the crops that are performing best under homegarden condition and best practices on sil conservation and improvement.

CONCLUSIONS In Mizoram, multistoried homestead gardens are a form of traditional agroforestry practice, very popular in the state. These systems are assemblage of plants that include many trees, shrubs, bamboos and herbaceous plants in or adjacent to a home or home compound. These are intended primarily for household consumption and there is also close association of woody perennials crops, and invariably livestock within the compounds of individual houses, with the crop-treeanimal unit being managed by family labour. Common fruits/ vegetables/ plants in the system are banana, papaya, guava, mango, jackfruit, brinjal, potato, sweet potato, chilli, tapioca, yam, beans, ginger, turmeric, etc.

These systems are

excellent examples of in-situ conservation where preservation of various

indigenous species especially the rare and endangered species. A large number of species reported to be threatened in the state found in the homegardens nevertheless contribute to the conservation of biodiversity at the ecosystem, species and within species levels. As far as the species composition is concerned, all home gardens complex, multi-storeyed environments with very high species diversity and a wide range of very varied ecological micro-niches. These features provide a wide range of ecological benefits and services and a valuable set of products for the rural poor. They are also important in the conservation of useful plant species since they contain very large numbers of species which are often absent or disappearing from other production systems.Thus, the homegardens could be regarded as convenient sites for traditional plant experimentation and domestication of wild germplasm and subsequently commercialized them. Although conservation is not the actual objective of the farmers, the farmers maintained crop diversity because they find these species to be somewhat useful and each plant type meets the producers needs. The pattern of diversity distribution among homegardens are usually different and related to three groups of interacting factors like the biological characteristics of the crops, the way in which the farmers manage the production and reproduction of the material and the way in which the environmental factors affect crop production We have noted that the farmers have been cultivating as many as 17 species which are very rare and on the verge of extinction from the state. Our interactions with the farmers also reveal that these species were drawn from the wild and are introduced in the homegardens and these species have now been used for several purposes. For an example, Curcummorpha longiflora is a very rare species but the farmers have retained in the homegardens because its rhizome is an effective cure for diarrhoea and dysentery. Musa glauca is yet another species very rare to the state but is found in most

homegardens because of use of its seeds and fibre, besides the spadix and convolute leaf sheath are used as vegetables. The various parts of the other rare plant species are used for several purpose like antidysentric, stomathic & digestive, against colic, hepatitis, bronchitis, diabetes etc.. Since these species are unlikely to be maintained on any scale in ex situ collections, home gardens may be the only reasonable way of maintaining these plant diversity. Preliminary evidences also suggest that home gardens often maintain many more local cultivars of some crops that might also be found in larger scale production systems. A detailed inventory of the rare and endangered species, however, is necessary to understand whether homegardens can conserve biodiversity to a larger extent. Besides, it is also intriguing why specific local cultivars are grown in the gardens for a specific period by the farmers and need based studies must answer these questions Multipurpose trees deliberately grown and/or retained in the homegardens not only diversify the tangible outputs from the system but also play an important ecological role in maintaining its sustainablility mainly through moderation of microclimate and efficient nutrient cycling. However, the woody perennials may also impart adverse effect on the germination and growth of the understorey crops through allelopathic interaction. The inter or intra-species effects of certain trees and crops occur due to competition for nutrition or release of allelochemical in the soil through various agents viz. residues putrefaction, chemical discharge by root etc., and such unrestricted chemicals discharge in and around the trees or crops inhibit or enhance the survival of other plants and eventually effecting its yield. The enormity of such effects depends on the available chemical concentration and the quality that remains in the soil. Most of the test crops except paddy were affected by Tamarindus leaf extract and hence, are incompatible. Soybean was sensitive to Artocarpus, whereas, germination and growth of ladys finger was

inhibited by all tree species except Artocarpus. Paddy was resistant to alleopathic effects of all tree species, although Areca, Citrus and Tamarindus showed some inhibition in bioassay. Our findings, however, are preliminary; hence, further studies are needed to clarify the possible physiological mechanisms involved so that identification of compatible combinations of tree and crops may be selected for home garden to improve their productivity and sustainability. Thus, it is observed that the decomposition and nutrient release of different leaf litter are mainly dependent on the initial litter chemistry, particularly the lignin, N concentration and lignin/N ratio. Unlike jhum, homegardens provide a certainty on food supply to the farmers year round, thereby not only meeting the dietary requirement but also regular cash needs of the family through sell of various products. According to a conservative estimate, a household can earn a monthly income of ` 3,000/ to ` 5,000/ depending on crop composition, size of the garden and management. The main crops sold in the local market are Sechium edule, Parkia timoriana, Passiflora edulis, Persea americana, Carica papaya, Citrus anamensis, C. limon, C. reticulata, Allium hookerii, Areca cathechu, Ananas comosus and Zingiber officinalis. The commonly sold vegetables include pumpkin, cucumber, ladys-finger etc and seasonal fruits like mango, orange, banana, grapes, pineapple, jack fruit, amla, tamarind etc. Majority of the farmers sell more than 60% of their produce for income generation while the rest are used for family consumption. Besides many other vegetable, fruit, flowers, bulbs/corms, fonds, medicinal plants also provide them a good economic return throughout the year. Studies across different regions indicate a wide variation in the proportion of homegarden products that are used for household consumption as opposed to sale. Nevertheless, the proportion of this products sold to the market is linked to the amount of cash income available to a

household. A higher proportion of homegarden products selling getting marketed reveal that the home gardening is becoming commercialized in Mizoram. In view of the fact that the jhum (local name for shifting cultivation) widely practiced in the state is still the predominant form of agriculture causing numerous ecological problem and resulting into plenty of degraded lands unsuitable for agricultural activities, home gardens should be promoted in such lands by appropriate policy and/or managemental interventions.

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