Soil is the most important natural resources. In India, you can get a variety of soils compared to any other country of similar size in the world. The rich, deep, and fertile soils support a high density of population through agricultural prosperity.
Soils in India
Soil is the uppermost layer of the land surface. Soil is usually composed of minerals, organic matter, living organisms, air, and water.
Grains in the soil are of three categories, known as, clay, silt, and sand. Generally, Soils are formed by the weathering of rocks under different conditions.
Some soils are formed by the deposition of agents of denudation. Soils can vary greatly from one region to the other.
Types of Soils
According to The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), soils of India divided into the following 8 groups:
- Alluvial Soil
- Black soils
- Red soils
- Laterite soils
- Forest and mountain soils
- Arid and desert soils
- Saline and alkaline soils
- Peaty and marshy soils
There are two types of Alluvial soil, known as:
- Khadar: These are light colored and more siliceous.
- Bhangar: These are the older alluvium composed of lime nodules and has clayey composition. It’s color is dark.
Soil Formation: Sediments deposited by streams and rivers when they slowly loose Alluvial soil created.
Chemical properties of soil: These are rich in potash, phosphoric acid, lime and carbon compounds but poor in nitrogen
Nature of soil: There is no differentiation in Sandy, loam, silt, clay.
Distribution of soil: Ganga and Brahmaputra river valleys; Plains of Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Punjab, Haryana, West Bengal and Bihar.
Growing Crops: Rice, Wheat, Sugarcane and Oil seeds
Soil Formation: These soils are derived from basalts of Deccan trap.
Colour of soil: Due to presence of titanium, iron this soil colour is black.
Chemical properties of Black Soils: Consist of calcium and magnesium Carbonates, high quantities of iron, aluminium, lime and magnesia.
Nature of soil: Soil is Sticky when wet high degree of moisture retentivity.
Soil Distribution: Maharashtra, and Malwa plateaus, Kathiawar peninsula, Telangana an Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh and northern part of Karnataka
Growing Crops: Cotton, Millets, Tobacco and Sugarcane
Soil Formation: decomposition of ancient crystalline rocks like granites and gneisses and from rock type.
Chemical properties: rich in minerals such as iron and magnesium. Deficient in nitrogen, humus, phosphoric acid and lime.
Nature of soil: Light texture, porous friable presence of limited soluble salts Clay fraction of the red soils generally consists of Kaolinitic minerals.
Soil Distribution: Eastern parts of Deccan plateau, southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Chota Nagpur plateau in Jharkhand.
Growing Crops: Wheat, Rice, Cotton, Sugarcane and Pulses.
Soil Formation: This type of soil formed in the regions where alternate wet and hot dry conditions prevail. It is formed by the process of leaching.
Chemical properties of Laterite soil: This soil Composed mainly of hydrated oxides of iron and aluminium, Nature.
More acidic on higher areas poor in high level, cannot retain moisture while plains they consist of heavy loam and clay and easily retain moisture.
Distribution of soil: Assam hills, hill summits of Kerala and Karnataka and eastern Ghats and region of Odisha.
Growing Crops: Coffee, Rubber, Cashew nut and Tapioca
Forest and mountain soils
Forest and mountain soil differ from region to region depending on climate.
Soil Formation: Due to mechanical weathering caused by snow, rain, temperature variation
Chemical properties of soil are deficient in potash, Phosphorus and lime.
Nature of soil: light, sandy, thin and found with the pieces of rock. Their character changes with the parent rocks.
Very rich in humus. slow decomposition makes it acidic.
Soil Distribution: Coniferous forest belt of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim, Eastern and the Western Ghats.
Growing Crops: Coffee, tea, rice, maize, potato, barley, tropical fruits and various types of spices.
Arid and desert soils
Soil Formation: Due to the prevalence of the dry climate, high temperature, and accelerated evaporation, the soil is dry, it also lacks humus content due to the absence of vegetative cover.
Chemical properties of soil: Contain high percentages of soluble salts, alkaline with varying degree of calcium carbonate and are poor in organic matter; rich enough in phosphate though poor in nitrogen.
Nature of soil: light in colour, low humus, friable structure, low in moisture.
Distribution of soil: Rajasthan, Northern Gujarat and southern Punjab.
Growing Crops: millets, barley, cotton, maize and pulses (with irrigation).
Saline and alkaline soils
Soil Formation: Saline and alkaline soil formed due to ill drainage which causes water logging, injurious salts are transferred from subsurface to the topsoil by the capillary action, it causes the salinization of soils.
Chemical properties of soil: liberate sodium, magnesium and calcium salts and sulfurous acid.
Nature of soil: Consists of un decomposed rock and mineral fragments which on weathering.
Distribution of soil: Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In the drier parts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
Peaty and marshy soils
Soil Formation: Peaty and marshy soil formed in humid regions from the organic matter. It is found in the areas of heavy rainfall and high humidity Peaty soils are black, heavy and highly acidic.
Chemical properties of soil: Deficient in potash and phosphate in Peaty and marshy soil. It contains considerable amount of soluble salts and 10-40 per cent of organic matter; and high proportion of vegetable matter.
Nature of soil: Contain considerable amount of Soluble salts and 10-40 per cent of organic matter; and high proportion of vegetable matter.
Distribution of soil: Kottayam and Alappuzha districts of Kerala; and coastal areas of Odisha and Tamil Nadu, Sundarbans of West Bengal, in Bihar and Almora district of Uttarakhand
Growing Crops: Paddy, jute.