Soil is a renewable natural resource. It supports various living organisms and is a medium of plant growth. Topsoil is the uppermost layer of the Earth. It consists of humus. Factors such as variation of temperature, parent rock, decomposers, and running water affect the formation of soil. Fertile soil is essential for agricultural production. In this article, the Distribution of soils in India has been discussed.
Characteristics of Soil
- It has enough moisture to supply essential nutrients to plants.
- It should have sufficient depth to enable the plants to grow their roots.
- It is rich in nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
- It contains organic matter. The fertility of soil can be improved by adding fertilizers.
Distribution Alluvial soils in India
- Inland Alluvium: Plains of Indus, the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers. It extends from Punjab to Bangladesh and Assam. It is also found in Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and some parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
- Deltaic Alluvium: Deltas of Rivers Ganga–Brahmaputra, Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri.
- Coastal Alluvium: Coastal strips of Peninsular India and in the plains of Gujarat.
Distribution of Black Soils in India
Deccan lava traps including parts of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and some parts of Tamil Nadu.
Distribution of Red Soils in India
Parts of Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bundelkhand, Odisha, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland. It is found in the Plateau regions of Peninsular India.
Distribution of Laterite Soils in India
Highland areas of the Peninsular Plateau. It is found in some parts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
Methods to Prevent Soil Erosion
- Contour Ploughing: When one ploughs along the contour lines, it is called contour ploughing. It decreases the flow of water down the slopes and thus helps in soil conservation.
- Terrace Farming: When steps are cut out on the slopes of the hills making terraces, it reduces soil erosion.
- Strip Cropping: When strips of grass are grown between the strips of crops, they are known as strip cropping. It breaks down the speed of winds.
- Shelter Belts: When trees are planted in a row, it breaks the force of the winds. This method has proved very useful in the station of dunes in the deserts of western India.
- Plugging of Gullies: The gullies made in the soil are plugged with deposition of silt during heavy rainfall. Soil conservation is required to prevent the loss of soil fertility and agricultural productivity. Soil erosion may also increase the risks of droughts and floods. Landslides also occur because of deforestation and soil erosion.
Soil conservation programmes in India
In India, many programmes have been undertaken to prevent soil erosion.
- An integrated watershed management programme was launched during the Sixth Plan in flood-prone rivers. The programme enhances the ability of the catchment by absorbing rainwater and reducing erosion.
- A scheme for reclamation and development of the ravine areas was launched in 1987–88 in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. The scheme included afforestation and reclamation of ravines.
- The scheme was also launched for controlling shifting cultivation in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Assam.
- National Project on Development and Use of Bio fertilizers and National Project on Quality Control were implemented during the Seventh Five Year Plan. It aimed at balancing the use of fertilizers.
Also, Read Causes of Soil Erosion