Monday, October 18, 2010



A four-day training workshop on \'Water Balance Studies in

Agroforestry\' commenced today at College of Agriculture (COA), PAU,

attracting the scientists working on different aspects of forestry and

agroforestry. The workshop has been organized by Department of

Forestry and Natural Resources, PAU, under the CSIRO /AusAID Public

Service Sector Linkages Program (PSLP) project titled \' Improved

prediction of agroforestry productivity and reclamation opportunities

in shallow waterable and salt-affected landscapes of India and


Inaugurating the workshop, Dr Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU,

pointed out, \" According to a United Nations report, 77 million people

are expected to face water shortage by 2025, if people continued to

use water at the current rate and that, as a result of scarcity of

water, global annual food- production losses could be up to 350

million tons by then. In India, the bread basket states of Punjab,

Haryana and western UP have extensively adopted the rice-wheat

cropping system.\" Dr Kang emphasized that water crisis necessitates

for economically viable and sustainable cropping systems.

Addressing the delegates and the participants, Dr Kang called for an

urgent need to have research studies on long-term monitoring of water

at catchment and regional scales, comparative water use by different

agricultural and forest vegetation types, effects of

plantation-management practices, such as thinning, spacing, etc. on

water use, the socio-economic analysis and environmental benefits and

impact of the plantations.

One of the thrust areas of PAU research is natural resource

management through generation of environment-friendly technologies,

said Dr. Kang adding that the training on water balance would provide

comprehensive knowledge to the participants updating their knowledge

about the latest techniques to validate more accurately the water use

by different components of agroforestry.

Speaking on this occasion, Dr Nico Marcar, Principal Research

Scientist, Ecosystem Sciences, CSIRO, Australia, highlighted the

project objectives and emphasized on the need to provide training in

water balance principles, its measurement and exercises, reduce

recharge and use ground water and conserve irrigation water. Economic,

Biological and Environmental factors were explained as an answer to

\'Why incorporate trees into irrigated or dry land agricultural

system.\' Describing it as a key part of AusAID, Dr Marcar added that

one of the mandates of the project with a capacity building focus is

to organize training programs in India and Pakistan. He discussed the

multiple benefits of agroforestry that include soil enrichment,

bio-diversity conservation, benefits of carbon sequestration,

promotion of flora and fauna, etc. Other Australian scientists

participating in the deliberations included Dr.Tivi Thivianathan,

CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Canberra, Australia and Dr. Richard Gregory

Benyon, University of Melbourne, Australia.

Earlier, Dr R.K. Mahey, Director of Research, welcomed all the

delegates, PAU deans, directors and the faculty members of COA. Dr

Mahey stated that systematic studies on water balance are lacking

although the issue is of great concern to agricultural sustainability.

He highlighted that PAU has conducted a good deal of useful studies

on natural resource management, especially water and soil health. He

said that the two major fall outs of rice-wheat sequence in Punjab and

elsewhere have been depleting water table and deteriorating soil

health. Dr. Mahey appreciated the state government\'s landmark

initiative to effect legislation on the paddy transplantation at an

appropriate date.

Dr R.S.Sidhu, Dean, College of Agriculture, while proposing the vote

of thanks said that in the cotton belt of south-western Punjab, the

problem of water logging was experienced whereas in the central Punjab

it was of depleting water table. He said that the workshop will

discuss such issues and come out with relevant strategies.

The workshop will proceed for four days wherein different issues

relevant to water balance studies such as site water balance,

principles and techniques of transpiration and evapotranspiration

studies, catchment scale estimation, measurement of soil physical

properties, modeling and estimation studies for tree and crop growths,

scenario planning information framework, etc. will be discussed,

informed Dr. Avtar Singh, Head, Department of Forestry and Natural

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