Our past generation left land for us without exploiting them too much and it is expected from us too. We fulfill most of our needs from land, such as food, clothing, shelter, drinking water, etc. But in past few decades the quality of land is degrading fiercely because of human activity. Many human activities aggravated the natural forces which are, in turn, degrading the land resources also.
Presently, about 130 million hectare of land is reported under degraded land in India, in which about 28% of land belongs to forest and about 28% is water eroded area. Rest degraded land is because of over deposition of salinity and alkalinity. Overgrazing, mining, deforestation, division of lands in small area because of family feuds, etc. are some of the major causes of degradation of land.
Because of mining in the states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh; lands are left abandoned without proper treatment after the completion of mining works. This has resulted in the form of deep scars and traces. Along with mining, deforestation in these states has degraded the land very fast.
In the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, over irrigation causes water shortage and increase in salinity and alkalinity due to water logging.
In Bihar, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, land is degraded because of flood.
States, in which minerals processing, such as grinding of lime stone, manufacturing of cement, etc. produce huge quantity of dust. These dusts prevent the percolation of water because of deposition on the ground and it is responsible for degradation of land.
The degradation of land creates many problems, such as flood, decrease in yield, etc. which leads to decrease in GDP and country has to face economic problems.
Degradation of land can be prevented by taking following measures:
Soil is one of the most important natural resources. Soil supports the growth of plants. Soil is the natural home of many living organism, such as ants, rats, snakes, and many insects.
Formation of Soil: It takes thousands of years to form even 1 cm of soil. Soil is formed by the weathering process of the rocks. Various natural forces, such as temperature, running water, wind, etc. along with many physical and chemical changes are equally important in the formation of soil formation.
Soil is categorized in many types on the basis of texture, colour, age, chemical properties, etc. India is a vast country which comprises of many types of land. Thus, many types of soils are found in different regions in India.
Availability: Alluvial soil is found near the river or plains formed by rivers. Alluvial soil is considered relatively younger in age. In India, alluvial soil is found in the north eastern plain where Ganga, Yamuna, and Brahmaputra flow. Alluvial soil is deposited by river system. Entire northern plain is made of alluvial soil.
Alluvial soil is also found in eastern coastal plains near the Mahanadi, the Krishna, the Godavari and the Kaveri rivers.
Nature: Alluvial soil is very fertile, thus plains of Ganga, Brahmaputra, Yamuna, etc. are densely populated. Alluvial soil is the mixture of various proportions of silt, sand and clay. Alluvial soils differ in the size of their particles at the area of break of slope.
Apart from the size of particles of grains, soils are also classified on the basis of their age. The older alluvial soil is known as Bangar and new alluvial soil or Khadar. New alluvial soil has more concentration of coarse grains while Old alluvial soil has plenty of fine particles.
Alluvial soil is rich in potash, phosphoric acid and lime. Because of presence of these chemicals alluvial soil is good for the growth of sugarcane, paddy, wheat, maize, and pulses.
Availability: Because of black colour, this type of soil is called black soil. It is also known as Regur Soil. Black soil is found in the north west deccan plateau. It is found in the plateau of Maharashtra, Saurashtra, Malwa, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh and extent along with the valley of Krishna and Godavari Rivers.
Nature: Black soil has high concentration of fine particles and thus can hold moisture for long time. It contains calcium, potassium, magnesium and lime. Black soil is suitable for the growth of cotton, but many other crop are grown in the area of black soil.
The soil looks red due to presence of iron in crystalline or metamorphic rocks. When the soil look yellow when it occurs in dehydrated form. Red soil is present in the eastern and southern parts of the Deccan Plateau. Red soil is also found in Orissa, Chhattisgarh, on the southern part of the Gangetic plains and along the piedomont zone of the Western Ghats.
Laterite soil is formed in regions which get high rainfall with high temperature. This causes leaching of the soil and microorganisms are killed during the process. Due to this, laterite soil does not contain humus or contains very low amount of humus. This soil is mainly found in Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and in hilly areas of Orissa and Assam. This soil can be made cultivable with heavy dose of manures.
Arid soil is found in those areas which receive scanty rainfall. Due to high temperature, evaporation is faster in these regions. The soil has a high content of salt. Arid soil can be made cultivable with proper treatment. Arid soil is present in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The forest soil is found in hilly areas. The soil in upper parts is highly acidic because of denudation. The soil in the lower part is highly fertile.
Removal of top soil is called soil erosion. Intense farming, grazing, construction activities and other human activities; along with deforestation have led to soil erosion. Soil erosion; if not checked in time; can even lead to desertification.
Soil conservation is important to prevent soil erosion. Soil conservation can be done by many methods. Afforestation is the main method because trees hold the topsoil in place. Terrace farming and shelter belt planting also help in soil conservation.
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