A large number of multipurpose trees and shrubs are deliberately retained or incorporated on farms in the subsistence farming systems on the steep slopes in parts of Nepal. Woody perennials are maintained in contour strips across the slopes and around the fields. The contribution of these trees is the production of fodder and firewood and their protective function in reducing the erosion hazards and thereby making crop production possible in those steep slopes where profitable cropping would otherwise be extremely difficult. Although the hill farming system extends over quite a large area and accounts for a large number of Nepal's population, it has not received any research attention nor benefited by any scientific innovations. Study indicates that there are improvement possibilities in terms of component technologies as well as farming systems including the incorporation of the several locally available medicinal plants.
Farmers in Tamil Nadu State, India, integrate numerous species of multipurpose trees and shrubs on their farmlands in close association with agricultural crops and/or livestock. The dominant among them are [Borassus flabellifer], [Tamarindus indica], [Ceiba pentandra], [Acacia leucophloea] and [A. nilotica]. These woody perennials are better able to cope with poor growing conditions. Their increasing integration on farmlands represents a strategy to minimise risk of crop failure. Some species ([eg] [Prosopis juliflora] and [Delonix elata]) are deliberately used to ameliorate infertile or saline soils in order to permit the growing of annual crops. In addition to producing fuelwood, charcoal, fruit and fodder and providing many service functions, these species require only fewer inputs and give the farmer a choice of management options in the event of poor crop growth. The productivity of these traditionally managed and little-studied agroforestry systems can considerably be improved by scientific interventions.
Suspensions of seed powder from trees and shrubs of the Moringaceae family can effectively be used to clarify water, even turbid water from the River Nile. Species from this family have a variety of other uses as well. Although they show considerable promise for multipurpose use in the tropical belt, little is known about how to cultivate the various species.
[Arenga pinnata] is the most important sugar palm of the humid tropics. Besides yielding sugar, it provides a great number of products and benefits to its users, and is one of the most diverse multipurpose tree species in culture. In Indonesia, native populations all make use of the palm, although the intensity of use, and the products which are used, vary widely among places. The peoples of East Kalimantan where there is a very low population density and a Muslim population, makes relatively little use of the palm. The peoples of North Sumatra, with a mostly Christian population, and of West Java, with a very high population density make intensive use of the sugar palm. The most advanced cropping and cultivation patterns have developed in North Sulawesi, where many old traditions are based on sugar palm cultivation.