Medicinal and aromatic plants for soil and water conservation: An economic analysis, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India  

Subhash Chand1 , D.V. Singh2 , M. Madhu3 , A.k. Sikka4
1. Principal Scientist, ICAR-NIAP, New Delhi, India
2. Principal Scientist, ICAR-IISWC, Dehradun, India
3. Principal Scientist, ICAR- IISWC, Research Centre, Koraput, Odisha, India
4. DDG, NRM (ICAR), New Delhi, India
Author    Correspondence author
Molecular Soil Biology, 2015, Vol. 6, No. 1   doi: 10.5376/msb.2015.06.0001
Received: 08 Nov., 2014    Accepted: 13 Jan., 2015    Published: 27 Jan., 2015
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Chand et al., 2015. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants for Soil and Water Conservation in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India: An Economic Analysis,, Molecular Soil Biology, Vol.6, No.1 1-6 (doi: 10.5376/msb.2015.06.0001)

Abstract

This study was carried out to examine the economics and soil and water conservation value of prominent medicinal and aromatic plants in the hilly areas of Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu during 1998-99 to 2004-05. The six species of medicinal and aromatic plants were planted in 15m × 5m plots on 15% land slope to assess the relative soil and water conservation efficiency and economics. The Geranium recorded highest average green biomass yield followed by Digitalis, Cineraria, Mentha and Rosemary. Runoff and soil loss was maximum under Thyme followed by Cineraria because of their poor canopy cover. The lowest average annual soil loss and runoff over the year was observed from Digitalis followed by Mentha and Geranium due to their quick establishment and higher canopy cover. The soil and water conservation efficiency varied from 39.1 to 97.2%. Whereas, relative soil and water conservation efficiency (RSWCE) of 97.2,90.5,90.0,91 and 39.1% in Digitalis, Mentha, Geranium, Rosemary and Cineraria, respectively and observed almost zero in the case of Thyme. Based on economic criteria order of medicinal plants profitability it was observed that Digitalis, Cineraria, Rosemary had 1:9.4, 1:4.2 and 1:2.5, respectively higher benefit cost ratio (BCR) where as Geranium has given higher internal rate of returns (IRR). However, IRR for Thyme and Mentha was almost negligible. Thus, RSWCE and Economic criteria does not follow the same pattern of preference of medicinal and aromatic plants. Eight years of the study suggest that Digitalis, Mentha, Geranium and Rosemary cultivation could be the viable proposition for a diversified land use system as well as for cover crop, intercrop and vegetative barrier in the Nilgiris for effective natural resources conservation. The economic analysis also found to be viable for cultivation of these plants in Nilgiris.

Keywords
Aromatic; Economics; Medicinal; Runoff and Soil conservation; Soil loss
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