Give an account of the distribution of different types of soils found in India. 10 marks

Mentor’s comment-

  • In the introduction briefly explain the significance of soil.
  • In the body discuss each of the soil variety and their distribution in India with the help of a map. Ensure maps are more informative and conveying and not mere outline of the Indian land borders. Highlight the importance of each of them.
  • Conclude with importance of the diversity in soli varieties owing to regional characteristics and other geomorphological factors.

Soil is our prime natural and economic resource. Soils in India differ in composition and structure. In India, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has classified soils into 8 categories. Alluvial Soil, Black Cotton Soil, Red Soil, Laterite Soil, Mountainous or Forest Soils, Arid or Desert Soil, Saline and Alkaline Soil, Peaty and Marshy Soil are the categories of Indian Soil.

There are a variety of reasons for these variations in soil. Primarily soils are different from region to region due to the climatic conditions (like temperature, rainfall etc). The variety of flora and fauna of a region also has an influence on the soil profile. And there can even be a human influence.

Alluvial Soil:
 These are formed by the deposition of sediments by rivers.
 They are rich in humus and very fertile. These soils are renewed every year.
 This soil is well-drained and poorly drained with an immature profile in undulating areas. This soil has potash deficiency.
 The colour of soil varies from light grey to ash.
 This soil is suited for Rice, maize, wheat, sugarcane, oilseeds etc.They are found in Great Northern plain, lower valleys of Narmada and Tapti and Northern Gujarat.                                                          This soil is divided into Khadar Soil (New) and Bhangar Soil (Old).

Black or Regur Soil:
 These soils are made up of volcanic rocks and lava-flow.
 It is concentrated over Deccan Lava Tract which includes parts of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
 It consists of Lime, Iron, Magnesium and also Potash but lacks in Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Organic matter.
 It has high water retaining capacity and good for the cotton cultivation, Tobacco, citrus fruits, castor, and linseed.

Red Soil:
 These are derived from weathering of ancient metamorphic rocks of Deccan Plateau.
 The presence of ferric oxides makes the colour of soil red. The top layer of the soil is red and horizon below is yellowish.
 Generally, these soils are deficient in phosphate, lime, magnesia, humus and nitrogen.
 This soil is good for the cultivation of wheat, cotton, pulses, tobacco, millets, orchards, potato, and oilseeds.
 They cover almost the whole of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and parts of Orissa.

Laterite Soil:
 These soft, when they are wet and ‘hard and cloddy’ on drying.
 These soils are formed due to intense leaching and are well developed on the summits of hills and uplands.
 They are commonly found in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and hilly areas of Orissa and Assam.
 These are poor in organic matter, nitrogen, potassium, lime and potash.
 These iron and aluminium rich soils are suitable for the cultivation of rice, ragi, sugarcane and cashew nuts.

Mountain Soil:
 These soils are formed as a result of the accumulation of organic matter derived from forest growth.
 They are found in Himalayan region and vary in different regions according to altitude.
 Tea is grown in those areas which receive sufficient rainfall.
 These soils are immature and dark brown in colour.

Desert Soil:
 This soil is deposited by wind action and mainly found in the arid and semi-arid areas like Rajasthan, West of the Aravallis, Northern Gujarat, Saurashtra, Kachchh, Western parts of Haryana and southern part of Punjab.
 They are sandy with low organic matter.
 It has low soluble salts and moisture with very low retaining capacity. If irrigated these soil give a high agricultural return.
 These suitable less water requiring crops like Bajra, pulses, fodder, and guar.
 As evaporation is in excess of rainfall, the soil has a high salt content and saline layer forms a hard crust.

Peaty and Marshy Soils:
 This soil originates from the areas where adequate drainage is not possible.
 It is rich in organic matter and has high salinity.
 They are deficient in potash and phosphate.
 These mainly found in Sunderbans delta, Kottayam, and Alappuzha districts of Kerala, Rann of Kachchh, deltas of Mahanadi etc.

Saline and Alkaline Soils:
 Theses also called as Reh, Usar, Kallar, Rakar, Thur and Chopan.
 These are mainly found in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra.
 Sodium chloride and sodium sulphate are present in this soil.
 It is suitable for leguminous crops.

However, in south and central India, floods wash away rich, weathered soil, which are deposited in reservoirs or as sand bars along the river bed or in the sea. Any rehabilitation programme must consider this lost soil. Organic matter plays a key role in maintaining soil fertility by holding nitrogen and sulphur in organic forms and other essential nutrients such as potassium and calcium. The loss of organic matter is accelerated by frequent tillage. The need of the hour is to educate farmers in other regions as well about what they can do to improve the health of their nutrient-depleted soil by following practices such as crop rotation, and using organic manure boosters such as cow dung and dried leaves.

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Arun Vashisht
Arun Vashisht
1 year ago

Please review (i didn’t apply the filter on first page coz it totally erased the diagram)

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Arun Vashisht
Arun Vashisht
1 year ago
Reply to  Parth Verma

thank you sir