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Alder (Utis) pollarding

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Alder (Utis) Pollarding

What is pollarding? #Pollarding is a pruning system involving the removal of the upper branches of a tree, which promotes the growth of a dense head of foliage and branches and reduces shading.

Pollarding is especially useful for managing trees as part of an agricultural landscape, where harm to crops should be minimised while optimising benefits. The practice of pollarding alders (Alnus nepalensis) has been developed and perfected by various indigenous peoples in Northeast India, Northern Myanmar, and Southwest China, and is an important innovation in the shifting cultivation farming system. It is demonstrated at our Centre in #Godavari to show that indigenous practices in shifting cultivation can provide new options to improve agricultural systems across the Himalaya. Himalayan alders are found across the region at elevations between 900 masl and 2700 masl from Pakistan and Northwest India, to Bhutan, Northeast India, northern Myanmar, southern China, and into Indo-China. This pioneer species grows naturally or can be planted, even on highly degraded, unstable soils like landslide areas. It provides poles, firewood, and numerous secondary products such as wood for furniture and leaf-litter for composting. It is a non-leguminous species that fixes nitrogen in symbiosis with Frankia, and this makes it ideal for enhancing soil fertility even in very acidic soils. Also, its extensive lateral root system helps prevent soil erosion.

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