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Agricultural development and regional carrying capacity measurement of agro-ecosystem in Jhabua tribal district in Madhya Pradesh

Singh, Vivek Kumar and Singh, RD (2007): Agricultural development and regional carrying capacity measurement of agro-ecosystem in Jhabua tribal district in Madhya Pradesh. Published in: Indian Journal of Development Research and Social Action (An International Journal) , Vol. 3, No. 1 (June 2007): pp. 85-92.

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The agro-ecosystem is a system composed of population, natural resources and economic activities related in a dynamic interaction in terms of socio-ecological and socio-economic relations conditioned by endogenous and exogenous factors. With time, the agro-ecosystem undergoes changes. By analysing the agro-ecosystem dynamics over a period of time, we can plan the agro-ecosystem for higher level of production and productivity, achieving higher level of resource use and environmental efficiency and maximise food security as well as livelihood security.

Due to the control of forest area by the government, the tribes are largely depending on agriculture. Jhabua district is tribal dominated with almost 86.84 percent tribal population of approximately 14 lakhs by 2001 Census. The geographical area of the district is 6793 sq. km. The net cultivated area is in the district is 64 percent to the total geographical area. The Jhabua district is located in the western part of Madhya Pradesh on the spur of the Vindhyas and along the western boundry of the Malwa plateau. It adjoins by Banswara district of Rajasthan in Northwest, by Panchmahal and Barodra district of Gujrat in the west, Dhulia district of Maharastra and West Nimar district of Madhya Pradesh in south, Dhar district in the east and Rutlam in the west.

The Carrying capacity of agricultural ecosystem may be measured by taking production, productivity and socio-ecologic criteria. Food security, production and food availability and population and employment are used as indicators for measuring the carrying capacity of any agro-ecosystem. The carrying capacity measurement is important to check the capacity of the agro-ecosystem to support the population, the productivity changes of the ecosystem and food availability and other measures.

In this paper, an attempt is made to analyse the adaptation of tribal population to agriculture and changes taking place in the agro-ecosystem and its productivity. It is necessary to identify population change, its density and spread, changes taking place in habitat in terms of land use changes and population and agro-ecosystem linkages in terms of landholding, population carrying capacity, food security, employment condition etc. Such an analysis would help to undertake agricultural development food security and employment security in the tribal regions with the objectives of eco-restoration, conservation and development.

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