Soil resources are a form of an asset of our environment that provides a range of ecosystem services. Soil is the most important renewable natural resource for nurturing different types of life on the ground. Soil is basically formed from the physical, chemical, and biological weathering of different types of rocks. The soil becomes fertile due to the mixing of various types of minerals and organic matter and fossils. Therefore soil resources provide the physical base to support the productivity and cycling of biological resources, Soil, parent rock, climate, vegetation, fossils, and time are the major factors in the process of soil formation. Soil directly or indirectly meets the needs of all living beings. It takes hundreds of years to form a layer of soil. There is always change between these layers and these layers are also moving.
Factors Governing Soil Resources Formation
The major factors controlling soil resources formation are as follows:
The climate makes the powder of rocks by weathering and erosion of rocks by various physical and chemical changes. This powder takes the form of soil over time. For example, the excess and decrease of temperature cause the expansion and contraction of the shells, causing them to shatter. Similarly, weathering and erosion occur in rocks through water in areas with excessive rainfall, which causes soil formation.
2. Nature of rocks
The properties of rocks from which soil is formed are found in it. For example, black soil formed from volcanic rocks has its properties. This soil is best for cotton production. As the soil develops, the basic properties of rocks decrease.
3. Land condition
A land condition also affects soil formation. In places where there is a lot of slope on the land, the fertile power of the rain flows down with it and gathers it on the flat land below. This reduces the fertility of the soil above. Similarly, the alluvial soil of places where floodwater is collected every year has higher fertility.
4. Effect of flora
Rotten throat part of the vegetation ie Humus has a special contribution in increasing the fertility of the soil. Therefore, in places where rotting vegetation is found more, the soil is more fertile.
Soil is formed very slowly and in a very long time. As time goes by, the fertility of soil increases. In other words, the fertility of old soil is more than that of new soil.
Classification of Indian Soil
Soil found in India is mainly classified into the following 7 classes-
1. Mountain Soils
India has about 300000 square kilometers of mountain soil extending from Kashmir to Uttar Pradesh. New, rocky, sandy, and lime soils are found in the mountainous part of the Himalayas. Fossils are found more in it, which makes it very fertile. Soils made of igneous rocks are found in the higher parts of the Himalayas, on which there is good cultivation of tea, fruits, and dry fruits.
2. Laterite soil
Laterite soil is spread over an area of about 800000 square kilometers. This soil is red and light yellow in color. Pebbles and pieces of stone are found in large quantities in them. This soil is not fertile due to a lack of magnesium nitrogen and lime. The plateau and hills of the south are the main areas of laterite soil. This type of soil is found more in areas with high rainfall. Due to excess rainfall, the fertility of this soil is washed away. This soil is found in the Eastern Ghats, Malabar Coast, Southern Maharashtra, Orissa, Assam, etc. areas of Madhya Pradesh. It produces crops of jowar, millet, wheat, pulses, etc.
3. Black soil
It is spread over an area of about 5.1 lakh square kilometers. Black soil is formed from volcanic lava-containing substances. In ancient times, lava from the eruption of a volcano in the southern plateau spread over the surface and solidified in the form of what is today black soil or dry soil. This soil has a higher water holding capacity. This soil is considered most suitable for cotton cultivation due to excess iron, phosphorus, lime magnesium, aluminum, and fossil elements. This soil is found mainly in the plateau parts of Maharashtra, Saurashtra, Malwa, and South Central.
4. Alluvial soil
This soil is made up of fertile materials carried by rivers. Hence it is called the most fertile soil. It is spread over an area of about 7.7 lakh square kilometers of India. The fossilized soil brought out of the mountainous regions by the rivers in the vast northern plain of India is called ‘Kaap’ or ‘Cachar’ soil. At the time of the flood, the new alluvial soil along the banks of the rivers gets enlarged, the old alluvial soil is found in the parts where the flood water cannot reach, which is called ‘Bangar’ soil. New alluvial soil brought by rivers is called ‘Khadar’ soil. New alluvial soil is more fertile than old alluvial soil. Food derives from this soil for 50% of India’s population. It consists of wheat, rice, sugarcane, oilseeds, pulses, tobacco, and farming on a large scale.
5. Desert soil
India has approximately 4% of the total area covered with desert soil. It is found in the Thar Desert and its adjacent arid regions. This soil is highly saline and also has very low water holding capacity, hence its fertility is very low. In irrigated areas, jowar, bajra, groundnut, urad, etc. crops are cultivated in this soil. In India, it is found in western Rajasthan, Gujarat, southern Punjab, and southwestern Haryana.
6. Forest Soil
This soil is found in forests with adequate rainfall in mountainous areas. In the river valleys, this soil is loam and silt. The fertile energy of the higher reaches flows with rainwater, making the soil fertile in the lower areas of the river valleys, especially in the river steps and alluvial plumes, etc.
7. Peaty and Other Organic soil
In this soil, most organic elements are found in large quantities. It is commonly found in the wetlands. The marshy soil is found in coastal parts of Orissa, delta areas of Sundarbans, intermediate areas of Bihar, Almora in Uttarakhand, and southeastern Tamil Nadu and Kerala coasts.