Properties of Soil
The properties of Indian soil are as follows-
1. Mixed fertilizers are found in the brown mountain soil of India, due to which there is good cultivation of rice, fruits, dry fruits, and tea.
2. The Desert soil of India is high in sodium, magnesium, and calcium, so it has good cultivation of jowar, millet, groundnut, and urad.
3. The alluvial soil of India is world-famous for its fertility. About 50% of India’s population is fed by crops grown in this soil. It produces advanced crops of wheat, rice, sugarcane, jute, etc.
4. The red and yellow laterite soils of India are relatively less fertile, yet tea, rubber, cashew, coffee, and sugarcane are cultivated in it.
5. Black soil formed from lava originating from volcano eruption has high fertility along with moisture-holding capacity. Being best for cotton cultivation, it is also called ‘black soil of cotton’.
6. Red soil is less fertile due to a lack of phosphorus, bacteria, and nitrogen. Jowar, millet, pulses, and oilseeds are cultivated in it.
7. Most of the time high temperature is found in India due to which there is the constant physical and chemical dissolution of the soil.
8. The dependence on agriculture is more due to the greater proportion of the population in India, so the fertility of the soil is decreasing due to continuous agriculture.
Soil erosion is called soil erosion due to various physical and chemical reasons. Naturally, the formation and erosion of the soil usually go on simultaneously, thus balancing the two. But this balance starts deteriorating due to human actions like deforestation, pastoralism, mining, etc. Natural factors like wind, glacier, floodwater, etc. also cause soil erosion. The running water forms deep vessels, which are called Gully, cutting the soils containing the dead bodies. Such land is not arable and it is called bad land. Similarly, erosion also occurs as a result of wind blowing the soil from the plain or sloping area. In the mountainous areas, in addition to rainwater, avalanche also causes soil erosion.
The main measures of soil conservation are as follows-
- Organic fertilizers should be used instead of chemical fertilizers to maintain fertility.
- Dams should be constructed in the fields to prevent soil erosion.
- There should be a system of drainage that minimizes soil erosion.
- Fields should be leveled maximum as land erosion is high on the slope.
- The crop cycle should be adopted so that fertility remains intact.
- Step-by-step or terraced farming should be encouraged in hilly areas.
- Running the plow parallel to the contour lines on the sloping land in mountainous parts decreases the speed of water flow along the gradient. This is called contour plowing.
- More and more plantations should be done on vacant land as the roots of the trees bind the soil.
The Central Soil Conservation Board was established in 1953 for the permanent conservation of soil in India, it mainly had three objectives –
- Erosion to convert the aforesaid land into arable land.
- To control the expansion of the desert.
- With the aim of saving the fertile power of arable land, several research stations were set up in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Dehradun, and Kota.
The efforts of the Central Soil Conservation Board from its inception till date have not only helped in maintaining the fertility of the soil but have also helped to make millions of hectares of desert soil arable. Keeping in mind the need of increasing population in future much more remains to be done in this direction.