High intensity rainfall and floods

Although implementation of afforestation programmes in the upper parts of rivers are generally advised and forest depletion discouraged, also in India (e.g. Lohani and Acharya in Sahni and Ariyabandu 2003), there are many good reasons to plant and protect trees. But do not expect trees to stop floods or landslides immediately. Choosing trees according to the farmer's preference will go a long way towards improving watershed quality while also providing them with a livelihood, like that is also the case in wind protection (e.g. Onyewotu et al. 2003).

tte main causes of increased flooding are changes in riverbeds, destruction of wetlands, loss of groundcover, compaction of the soil around houses and on roads, and loss of temporary storage areas (Meine van Noordwijk, CIFOR, personal communication 2006). In contrast with this, people in the eastern floodplains of the Ganga and Brahmaputra in India and Bangladesh had a long tradition of living in harmony with floods, tte living style, the habitations, the crops grown were all evolved taking into consideration the climate and the flood-proneness of the area. Ancient people inhabiting the floodplains took care not to block the natural drains, preserved the natural beds and depressions, and cultivated only those crops which could stand submergence (H.P. Das, personal communication, 2006). In order to evolve an alternative development paradigm, the "modern" must assimilate the merits ofthe "traditional" (e.g. Dhameja, 2001).

As already indicated by Stigter et al. (2005a), there are few agrometeorological components other than soil cover mitigation in high intensity rainfall impact and flood control, tteir impact reduction applies in our fields to techniques of using inputs, soil conditions and planting densities, choices of cropping systems and varieties, applications of (improved) protection strategies in crop/tree space and applications of other multiple cropping microclimate management and manipulation techniques (Stigter et al. 2003a). A detailed example for agriculture on sloping land has been given by Kinama et al. (2007). ttey proved a combination of contour hedgerows and mulches most suitable to limit water run off and soil loss in heavy showers, but the largest challenge is to minimize competition between hedges and crops. Other challenges are in preventing the mentioned flood causes under abundant rainfall conditions to become serious.

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