Agroforestry is the management and integration of trees and crops on the same plot of land and can be an integral component of productive agriculture. It may include existing native trees and introduced new species.
Many crop plants can be cultivated along with bamboo. In bamboo plantation, the planting is done at a wider spacing between rows that leaves gap in canopy for first few years, farmers can cultivate short rotation crops and add to the profitability of the farming. Various agricultural crops have been grown successfully like tomato, chillies, beans, watermelon, sweet potato, maize, wheat, red gram, soya bean, cowpea, mustard, ginger, turmeric, banana, cassava and many more. Some of the shrubby medicinal plants can also be introduced as an intercrop in bamboo plantations.
The use of nitrogen fixing leguminous plants is particularly suggested to improve the availability of nitrogen. Use of living mulch or cover crops will also serve to conserve moisture due to their spreading and leafy nature. The presence of such intercrops also helps recycle and retain the nutrients in the soil and prevent the growth of weeds. The duration of intercropping depends on the spacing provided in bamboo plantations. As soon as the canopy closes, the shade prevents many crops from coming up well. Trimming of the culms beyond the marketable pole length could be considered as a means of improving the light availability and thereby permit intercrops to be cultivated for a longer duration and improve the profitability of the farming.
Bamboo can also be planned at a very wide spacing of over 20 m between rows to accommodate the field crops permanently. Vertically grown non arching bamboos such as T.oliverii is a better choice for Agro-Forestry model.
Bamboo is highly versatile plant that are cultivated for multiple purpose.
Bamboo is grown for Cleaning the environment, Providing Feedstock for Renewable Energy such as electricity Bio-CNG, Bio-Ethanol, Bio-Char, reclaiming the Land that is unsuitable for cultivation such as Sodic soil, Mine Dumps, Closed Mines, Degraded Soil, Water Logged Land, Ash Dumps, etc.