Agriculture and Farming Technology Updates

ISRO ‘Bhuvan’: Exploring Agroforestry Potential In India

A groundbreaking Bhuvan-based tool for assessing agroforestry suitability in India

The tool explores the potential of agroforestry in transforming wastelands and contributing to a more sustainable future for agriculture.


Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) ISRO has created a new tool called Bhuvan to help farmers in India decide if their land is suitable for agroforestry. This tool shows how space technology can be used to protect the environment and promote better farming practices. By using data from satellites, India can decide where to plant trees and improve dry or unused land. This way, one can help turn unused land into productive farms, making agriculture more sustainable. 

ISRO’s unique initiative 

ISRO is using satellite data to help farmers make better decisions about their land. This new tool helps decide where to grow trees with crops and animals. This tool uses satellite data to show which areas are best for this kind of farming. It’s a big step towards making unused land green again. Many organizations worked together to make this tool, showing how technology can help the environment. 

The tool shows that a lot of land in India is good for this type of farming, especially in states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana. The tool is available for anyone to use, like farmers, organizations, and researchers. It’s important to use this information to make better decisions about how to use the land. By growing trees with crops and animals, the land can become healthier and more sustainable. This helps fight climate change and protects the environment. 

What is Bhuvan-based tool? 

The Bhuvan-based tool for assessing agroforestry suitability in India is called the Agroforestry Suitability Assessment Tool (ASAT). ASAT utilizes Bhuvan, which is an Indian satellite imagery and mapping platform, to delineate suitable agroforestry areas based on factors such as soil type, topography, land use, and climate conditions. This tool helps farmers and land managers in making informed decisions for integrating agroforestry practices into their land use systems.

The Bhuvan-based tool is made by NITI Aayog, ISRO, and other groups using remote sensing and GIS technologies. It shows where agroforestry can be successful in different parts of India. The Greening and Restoration of Wastelands with Agroforestry (G.R.O.W)- Suitability Mapping portal on Bhuvan lets everyone see this data. People in agriculture, non-profit groups, businesses, and researchers can use this information for their projects. Having open data like this is important for working together to take care of the land.

Data analysis is simple and fast 

The Bhuvan-based tool integrates various geospatial datasets such as Wastelands, Land Use Land Cover, Waterbodies, Soil Organic Carbon, and Slope to establish the Agroforestry Suitability Index (ASI) for national-level prioritization. This index will help in identifying areas that are most suitable for agroforestry practices, enabling policymakers and land managers to make informed decisions about land use and restoration. 

Dr. M. Annadurai, Director of ISRO’s Regional Remote Sensing Centre (RRSC), emphasized the importance of using satellite technology for monitoring and managing natural resources. He stated, “The Bhuvan-based tool for agroforestry suitability assessment is a step towards leveraging satellite data for sustainable land management practices. By integrating various geospatial datasets, we can effectively identify and prioritize areas for agroforestry, leading to greening and restoration of wastelands.” 

Experts believe that agroforestry has the potential to address multiple environmental challenges such as soil erosion, water scarcity, and deforestation. They believe Agroforestry not only improves soil organic carbon levels but also provides habitat for various plant and animal species. By promoting agroforestry practices, we can contribute to the restoration of degraded landscapes and increase resilience to climate change. 

Utilising wasteland for agroforestry 

The emphasis on converting underutilised areas, especially wastelands, for agroforestry aligns with national commitments to restore degraded land and create additional carbon sinks.

Agroforestry highlights the potential benefits of improving sustainability and profitability, further reinforcing the importance of alternative land use systems in addressing environmental challenges. The development of this Bhuvan-based tool is a testament to India’s commitment to environmental conservation and sustainability. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies and collaboration, the country is making strides towards greening and restoring wastelands, ultimately contributing to global efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainable development.

With the increasing concerns about environmental degradation and climate change, agroforestry has gained popularity as a solution for restoring degraded lands and increasing biodiversity. In India, the growing need for tools and technologies to assess the suitability of different land types for agroforestry is due to a significant portion of land being underutilized or degraded.

What is Agroforestry? 

Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland. It combines agricultural and forestry practices to create a sustainable and productive land use system. Agroforestry can provide a wide range of benefits, including improved soil health, increased biodiversity, enhanced water quality, and increased income for farmers. It is considered a more environmentally friendly approach to agriculture compared to traditional monoculture farming methods. 

Why the need to assess agroforestry suitability in India? 

1. Increasing population and food demands: With a growing population in India, there is an increasing demand for food production.

2. Climate change adaptation: Agroforestry can play a vital role in climate change adaptation by improving soil fertility, increasing water retention, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Assessing the suitability of agroforestry can help identify areas where such practices can be implemented to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

3. Biodiversity conservation: Agroforestry systems promote biodiversity by providing habitat for various plant and animal species. Assessing the suitability of agroforestry can help identify areas where such systems can be established to promote biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services.

4. Soil erosion prevention: Agroforestry systems can help prevent soil erosion by improving soil structure and stabilizing slopes. Assessing the suitability of agroforestry can help identify areas prone to soil erosion. Here such systems can be implemented to protect the soil and improve land productivity.

5. Livelihood improvement: Agroforestry can provide additional sources of income for farmers. Producing timber, fruits, nuts, and other non-timber forest products can make this possible.

Assessing the suitability of agroforestry can help identify areas where such systems can be established to improve the livelihoods of farmers and rural communities. 

Collaboration for Bhuvan initiative 

The Bhuvan-based tool for assessing agroforestry suitability in India is a significant step. It is towards promoting sustainable land management practices. It even helps in harnessing the potential of agroforestry for environmental conservation and livelihood improvement. India continues to address environmental challenges and work towards mitigating climate change. The integration of agroforestry into land use systems offers a promising solution for sustainable agriculture and biodiversity conservation.

This includes collaboration of various organizations and the commitment to utilizing technology for environmental protection. The Bhuvan-based tool exemplifies India’s dedication to promoting sustainable development. It even contributes to global efforts towards a greener future. The Bhuvan tool is a great example of how teamwork and new ideas can make a difference. It is all about the future of India’s land and natural resources. 

Also Read: How Birds Support Farmers In The Agricultural Sector? What factors Need To Be Considered?

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